God's particle; God's quarterback | Bleader

God's particle; God's quarterback


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The Friday Tribune carried a lovely little essay by Michael Gerson (a former George W. Bush speechwriter) on the "God particle" (aka Higgs boson) and God. "Not only does the universe unexpectedly correspond to mathematical theories, it is self-organizing—from biology to astrophysics—in unlikely ways," Gerson writes. "The physical constants of the universe seem finely tuned for the emergence of complexity and life. Slightly modify the strength of gravity, or the chemistry of carbon, or the ratio of the mass of protons and electrons, and biological systems become impossible. The universe-ending Big Crunch comes too soon, or carbon isn't produced, or suns explode.

"The wild improbability of a universe that allows us to be aware of it seems to demand some explanation."

And while an explanation "does not require theism," Gerson continues, theism certainly fills the bill. "It explains a universe finely tuned for life and accessible to human reason. It accounts for the cosmic coincidences. And a theistic universe, unlike the alternatives, also makes sense of free will and moral responsibility."

He's just saying...

Sportswriters should be so fearless. An explanation for Tim Tebow does not require theism, but theism fills the bill. Yet what sportswriter would touch the idea? Here's the New York Post's Phil Mushnick fumbling for an explanation:

Let’s not get too carried away, now. Though Tim Tebow makes an inspirational, follow-that-star, keep-football-in-Christmas story, he did not win Sunday’s game against the Bears.

Neither did Matt Prater’s 59-yard field goal to send it to overtime. And the failure of Chicago running back Marion Barber to stay in bounds with the Bears up and Denver out of timeouts didn’t do it, either. Sure, all three of those fellows helped.

But as a practical matter, the Bears lost this game when, winning 10-0 with 4:34 left, they were ordered into a “prevent defense,” a strategy that has been preventing victories almost as long as Leviticus has been followed by Numbers in The First Playbook.

Mushnick is willing to go biblical to give his story a little snarky color, but not to come to grips with what he just saw with his own two eyes. As a practical matter, the Bears lost because all four factors Mushnick mentioned lined up perfectly for Denver. God works, let’s remember, in mysterious ways, but he works through us. If Michael Gerson had taken a different path through life and wound up a Bears beat reporter, maybe he'd have begun his account of the game on a bolder note:

"Leading a fourth-quarter comeback that surely left Chicago's atheists with plenty to think about, Tim Tebow rallied the Denver Broncos to an improbable 13-10 overtime victory over the Bears Sunday. The conflux of unlikelihoods that turned the game around does not require theism to understand, but they bore an uncanny resemblance to answered prayers.”

On Sunday Tebow’s Broncos face the powerful New England Patriots. If Tebow meets that test it will be high time to put God in the lead. If he fails, it proves nothing. God, Fate, Karma, and the cold and mechanistic universe agreed long ago on one ground rule: anyone riding too high for too long will be chopped down to size.

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