Lesson from Science to Religion — II

I am not saying any extremely new thing, but things which are known to physicists who have reflected a little. Today I will speak of 2 consequences of the Special theory of relativity [Sometimes they look like science fiction movies, but the reality is much more interesting]. Now all of us have studied Newton’s laws and heard the story of apple falling on the his head during our school days. But the theory of scientific genius like Einstein makes more relevant when we speak of large bodies (with huge mass), moving at high speeds. Now earth itself is a huge body, which moves in a good speed (compared to our normal estimates).

Now the Special theory of Relativity (theory put forward in 1905) has 2 postulates (also known as axioms… they are stated by the scientist, and the theory is based on them… but they are not imaginary assumptions). Based on them, there are many consequences. I discuss 2 of them with an example each.

  1. Relativity of Length: We think (assume/believe) that a rod of length 5m will have the same length at all conditions. But relativity says, it is not so. A moving rod (or a stationary rod in a moving body) contracts (reduces in length) along the direction of the movement when we measure the length from a stationary observer. The contraction becomes prominent only when the speed (velocity) of the movement is very high. That is why, we don’t experience it in our day to day life.

To give an example, We have a space shuttle moving at an extremely high speed (I don’t use numbers to avoid confusion) and we have an iron rod whose length is 5m. Now I am observing it from the surface of the earth (don’t ask me, how can we go and stand there). Depending on the speed of the space shuttle, the length would have reduced. I would see the real length as less than 5m. This is not any science-fiction, but a true reality.

2. Relativity of Time: As fun, we might say time is relative. When I am doing something interesting, time goes faster and vice-versa. This is only a way of saying. But Einstein would say time is relative. A clock in a space shuttle moving at a high speed would slow down with respect to a stationary observer.

To give an example, I would use the famous example of twins. One of them stays in the earth, the other goes on a space shuttle to a nearest planet (or somewhere) and comes back after a long time (say 20 years ). The person on the earth would have increased his/her age by 20 years, whereas the twin would increased his/her age by less than 20 years. ‘How much less’ depends on the speed of the space shuttle.

A good depiction of whatever I wrote in so many paragraphs

Science can give such absurd examples, which are so-opposite to our common-sense or our world-view. But we can’t just say it is science fiction or imagination at its best. But they are truer pictures of the reality.

If science can give such absurd pictures of reality, and science could surprise us, how much more we should be ready to surprised by our understandings of God (don’t become a dogmatic and say I know about God… You may know a little about God, but lets be ready to be surprised by the greater understandings of God as it unravels.)

If science and scientists are ready to be surprised by the understanding of reality, I would say, religions and religious people should be much more willing to be surprised about the understanding of God.[I believe that God is the creator of reality, which some of you may not subscribe to].

A Jesuit interested to think and write; Loves philosophy, spirituality, politics…. Believes in God & well-being of all humans… Open to difference & newness..

A Jesuit interested to think and write; Loves philosophy, spirituality, politics…. Believes in God & well-being of all humans… Open to difference & newness..