Some scientists are beginning to reconsider the concept of dark energy. Christians can learn a few things from this possible change.
Dark energy is described in various ways. Here is the Wikipedia description:
“In physical cosmology & astronomy dark energy is a hypothetical form of energy that permeates all of space and tends to increase the rate of expansion of the universe. Dark energy is the most popular way to explain recent observations that the universe appears to be expanding at an accelerating rate. In the standard model of cosmology, dark energy currently accounts for 74% of the total mass-energy of the universe.”
Physicsworld.com says it this way:
“New evidence has confirmed that the expansion of the universe is accelerating under the influence of a gravitationally repulsive form of energy that makes up two-thirds of the cosmos.”
Dark energy has never been seen, tested or adequately demonstrated. It has been required however to make other measurements fit the accepted norm. It has been a very widely accepted theory for the past 11 years or so. Where did it come from? It arose because something was amiss in the calculations of the size and rate of expansion of the universe. If the universe was really accelerating its expansion then there had to be some other “thing” causing it. Since no one knew of any other “thing” causing it, science created it and called the new “thing” “dark energy.” That is an extremely simplistic explanation but is, I believe, painfully true.
What A Move Away from Dark Energy Shows
To be fair, dark energy has never achieved the widespread acceptance that evolution has. In fact, most people are not even aware of this theorized component of the universe. Children are not routinely taught about dark energy in grade school and boards of education do not battle over its inclusion in textbooks. However it is, nonetheless, a part of the foundation of science along with other supporting theories. All of this is now being re-considered in light of better and stronger scholarship.
Should dark energy eventually end up on the trash heap of rejected scientific theories it will remind us of a few vital facts.
Science is not infallible. Science must be understood as an ever evolving process whereby theories are constantly challenged and subject to modification or outright rejection when new information becomes available.
Science can and must change. The true scientist will never hold so closely to his pet theory that he is unwilling to change it. To be ethical, professional and honorable scientists must be always willing to take a second look and discard their previous thinking. In reality, there is no such thing as having the “last word” in a scientific discussion.
Science must never be arrogant. Science has brought untold benefits to humanity and will continue to do so. But because change lies at the heart of science its practitioners must never assume that they alone are the sole keepers of knowledge.
Science and Religion Both Are Faith-Based. Although dark energy was never seen or directly tested scientists believed it existed. To borrow a Bible phrase, their belief was the “the conviction of things not seen“ (Hebrews 11:1). Now, rave and complain as they may, at the end of the day certain things must be assumed or accepted. Dark energy was one of them.
Religion does not change. Jesus Christ died “once for all” (Hebrews 9:28; Hebrews 10:10; 1 Peter 3:18). Our faith was “once for all” delivered unto us (Jude 3). While religion and faith certainly do change, they ought not. God has given us all we need and man cannot improve upon it.
I do not know what will happen with the dark energy debate. Much research and study remains. Even if it is completely discarded many will still cling to the supposed infallibility of science. But the mere fact that it is possibly changing helps us put science and research into a proper place. I am not anti-science. I spent 10 years working on the cutting edge of medical science as an RN in critical care and cardiac nursing. But we must understand that science really does have serious limitations. That’s a lesson many scientists who are quick to ridicule religion ought to learn.
References ↑1 Timothy Clifton and Pedro G. Ferreira, Scientific American, April, 2009, Vol. 300, #4, pg. 48 ↑2 ibid