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Science, fiction and science-fiction

Time for a movie review.

I only saw “Spider-Man: No Way Home” once, and that was a few months ago, but this will be a thorough review with everything you need to know.

It was a great film and we enjoyed it — especially when the audience broke into wild cheers at a few key moments.

The promotional material calls the latest Spider-Man movie science fiction. That genre traditionally explains plot devices through technology, human ingenuity.

When writers create a fictional setting, they have to solve and explain basic problems like seeing in the dark (“Journey to the Center of the Earth”), breathing underwater (“Star Wars: The Phantom Menace”) or traveling enormous distances faster than the speed of light.

Star Trek solved that problem by saying future generations create a vehicle that through technology can go into “warp speed.” Press a button on the bridge and, suddenly, the stars whiz by in a blur. See, we explained how we did it! With science.

That is interesting, because the latest Spider-Man movie, the ninth in the last 20 years, pretends to be science fiction.

However, a character waves his hands around, says the magic words, cool special effects happen, colorful energy circles appear, and out pops the explanatory plot device: The main warp speed of “Spider-Man: No Way Home” is a new theory called the Multiverse (infinite universes where eventually anything will happen). It works great in this movie and is the source of much of its charm and, in a fun way, makes sense out of the last 20 years of Spider-Man movies.

But why use magic as an explanatory device?

Scientific bias.

The best explanation for scientific discoveries of the last century is an intelligent creator, rather than the mindless chance of macroevolution. But scientists wedded to materialism can’t abide by that. Even Einstein balked at the implications of his findings and refused to acknowledge them for years because they showed that the universe had a beginning which we now think was 13.8 billion years ago. He eventually called his irrational refusal his greatest stupidity.

Even though we live in a Goldilocks universe, where physical laws and constructs are Just Right, many scientists just don’t want to accept the implication. Biologist Richard Lewontin said, “Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the real key to the struggle … we have a prior commitment to materialism … for we cannot allow a divine foot in the door.”

Physicist Paul Davies said, “The impression of design is overwhelming … The really amazing thing is not that life on Earth is balanced on a knife edge, but that the entire universe is balanced on a knife edge, and would be total chaos if any one of the natural ‘constants’ were off even slightly.”

On the necessary precision for both the strong nuclear force and the expansion rate of the universe, astrophysicist Hugh Ross uses this analogy: Cover North America in dimes. Throw in one red one. What is the chance some blindfolded person will pick the red one? But no. Add more dimes until the pile reaches the moon. Even that is not accurate. You would need to hide the dime in a billion North America-to-the-moon piles and have the blindfolded person pick the red dime out of that.

Pick the wrong dime and the universe ceases to exist.

Physicist-philosopher Robin Collins uses the metaphor of a measuring tape. Stretch it across the entire universe and mark a line in a specific measurement representing the force of gravity. If you miss the mark by a tiny fraction, the universe would never have formed at all.

The famed scientist Sir Frederick Hoyle said, “A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super-intellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as chemistry and biology … the facts seem so overwhelming as to put this conclusion beyond question.”

Science journalist Clifford Longley put it this way: When considering whether the evidence points to random change or to an intelligent creator, it “is of such an order of certainty that in any other sphere of science, it would be regarded as settled. To insist otherwise is like insisting that Shakespeare was not written by Shakespeare because it might have been written by a billion monkeys sitting at a billion keyboards typing for a billion years. So it might but the sight of scientific atheists clutching at such desperate straws” reveals their refusal to acknowledge that a mind might be behind the words.

So, why popularize an awkward and unprovable theory that is supported by absolutely no evidence?

Because they can’t abide the accountability that comes with belief in God.

So, that’s my complete review of the latest Spider-Man movie. Go see it. It’s a lot of fun, but don’t expect science in your fiction.

Phil Cook is a teacher, works in northern Michigan with Biglife, an international disciple-making ministry, and serves on the Board of Directors for Sunrise Mission in Alpena.

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