The problem with science is that it's moving further and further in the direction of incompatibility with Orthodox dogma. Even if we grant for argument's sake that the Genesis account of the origin of the world and of humanity can be understood in a purely allegorical fashion (although I believe this goes against the consensus of the Fathers), we still have to believe that: the soul is specially created and not the product of evolution; and that the physical laws of the universe as a whole were specially designed and created by God. However, evolutionary psychology certainly holds to the theory that our mind, i.e. our soul, is entirely the product of evolution. You can choose to reject this, but on what scientific grounds? What is the rival scientific theory for the origins of our mind? Steven Pinker recently wrote a book on this called the "Blank Slate". He is arguing against the model of the human mind assumed by most social scientists, which holds that mind is largely the product of environment and cultural influences. These social scientists, by the way, do not reject evolution as a whole, they just refuse to acknowledge evolution's implications for the human mind, and the possible differences in mental faculties that you would thus expect between different human populations (divided by sex, race, etc). The debate is strongly colored by political ideology, but it is pretty clear that the trend is for Darwinism to win out in psychology as well as biology. As far as psychological science is concerned, the weight of evidence is against the standard social science model. Ironically, this scientific victory over leftist ideology is also a victory over traditional Christian dogma about the specially created, immortal human soul.
Evolutionary psychology looks at patterns of behaviors and finds how they are evolved. Spirituality takes these patterns of behaviors and transcends them to an even higher degree of morality. The mind is a combination of physical and spiritual factors. So behavioral psychologists only see how things work with the brain, how the brain reacts to stimuli around us and how we react, which is pretty much what behavior is.
In spirituality, we go beyond the physical norm. We seek self-improvement through God. We transcend our physical side, bringing it up towards heavenly contemplations. I always like to think of the brain as the seat of the soul, not the soul itself. And so, the rational soul cannot find itself fit into animal brains because they are not as highly developed as the human brain. It is in this seat, God blessed us and infused in us His Image and Likeness. So when images in PT scans or FMRIs flair up, we are only mapping where the soul is pushing the buttons of the brain so to speak. There is still much to learn about neuroscience, and no matter what, I don't think evolutionary psychology will disprove anything. Look around you. Only humans are able to describe the world around us in such an advanced manner. Only humans are able to somehow control and subdue Nature around us, and in fact, this is precisely where human nature is heading. Only humans are able to look upon those who are least fit to survive in Nature, and able to find and invent advanced tools that can help them survive and live better lives. And just as God creates us in His Image and Likeness, we tame animals in our image and likeness. No one else with earthly features can do that.
This is one evidence of something one cannot physically see, the essence of something that is hoped for by creation. It is as if the whole universe is a painting of God, and humanity is God's signature on the bottom right hand corner. It really doesn't belong here, but we are also by nature what is here, and so we can influence the world, maybe the universe in ways no other creature can.
How about the phyiscal laws of the universe? Surely they must be the product of design, and if so, we can't escape the conclusion that the universe has been "designed" just for us? Not so fast, according to an increasing number of physicists. In physics the theory of multiple universes is fast gaining ground, as well as the theory of an eternal cycle of expansion and contraction of space-time. Multiple universes, an idea made popular by Richard Feynman, is simply one theoretically consistent way of interpreting the Heisenberg uncertainty principle: since the position or velocity of a particle can only be estimated probabilistically at any one time, this could either mean that some supernatural force is determining it without our knowledge, or that all possible positions or velocities are being realized across an infinite number of parallel universes. Roger Penrose of Oxford University, meanwhile, believes he has found evidence that matter existed before the big bang, in the form of concentric circles of particularly even radiation patterns that can be observed in the cosmic microwave background. According to him, these must be due to gravitational waves produced by colliding black holes, a phenomenon predicted only for an aging universe, which must have preceded our own.
You talked about two things. Multiple universes is an understanding with "theoretical physicists." It is here where theory really doesn't mean theory in the sense other scientists deal with, but rather a hypothesis confirmed by intense and complicated mathematical calculations leading to a speculative interpretation. When I hear this, I cannot help but criticize it and remind people that Aristotle uses mathematical calculations to prove that everything revolves around us in a perfect circular fashion, except the planets, which revolve with "circles upon circles" around us. His calculations were correct, and his interpretations were consistent with his calculations, but his perceptions were not reality.
On the other hand, Roger Penrose is different. He actually has something tangible. To that I say, so what? I don't see anything wrong with his theory. It doesn't contradict my faith at all. I don't think it means there was no beginning. We just have to wait and see how he advances in finding more evidence and more studies to further his understanding of what he's finding. Have confidence in God's work man. Be patient. When there are new advances in science, I don't get worried about whether it will contradict my faith or not. I KNOW it will not contradict my faith. Instead, I get excited as we further in knowledge of what is around us. I cannot wait for the next scientific discovery. I don't think, "what will science come up with next to discredit us?" I think, "what else did God do in the cosmos?"
These are all legitimate scientific developments, judging by science's own standards of legitimacy. Are we just going to accept all of them because the "experts" say so? If so, where does that leave our faith? There are an infinite number of parallel universes. This means there is nothing probabilistically astounding about the physical laws of our own universe. No doubt, if you took a random sample of universes, the majority would not produce any life, since the physical constants would have evolved in such a way as to render the evolution of life impossible. But given an infinite number, a universe with life is bound to appear. As if that weren't bad enough, our own souls are nothing more than highly complex but nevertheless entirely evolved neural networks, qualitatively no different from the nervous systems of any other species. Free will, morality and so forth are simply psychological illusions from an introspective point of view; empirically, science holds them to be epiphenomena, acquired by some learning process, of deeper, evolved psychological phenomena.
Where do we draw the line? Do we not at some point have to say that it doesn't matter what these clever scientists say: our faith teaches so and so and there we stand? And if we have to tell science "Stop!" at this point, why not at an earlier point? Why don't we allow the Tradition of the Church to guide us to the right place to "draw the line"? It is for that reason that I find it hard to accept biological evolution.
Again, the difference between speculation and true scientific research. I give Penrose more credence than Hawking for instance. I don't discredit Hawking's genius, but at the same time, I think he gave an interpretation that leads to one of two things:
1. If the multiverse is with infinite proportion, then that means he has successfully given us something that contradicts the very fabric of science, i.e. that it is now impossible to empirically test this, and thus, he turned Nature into nothing different than a deist reality.
2. He cheapens infinity if infinity can truly become testable, and yet can be formed out of a "multiversal" or "M-theoretical" ballanced "nothing." In that case, I can say with all confidence, God is greater than infinity. He is the only one that can take what never existed, and turn it into a cosmic balance of existence even if it's in infinite proportions. I think the Aeropagite writings considers God as "beyond Infinite," (and the EO saint, St. Maximus the Confessor confirms this) or an infinity infinitely greater than created infinity. Number theorists have shown that there is a countable infinity and an infinity that is not countable. If M-theory is true, is only then confirms a countable infinity, an infinity that can be observable. There still exists the unobservable infinity.
In other words, I believe nothing can shake my strong belief in God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and I have no doubt that scientific advances will not change one with a correct mindset, and I am not afraid of what they will find out. My faith at this moment is a rock as it should be, not on the sandy foundations of over-literalism, but on the strong foundations of spirituality.