Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Holey AND holy?

Phew! Just watched on iPlayer a recent programme from Horizon on Black Holes. These are those weird things at the centre of galaxies and elsewhere which are so dense that their gravity doesn't let anything escape, not even light! So we can't see 'em but we know they are there. They are such strange things that they don't obey Einstein's laws of relativity either. When scientists ask what is going on at the centre of them, they shrug their shoulders and say "Dunno!"
The scientists on the programme were comparing these infinitely small infinitely massive points with the similar phenomenon we call the Big Bang, which they say also started with what is now everything in the universe sort of contained in one tiny point. Yes, I know, it's enough to make your brain hurt.
What particularly interests me is that here we have the most advanced physicists in the world struggling to understand reality in terms that are almost spiritual. Mystery, infinity, nothingness, and so on - it's as if faith and science are sort of meeting at the far end of the garden, while up on the decking of ordinary life we are led to believe that they are totally separate and exist in different worlds. The media, in particular, will portray faith and spirituality as a kind of lifestyle option for the rather deluded or eccentric.
I don't think you could watch this edition of Horizon without having some sense of awe at, well, reality. Or as God said to Moses at the Burning Bush, "take your sandals off, laddy - you're standing on holy ground!"

No comments:

Post a comment