miércoles, 13 de junio de 2012


By: Edwin Francisco Herrera Paz

One of the complaints of reactionary science is that humanity, for the longest time, lived in obscurantism primarily attributed to the dominance of the Catholic Church and its imposition of religious dogmatism to the crowds. Of these paradigms perhaps the most criticized are the anthropocentric and geocentric theories.

altThe work of Galileo, Kepler, Copernicus, Darwin, Wallace and others put a definitive end to those misconceptions and proved, without any doubt, that the earth was not the center of the universe, and that human beings were not all that special and unique entities.

We are not the center of the universe, and ultimately religion had to pay the price for the imposition of a deceiving misconception to humanity bound by the ecclesiastical power. They were wrong. They believed that some biblical texts, especially Genesis, had to be interpreted literally; that the forbidden fruit was actually a fruit of a planted tree, and that Satan really did come through a snake; that God really built the universe in seven days, and so on.

Pictor of the death of Abel murdered by Cain
However, since ancient times many erudite scholars of the scriptures warned that the above texts should be interpreted as allegories, and as a notable example I refer the reader to the exegesis of an Alexandrian man called Origen. He used allegory to reconcile the Old Testament with the New. Although in our time, the need of allegory as an explanation to reconcile science and the Scriptures becomes even more necessary.

The allegoric nature of sacred texts becomes obvious when one asks: How long was a day before the sun and the earth were “created”? Since a day is defined as the period in which the earth makes a complete turn on its own axis, if taken literally, the biblical text makes no sense. And if we go beyond that point, a deeper question arises: How long was a day when there was no time? Certainly time and space were created at the same moment and cannot be separated from each other.

To my surprise, I have discovered that when Genesis is read taking into account that it was written for all further generations of humans and not simply as a mere technical manual to fit our modern scientific paradigms, we find the Bible is perfectly in tune with modern scientific knowledge. God created Adam and Eve out of clay, because from the mud were all species created throughout time by means of evolution, including us. And God´s creation has taken some time. Seven days is actually 13.7 billion years according to those approximates given by astrophysicists. 

Picture of The Creation by Michael Angelo Buonarroty
We humans, as all other living organisms on earth share the same genetic code as well as the same protoplasmic structure, built mainly of protein. But for some reason we feel separately special, unlike any other living being, so far indeed that we call “animals” creatures as different as a worm and a chimpanzee, and we extract ourselves from that definition, despite that the similarities between us and chimpanzees are much greater than those between them and worms.

But what makes us really different, if we are indeed? Do we really have the spirit of God within us? I believe we are in fact made in the image of God, and that we are (in a sense) the center of the universe.

Extraordinary Theoretical Physicist Stephen Hawking
According to Stephen Hawking we humans are made of basic biochemical matter, that`s living in an simple ordinary planet in an ordinary planetary system, located in an very ordinary galaxy. That is, this is a typical place in the universe without any special features. However, in the universe we find that matter is far from common. A typical place in the universe is almost an absolute vacuum. Matter is in fact a rarity. And the temperatures and conditions of our world are also far from typical. Even if there were a million worlds that could harbor life, it would not be at all typical. Life is, rather, an extraordinary rare exception.

So what about mankind? The human brain is an astonishing computing machine capable of processing extremely complex information. Thus, we can make great mathematical models out of phenomena, such as supernova explosions, formation of black holes, and the nature of quasars and pulsars. We can go as far as to even formulate mental representations of what happens in the very boundary of our visible universe.

Position of the earth in the universe
We can mathematically model the origin of the universe, galaxies and stars, and life itself. In other words, the complexity of the brain, despite its small size, may reflect the same patterns of virtually any possibly different physical environment. Our brain can imagine, interpret, model and make predictions. Two things which could not be more different, as the collapse of a star and the brain can follow the same mathematical patterns. The human brain is able to replay, to be a sounding board of universal phenomena. Our brain reflects physical reality in the same way a diapason resonates when its single note is played.

The information that the brain is capable of handling matches the information contained in the universe. Although I must say that not all information, but the one that includes the basic principles, which would be, in theory, enough to recreate the entirety of what is and exists. And we're just at a beginning, constantly learning at an exponential rate, and if were to add to all which is the human brain a higher step of complexity to include, (as I like to call it) a “global brain” with all its computing aids, we would then realize that the potential we humans have is almost infinite.

Famous book by Carl Sagan
Carl Sagan said that our home is just a pale blue dot floating in infinite space. I say that we are fragile and ephemeral, but when we understand the potential that lies in human beings; that our intelligence could lead us one day to the stars and beyond; that perhaps one day we could be capable of mastering the information in such a manner that we could control the second law of thermodynamics; that as a race we could, perhaps someday, be able to create matter and complexity taking from the fountain of inexhaustible energy in the unseen world of a microcosm where particles are continuously being born and die, then our perception of reality changes.

When you finally appreciate those things, a sense of teleology invades you; you realize that we are not here by chance and that every one of us, like all species on earth, are bridges to higher purposes about which we do not yet have a clear conscience of. And that is precisely what Scripture teaches us; eternal purposes that we can only roughly understand through the revealed word. No doubt science will gradually enlighten us, at a small step by step rate, about our place in the cosmos.

In this sense we are God's image. We are creatures with mechanisms for interpreting a highly complex reality, which are still developing. Technological living beings, including us and any other technological race in the vastness of space, are the center of the universe, hereof in sense that we are pinnacles of acknowledgment, understanding and mastering, but also, and most concomitantly undergoing intellectual development, we have actually obtained the capacity to interact with the Creator through our own individual spirit.
Castle from the times of the European Conquest in Honduras

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