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Maimonides: Where Science agrees with Religion

Maimonides was a great Jewish writer born in 1135/1138. He died in 1204
Maimonides (1135/1138 - 1204)

The arguments for and against the existence of God have been a regular occurrence in recorded history. Many notable arguments for the existence of God have pointed towards the origin, thus making much of the atheistic community heap burden on neck of cosmologists and astrophysicists to seek out what possible natural cause to the universe there was other than the age long belief that it was all caused by a supernatural force called God.

This post points to a very powerful yet often forgotten idea of the great Maimonides who argued that God exists from a different perspective than most others.


Maimonides' Proof of God's Existence

Maimonides offered proofs for the existence of God, but he did not begin with defining God first, like many others do. Rather, he used the description of the earth and the universe to prove the existence of God. He talked about the Heavenly bodies and how they are committed to eternal motion. Maimonides argued that because every physical object is finite, it can only contain a finite amount of power. If everything in the universe, which includes all the planets and the stars, is finite, then there has to be an infinite power to push forth the motion of everything in the universe. Narrowing down to an infinite being, the only thing that can explain the motion is an infinite being (meaning God) which is neither a body nor a force in the body. Maimonides believed that this argument gives us a ground to believe that God is, not an idea of what God is. He believed that God cannot be understood or be compared.
Maimonides is in simple terms saying that "since the heavenly spheres are in constant infinite Motion, there must be a constant infinite force responsible for it".


Stance of Modern Science on the source of Infinite Motion of the Heavenly Bodies

Modern science has established that the universe is expanding, this infinite motion of galaxies away from each other contradicts the concept of gravity. While Maimonides would have simply pointed at God as the force behind the infinte motion, science cannot simply point a supernatural concept as the source of this motion of the natural universe. If science points at God, I would be disappointed because that wouldn't be science. Science is concerned only with the natural universe and thus can't enforce or debunk the idea of God which is defined as supernatural and beyond the scope of science. Science in avoiding the God of the gaps fallacy, a thing Maimonides might be guilty of, science points out a hypothetical, unknown form of energy called Dark Energy as the source of this infinite motion of galaxies away from each other against the will of gravity.


Even within galaxies, stars orbit a central point similar to the motions of planets around the sun. This motion is thought to be caused by gravity just like the planetary motions around the sun is caused by gravity. This motion prompts astrophysicists to suggest that an undiscovered form of matter must exist at the core of the galaxies which is necessary to explain the motion of the stars about the core of the galaxies. This hypothetical, unknown form of matter is called Dark matter.
The majority of dark matter is thought to be non-baryonic in nature, possibly being composed of some currently undiscovered subatomic particles. Its presence is implied in a variety of astrophysical observations, including gravitational effects (like the one mentioned above) that cannot be explained unless more matter is present than can be seen. For this reason, most experts think dark matter to be ubiquitous in the universe and to have had a strong influence on its structure and evolution. The name dark matter refers to the fact that it does not appear to interact with observable electromagnetic radiation, such as light, and is thus invisible (or 'dark') to the entire electromagnetic spectrum, making it extremely difficult to detect using usual astronomical equipment.



The two propositions

1. Modern Science

An unseen form of matter-energy called dark matter-energy is responsible for the motions of these heavenly bodies.


2. Maimonides


An unseen being called God is responsible for the motions of the heavenly bodies.


Comparing The Propositions


Among the two propositions, the one you choose to lean on is subjective. But should a debate occur and it is necessary to do away with one proposition or the other, Occam's Razor can be employed.

Occam's razor is the problem-solving principle that the simplest solution tends to be the correct one. When presented with competing hypotheses to solve a problem, one should select the solution with the fewest assumptions.

Using Occam's Razor, Modern Science would argue that Maimonides assumes an unproven supernatural existence thus is cut off by Occam's Razor.
Maimonides would argue that Modern Science would be cut off because it assumes two things (dark matter and dark energy) unlike his proposition which assumes only one thing (God).


Where Maimonides and Modern Science agree


Either way, one thing is undeniable. Both propositions create an unseen, vastly unknown entity to explain the motion of the heavenly bodies. Both Maimonides and the modern day astrophysicist point at the unseen and the unknown. But while Maimonides is looking quite stagnant, the modern day astrophysicist is probing trying to unravel the nature of dark matter and dark energy.

According to a recent paper, the Earth is caught directly in the crosshairs of a cosmic hurricane. A swarm of nearly 100 stars, accompanied by an even greater amount of dark matter, is aimed directly at our stellar neighborhood and there's nothing we can do to stop it; in fact, the vanguard is already upon us. The prospect of high velocity dark matter flying through the Earth has suggested an opportunity to detect it.

A good way to detect or study dark matter is to study effects of collision between dark matter (if it exists) and normal baryonic matter. But still there's a problem with this proposition which is that the very definition of dark matter is that it doesn't interact with normal matter, hence dark matter is mostly classed as weakly interacting massive particles (WIMP). If the particles of dark matter are weakly interacting, then they are like neutrinos. They pass through normal matter without either of them noticing.

But this behavior of dark matter passing through normal matter is similar to the view that ghosts can pass through walls and matter unnoticed and without being impeded. Ghosts are spirits and the Jewish God which Maimonides believed in is Spirit. Again, another point where modern astrophysics agree with Maimonides that the cause of the infinite motion of heavenly bodies would pass through normal matter unnoticed without leaving any effects on the normal matter, both God and dark matter do same.
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This post first appeared on Poets Are Prophets, please read the originial post: here

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Maimonides: Where Science agrees with Religion

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