“Frankly speaking, these are just fancy words we use to name something we do not understand.” Christian Boehmer, quoted on MSNBC, discussing dark matter and dark energy.
I haven’t spent much time at all studying dark matter and dark energy (who has time to be an expert on everything?), but I do find the concepts interesting, and mildly amusing. The MSNBC article discusses a new model, where DM and DE are actually the same – a Dark Fluid. I guess it makes sense that if matter and energy are in a sense equal, that so it “the dark side.”
I completely understand the need to create models – which we know are inadequate and inaccurate – to try to understand the unknown, as I have recently discussed. So, I appreciate it when cosmologists admit that possibly 95% of the universe is made up of something which no one as yet understands (although the common person tends to believe that if scientists talk about dark energy, it must exist). It is this parenthetical remark that I find somewhat problematic.
In a world where many people still in effect worship science – that is, take imperfect scientific models to be “fact” in a more concrete sense than do scientists – the use of imaginary particles & energies as well as relying on imaginary numbers for scientific theories has the effect of creating the near equivalent of Athen’s “unknown god” (Acts 17:23). The Athenians had, in essence, created their own “model” to fill in the “gaps” in their understanding. (Now, certainly I am approaching everything here from a theological/philosophical POV, including Dark Whatever. I am obviously not speaking scientifically.)
Paul, as we know, responded to this idol to an unknown god by saying, “Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you.” He wasn’t, of course, speaking specifically about whatever they may have believed about this particular god, but more to the fact that they had admitted a gap in their knowledge. As they didn’t know about the Christian vier of God, this was something unknown to them, and so an appropriate connection was made.
Much has been bantered about by those holding to a materialist worldview about the “God of the gaps,” always derogatorily. This is not to say that they have no unknowns, but rather that they filter the possibilities for what might exist as an unknown. This, now, is not a scientific opinion, but a philosophical one. It’s like saying, “I’m not sure what color the sky really is, but I know it’s not blue, because I don’t believe that the color blue exists.”
For the Christian, however, it is perfectly appropriate to speak theologically and philosophically and proclaim the God which is unknown to materialistic science, the “God of the gaps.” However, I believe that materialists are correct in that such a proclamation is not appropriate as science, but not for the same reason. It is inappropriate, because to attempt to fit God into a scientific box is to fall into the philosophical error of thinking that God needs to be argued, explained, or proved. Absurd. As I’ve indicated in the past, materialism is a defective, inadequate philosophy, and science is limited in what it can address. The truth of the God of the gaps merely needs to be proclaimed and lived.
Is it legitimate to say, then, that the unknown force/substance which holds the universe together and keeps universes spinning faster than science says they should is the same God who created the universe in the first place? Absolutely, in the same way we can say that that the universe we do see is clear evidence of God. Is it science? No… but frankly, my dear…