When Albert Einstein made his famous quote, "God does not play dice," he was referring to new theories in quantum physics that suggested a certain randomness to the universe with which Einstein was uncomfortable. Einstein believed there was a definite organization to things, and that God, whatever he may be, created it; that there existed an underlying order in which particles had specific and expected positions and speeds, and mathematics could, eventually, define their characteristics. However, science has shown us that there is indeed an arbitrary nature to phenomena; however, the randomness can be predicted, or at least set to certain parameters.
Experiments have shown that, when seemingly brainless particles are sent towards a barrier with two slots in it, the particles follow predictable patterns in "picking" which of the two slots to pass through. It's about 50-50 for each slot, at seemingly random intervals. But when a camera is placed close enough to record the particle flow (but not close enough to inhibit or change the flow in any way), the pattern changes into more of a wave blueprint. Conclusion: the particles change their "habits" when they are being closely observed. How do the particles know they are being watched?
I don't have the answer to that question, nor does anyone else, really. But what I do know is that the universe and its components are far more unfathomable than the human brain can comprehend.
We have five senses (apologies to Haley Joel Osmont, who, at the moment, is probably firing up a joint contemplating the wonder of it all) and everything we know – I mean really know for certain – comes from information gained from input from out five senses. Everything else is just theory or conjecture, and this speaks for both science and spirituality.
There is no way scientists can test string theory; the strings, if they exist, are much too small to allow for a practical experiment. How can you test something you can't see, touch, hear, feel or taste, even with the most sophisticated instruments ever devised? How can you be sure they exist at all? Scientists may argue that the mathematics point to the indemnity of the existence of strings, but really, they are just operating on faith; faith that the math is right, faith that their schooling is sound; faith that it all makes sense.
And what of religion is different? There exists no test for God. No one has ever captured an image of the Great Creator of the Universe. A supposed likeness of the Blessed Virgin on a slice of pizza is hardly proof of a Higher Power, even if the slice is sold on eBay for a few thousand dollars. But does that mean that God's existence is any less probable that that of eleven alternate universes, existing side by side, on the backbone of strings so tiny that one million quadrillion of them could fit on the head of a pin?
It seems to me that science and religion are two vehicles of different makes all striving so reach the same thing; The Answer to it All.
Why are we here? Where did we come from? How big is the universe? Are we just inside a small chunk of dirt lodged inside the thumbnail of a really big guy? Does my life have a purpose? Is there anything after death, or are we all just flashes of existence, here today and gone tomorrow?
So then, that begs another question: can't we all just get along?
There's no reason for the rift between science and religion. Religions could do themselves a big favor by not trying to come up with alternate theories that suit some backward-ass, red state notion that God hates science. Stop it with the saddles on dinosaurs! Likewise, science could stop arrogantly assuming that if it can't be proven or tested, it doesn't exist. If science has shown us anything, it is that the universe continues to reveal its secrets very slowly, juts the way God wants it, and scientists are but children of God, with all their requisite limitations. God time is like Jamaican time; soon come mon, soon come.
So what's the formula for God?
Hmm. Maybe Faith + Work = Happiness.
Sorry. That's the best my little brain can do. But it works for me.
Evan Redmon is a manager of a public golf course in Washington, D.C. and writes a few things about stuff sometimes. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org if you really want.