“Do quarks speak of God’s existence? Yes!” How Dr. Towell arrived at this conclusion was unclear in Monday chapel. He related an experiment in which a quark measurement that had been predicted to increase over time actually decreased, much to the dismay of a fellow scientist.
Dr. Towell failed to ever explain the implications of this phenomena; the audience was left to conclude from the scientist’s reaction that the results of the experiment contradicted rationality and therefore spoke for God’s existence. Perhaps the physics professor was afraid of losing his audience in a lot of scientific jargon, but this concern resulted in a more severe problem. By emphasizing his use of the term ‘quark’ with a largely physics-illiterate audience and repeatedly stating that quarks speak for the existence of God without any explanation, Dr. Towell strongly inferred that scientific evidence affirms God’s existence.
Such a statement undermines the very foundation of Christianity. Faith is the qualifier of religion, so it is hard to understand Dr. Towell’s and the chapel coordinators” rationale for suggesting God’s existence can in some way be known empirically. While a predominately Christian audience may find no fault with unqualified statements of a Creator God proven by the sciences, a non-Christian audience will not readily accept such claims as axiomatic. And it is this latter audience by which our statements should be measured if we wish to maintain our intellectual integrity.
I realize that the focus of chapel this week is Psalm 19-an expression of how creation points to God. So I assume that Dr. Towell’s account of his quirky experience was a type of argument from design (seeing God through his creation and the rules that govern it), which is still faith-based.
However, he failed to make that clear. Instead, he challenged the audience to recognize God in the context of a particle physics lab and liberally sprinkled his talk with the term quark. His account of quark behavior was very vague, seemingly utilized based purely upon the idea that a scientific perspective of a component of creation would give our faith more credibility.
The best “evidence” of God’s existence offered on Monday subsisted in Dr. Trowell’s stories about individual’s intuitive responses to nature and each other.
senior English major from Tuscola