Chapter Three INDIANA UNIVERSITY
(1955-1956, South Bend)
Jake attended night school and worked days at AT&T. Calculus was difficult at first, and he wondered if he could make it as a scientist. After a couple of weeks, he grasped the concept, scored 100% on a test, and then he continued to perform well the rest of the semester and school year.
He went on occasional dates with girls, but he talked so much about science and God, most of them ceased going out with him. They ceased taking his calls, avoiding him in class, turning their back on him, and laughed about him. Jake thought, “I’m good looking, a veteran, smart, and I have a great future—what is the problem?—I need to talk to Ben; he has all the girls calling him.”
Ben Sharpton, another veteran who worked at Bendix, arranged a date for Jake with a beautiful California girl named Marie. She moved to South Bend originally to obtain Ben’s attention, but he wasn’t interested. At first she was indifferent to Jake, but after he couldn’t get up the nerve to kiss her, she changed her mind, invited him to her apartment and fixed him breakfast. Jake felt like a real man for the first time in his study and fixation on life and God. Trying to think, with two brains operating at once was confusing. Jake thought of marriage and a life with Marie and it sounded pretty good. He needed to talk to Ben, who knew a lot more about the opposite sex than Jake did or ever would know.
Ben took Jake out drinking and convinced Jake that Marie was a nice lady, but he needed to grow up. “You’ve been so focused on your education, you’ve never found time to date or socialize,” Ben said.
“I know you’re right, Ben, but will I ever find a more beautiful woman?”
Ben laughed. “Jake, get a life. We’re both young, it’s the time for enjoying life, dating girls, fighting for your country, racing a good looking car, and all the things that you won’t be able to do later. Life is to be enjoyed, and you can worry about your religious beliefs later.”
Jake completed a year of night school, saved some more money, and resigned from AT&T. “It’s time to leave South Bend and move to the Bloomington campus full time,” he thought,
After selling his old 1939 Chevrolet, Jake bought and drove a newer 1950 Plymouth, four doors, a back seat, plenty of headroom (although he was only 5’7”) and better headlights, which were more modern than the coupe. He loaded the car up with all of his worldly possessions placing a pole to hang his clothes on above the back seat—stacked or stuffed everything else inside the car and its trunk and drove to the Bloomington Campus. He looked the campus and city of Bloomington over and smiled. “This is so much nicer,” he thought. He found a small efficiency apartment close to the campus and knew that he could walk to wherever he wished to from where he lived. There was one twin bed, a large stuffed chair, small table with two chairs, a bookcase, kitchenette, and a bathroom with a shower. He wouldn’t have to use his car very often, and he could save on expenses, live a more normal civilian life and bury himself in the campus atmosphere… After unloading his car and locking the door of the small one room apartment, he walked toward the campus and saw the Gables restaurant across the street from the campus.
“Everyone told me to go to the Gables in Bloomington, and I’m hungry,” he thought. Jake pushed the door open and walked into the restaurant: Lots of wood furniture and booths carved up over the years from previous students gave it an old yet comfortable atmosphere. He walked toward a booth and sat down. Suddenly he noticed George Arnold, a former friend from Goshen high school. He waved at George.
George noticed Jake, walked over to the booth, sat down across from him and said, “What are you doing here, Jake?”
“I recently got out of the Navy, studied in South Bend for a year, and arrived here today to enroll in summer school.” Jake replied. What are you doing here?”
George paused. “I finished dental school, and now I’m opening a practice in Bloomington and taking care of the football team too.”
Jake smiled and shook George’s hand. “That’s great, George. Are you married?”
“Yes, and my wife, Diane, and I would like to have you over for dinner some night. Just give me a call.”
“I would like that. Thank you.”
Are you going to try out for a sports team while you’re here, Jake?”
Jake laughed, “I might do that, but I’ve already met my match in the Navy. When I was going to electronic school at Great Lakes Naval Center, I was going to class and working out with the wrestling team after school. This guy came over from boot camp and asked if he could try out for the team. I wasn’t busy and told him, sure…. He proceeded to take me down, and the strongest hands I ever felt in my life took hold of my shoulder and leg. Then he pushed his head against the small of my back and started to bend it like a bow and arrow. I’m strong and did heavy construction for two years before entering the Navy, but I was putty in his hands.”
“Wow,” George said. “You still look strong to me.”
Jake continued, “It turns out he was Oklahoma state champion. After I finished electronics school they transferred me to a ship where I served the rest of my enlistment.”
“Does he have a name, Jake?”
“Yes, it’s Dan Murphy. While I was aboard ship, the Navy Times announced that he was the first enlisted man to make an Olympic team. I did not even belong on the same mat with Murphy. I remembered the guy who took me down was called Dan, and when I saw his picture, I knew it was him. I could probably make the team here, but why? I can never beat someone like Dan Murphy. I’ll remember him the rest of my life though. And just to top it all off, he’s a really nice guy.”
George got up and said, “Don’t forget to call us.”
Jake stood up and walked around the inside of the restaurant. He gazed at pictures and trophies. One picture, especially, caught his eye: a picture of Hoagy Carmichael (who wrote the song, ‘Star Dust’.) “Wow!” He thought, “I probably sat at the same table where he wrote the song.” Jake continued to look at the pictures on the walls: some were photos of athletes, others buildings, some movie stars, and of course, Hoagy Carmichael.
Jake left the Gables and started walking on a path in the woods toward the campus buildings.
When he entered the admissions office, he already knew that he had taken all the courses he could in South Bend, and now he had signed up to start classes on campus during the summertime. He thought, “I want to get through this school as fast as I can. I know I can do it in about two years or a little more.” The faculty member in the office gave Jake an argument and told him that he could only carry a semester load of fourteen hours and only seven hours in the summer.
Jake got mad, his face tightening, his eyes darkening, and piercing, as he moved closer, gripping his fists. He told the member that he was almost twenty-five years old, a four year Navy veteran, and could handle a load of eighteen hours a semester.
The faculty member looked at the determined young man in front of him who appeared unreasonable and angry. Rather than confront him, he said, “You can carry a heavy load if you want to, but I do not recommend it.”
Jake calmed down. “Thank you, sir. I really am in a hurry. I’ve wanted this all of my life.”
Jake signed up for three courses and settled down to study at IU (Indiana University). When he went to check on jobs, they told him that there was an opening in the physics department for someone to repair and help with the equipment. Jake jumped at the chance and was hired by one of the professors immediately to repair the electronics and assist on other duties as needed. It was a part time job and exactly what Jake was that looking for—also he would be working for members of the Manhattan Project from World War II. “This is exciting.” he said out loud, a broad grin all over his face.
On Sunday, he went to church and was disappointed at the priest for saying the mass—in English rather than Latin. At the Union Building on campus—Jake, holding a cup of coffee and sipping the coffee as he walked—stopped at the bulletin board and scanned the coming presentations and events. One event grasped his attention: a presentation on “Science and Religion” scheduled for Sunday evening, so he decided to go and listen.
He thought, “Maybe the lecture will help me make up my mind. I’m having difficulty combining the two together—one is objective and the other subjective—they don’t fit and are at odds with each other.”
As the fall progressed, he made a few friends. Many were veterans on their G.I. Bill like Jake. A new friend, Bill Springer, worked part time at the Kinsey Institute, where he ran experiments on psycho stimulants for sexual research. Bill planned on finishing his Chemistry degree and had enough G.I. Bill left to almost finish graduate school. Many nights, they shared a large pizza and invited friends (usually female) to join them. Jake was attracted to a girl named Sophie, who was not taking classes, but she and some of the other girls lived off campus. Her uncle was a doctor in Bloomington and checked in on her once in a while; she came from Baltimore and liked the social and cultured life of the university. She had her uncle in Bloomington and other relatives in Indianapolis, so the family could check on her living away from her home in Maryland.
Chapter Four Einstein and Physics
In the spring, Jake studied thermodynamics—a great revelation. When they studied entropy and the laws of thermodynamics, Jake remembered what the catechists at church taught him when he was in grade school during the depression of the 1930’s
More than once, a catechist, holding up her long pointing stick with her right hand, explaining about God would comment: “God is everywhere. He is in all of us and around us, in every cell of your body, and even the chair that you sit on. He cannot be created nor destroyed. He is everything and universal.”
Jake thought, “I guess with the first law of thermodynamics from Einstein we know that energy cannot be created nor destroyed. Therefore energy is a description of what the Catechist taught me to be God. We cannot change the laws of thermodynamics and we certainly cannot change God. Therefore they may be the same thing by different names.”
Jake felt like a huge weight had disappeared from his shoulders and neck; less muscle contraction headaches occurred, and he promised himself to learn more about thermodynamics. The concept of entropy, was harder to understand, but over time Jake learned and often discussed it with other students; how entropy increased as it left one object for another (a hot bowl of liquid cools as its heat energy transfers to a cooler bowl in a closed chamber, making the temperature of the two bowls the same).
About this time, Jake’s favorite niece, who was the same age as Jake, married a doctor in Memphis. Their honeymoon was the first time that John and Jake’s niece, Jane, came into the apartment; John immediately opened the refrigerator and saw a full case of beer taking up most of the shelving. “What’s this?” He said.
Jake slowly replied with a guilty laugh, “It’s the only way I could stock up on the important items of life.”
“I understand,” John said and they both laughed together. After selecting a can of beer, John closed the refrigerator door
Jake liked Doctor John Meyer, and over time Jake learned to respect as well. Doctor John Meyer, seemed to have a great deal of knowledge and understanding of people and life. They became close friends, even though they lived far apart. Jake thought, “I really like discussing science, people, and religion with him—though he is a strong Southern Baptist and takes me to task during debate. I wish he could accept my comparison of energy and God. It’s too bad that he lives in Memphis and not Indiana.”
Jake’s friend, Bill Springer, minored in philosophy and did not believe in God.
Bill and Jake had many long nights arguing about energy, God, and their differences in belief.
“I want pepperoni on my pizza,” Jake would say, and Bill would reply, “I want extra cheese on my part of the pizza.”
These debates went on for hours and sometimes days. Between pizza and beer, they argued about such things as God is or is not, and no one can understand women or especially girlfriends. They did agree that the universe was old, humans have existed for thousands or possibly millions of years, and the planet was over four billion years old. The age of the earth allowed plenty of time for mutations to take place and therefore people evolved from a lesser living creature.
Jake said, “God made the earth and everything on it, including us—that is creativity and it does not contradict faith. Myth is only oral history that existed before information was recorded in a written form.”
Bill said, “God is not real and you cannot prove it. Maybe the universe has existed forever, or is it possible that our planet and life as we know it is an accident of nature. We are alive because we happen to be just the right distance from our sun.”
Jake would reply, “Most people believe in God or an entity of some sort by another name. The Greeks said the concept or description of God is far too complicated for humanity to explain or ever understand.”
“That is avoiding the truth,” Bill said. “There is no god and someday our scientists will create life in the laboratory. Does that mean that they will be God?”
“No,” replied Jake. “There is always the question of the soul; check genesis in the bible. The early philosophers and cosmologists, as well as the new ones, say every time we find an answer to a question, we create more questions. We will never know or fully comprehend God. It’s a greater being that will always escape our full understanding. For me it’s a manner of faith, and I believe in God.”
“Faith doesn’t work for me,” said Bill. “I need objective proof.”
“I’m comfortable with faith and belief,” replied Jake. “Science is objective, overwhelming statistics, or what can be proven by repeated empirical testing. We call that fact. Scientists are always reaching or searching for ways to expand their knowledge or understanding of the cosmos. Religion is determined to protect and support whichever theology that particular religion believes in. The two can never be joined together by a common reason for God or no God.”
“What about Einstein’s discoveries? He has credit for entropy and the second law of thermodynamics?” said Bill.
“He also is one of those mentioned when giving opinions about the first law of thermodynamics which is for energy not being destroyed: it merely changes its form as it is used in one form or another.”
“I’m glad you asked that,” said Jake. “The classic example of entropy is to put two items together or hermetically seal a building such as a garage. If you keep it sealed, then over time all the items in the garage or container will deteriorate. They, share their energy with everything else in the container or garage. The hot fluid in one container will transfer its heat to the cold one and entropy increases in the process. Both cups end up at the same temperature in the sealed box or wrapping. The dust in the garage will accumulate and be at the same level of degeneration as everything else in the garage or building. That means all matter is deteriorating at the same rate and soon everything will be dust, rust and a mess to look at. It’s entropy and that’s what our universe would look like with entropy—a soup of aged atoms and matter.” The same thing happens with our bodies—entropy increases as we deteriorate with age.
“Do you really think the universe will be a messy soup of brownish liquid or dust because of entropy, or will it actually be the same as before?” Bill said.
“The laws of thermodynamics and entropy apply to the universe as well as our planet.” Jake said. “However there are other factors involved in the universe as we know it.”
Bill swallowed and looked at Jake. “Okay! Okay! Mister Smarty Pants. What are the other factors in our universe or Cosmos as you call it?”
“That’s easy, Bill. If the universe was started or created in less than a nano-moment, and it deteriorates by the second law of thermodynamics, then our universe would be a big mess of the same matter and our world would have ended a long time ago.”
“Einstein and others who studied cosmology were surprised by their findings. Our expanding universe keeps having minor changes made that support the stability and positioning of each fragment. It’s very different today than we would expect with the deterioration and entropy. Something, whether it be God, a higher entity, observer or keeper of the universe is adjusting the balance of our solar system and the rest of the universe.”
Jake continued, “Most of us give it the name ‘God’. It can be Allah, Yahweh, or other names used to mean the same source or entity. Eastern religions have names for God also. In India, for instance, they have multiple statures and names we westerners criticize as pagan statures. Actually they are no different than our statues of Mary and Joseph. It’s my understanding that the statues represent figures just like us and they have a higher god that they cannot describe too. They also treat what we call particles, “waves”. Waves or frequency are like ripples in the water—everywhere and ever flowing through the universe. Scientists are starting to deal with particle physics and quantum mechanics, yet the Far-Eastern cultures have been dealing with it from another approach long before us.”
“Now you are getting into science discussion, said Bill. “Do you think there are other planets like ours in the universe?” Bill asked.
Jake paused, scratched his head and said, “I don’t know the answer to that—statistically yes, but we have not found any so far.”