Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Speed of Light & the Speed of God - Scientific Discoveries and the Holy Quran

31. Holy Scriptures & Scientific Discoveries
True revelation is not
The enemy of Science,
True revelation predates
And is the herald of all
Scientific discovery
In any given time.

While it may serve some purpose
That a scientific discovery
Is correlated to a scripture,
It is not the end of the story.

For the meaning of a scripture
Grows and is given more and more
In its infinite exactitude
With each passing second,
So long as the Lord of the scripture
Does not stop creating
And recreating according
To His Will.

SPEED OF LIGHT. The speed of light is 299,792,458 meters per second. There it is. Who says you don't learn nothin' in the almanac. But this sacrosanct speed, for the very longest time thought to be the highest speed capable to be achieved (at least in this world) is now being questioned. To quote a recent Reuters bulletin -

GENEVA, Sept 22 (Reuters) - An international team of scientists said on Thursday they had recorded sub-atomic particles travelling faster than light -- a finding that could overturn one of Einstein's long-accepted fundamental laws of the universe.
Antonio Ereditato, spokesman for the researchers, told Reuters that measurements taken over three years showed neutrinos pumped from CERN near Geneva to Gran Sasso in Italy had arrived 60 nanoseconds quicker than light would have done.
"We have high confidence in our results. We have checked and rechecked for anything that could have distorted our measurements but we found nothing," he said. "We now want colleagues to check them independently."
If confirmed, the discovery would undermine Albert Einstein's 1905 theory of special relativity, which says that the speed of light is a "cosmic constant" and that nothing in the universe can travel faster.
That assertion, which has withstood over a century of testing, is one of the key elements of the so-called Standard Model of physics, which attempts to describe the way the universe and everything in it works.

OH, WAIT A MINUTE. So it appears that these sub-atomic particles (known as neutrinos) were shot from Cern towards Gran Sasso, a distance of 500 miles. But they refused to keep under Einstein's speed limit of light, arriving at 60 billionth of a second quicker than a beam of light. Those damn neutrinos, why are they in such a hurry? So the scientific community is in a state of upheaval, but advising people not to jump to conclusions until the speed can be double (and probably triple) verified. But if proven true, this discovery shall have a great impact on Einstein's theory of special relativity and its application.
Little Einsteins
SCIENTIFIC VALIDATION OF RELIGIOUS TEXT. The al-Quran is known by many names, the Criterion and also the Book of the Universe. And it is in respect of the last epitaph that the above prose is concerned with. For it is historical and present fact that there have been many, many scientific discoveries that are reflected in the holy scriptures. So the "Gosh, How could anyone have known back then!" impact is there. And I guess for some people, such verification of the sanctity of the holy book with modern science is important. And I also mimicked them in my appreciation of the Quran as a genuine bona fide word of God.

GOD'S CONTINUING CREATION. But whatever scientific validation is important only at the point in time when it was discovered. For I believe that the Book, being a miraculous creation (just like us) continues to disclose its secrets through time, disassembling scientific truths and revealing new scientific truths as God wills according to His plan. The Universe doesn't stop changing, being created and recreated with the Love, Delicacy of Touch and Supreme Confidence of the Almighty. It is kinda like God going, "You think that is great? Wait till you see this!"

I wish I was a scientist. Or a mathematical progeny. Then maybe I would be able to string chemical formulas and mathematical equations to show the Unity of Design that is often the clue to the Divine origin of this Universe. But whatever IQ we possess, we cannot walk through this world without feeling humbled by the sheer diversity, beauty and wonder that is the natural world. Often I would turn to the night sky and ask God Himself, "O' Lord, where do I fit in this Divine Equation?"

I am still waiting for the answer. Have you found yours?

wa min Allah at-taufiq

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