Is belief in God like belief in unicorns?

Posted on August 30, 2017 By

God and unicorns

God and unicorns: A favorite atheist claim is that belief in God is akin to belief in unicorns. But, interestingly enough, the history of belief in unicorns has a crucial lesson to teach us about atheism: It is not sufficient for atheists to merely reject God as an ultimate explanation for such things as the origin of life and the origin of the universe. The atheist must provide his or her own substitute explanation, and provide evidence for that explanation. Bo Jinn comments in his book Illogical Atheism:

“There is the theory that the myth of the unicorn first came about when ancient nomadic people of Europe discovered strange objects washed up along their shores. These objects were long, pointed, conical and had the weight and texture of bone.”

“…The unicorn hypothesis was refuted, because many years later it was discovered that the horns were not horns, but tusks; belonging to a small whale we know today as the ‘narwhal’. The more evidence was brought against the unicorn hypothesis, the more the unicorn myth faded into obscurity. Notice, also, that the nomads were not completely wrong with their hypothesis. The horns did belong to an animal, also a mammal, which died at sea, just as they had thought! It just so happens that the animal was not precisely the kind of animal they had imagined. Rational intuition never completely succeeds, but it seldom completely fails either.”

“The point of the metaphor is that atheists have yet to find their narwhal. They do not have a substitute explanation for the existence of the universe which removes from any of the attributes by which theists have traditionally come to understand God.”

Desperately needing a non-theistic explanation for the origin of the universe, many atheists have resorted to nothing as their explanation. But even citing a unicorn as the cause of the universe would be a more reasonable claim. An relevant excerpt from my post How Atheism Impersonates Science:

In his book Universe From Nothing, famed atheist physicist Lawrence Krauss argues that our universe came from nothing rather than from God. This concept will come as a shock to most readers, since they have no doubt spent their entire lives with the assumption that nothing cannot cause anything to happen or to exist. 

The following excerpt from Come Let Us Reason by William Lane Craig hilariously highlights the absurdity of the idea that nothing can cause something to happen or to exist:

Imagine the following dialogue between two people discussing the Second World War:

 “Nothing stopped the German advance from sweeping across Belgium.”

“Oh, that’s good. I’m glad they were stopped.”

“But they weren’t stopped!”

“But you said that nothing stopped them.”

“That’s right.”

“So they were stopped.”

“No, nothing stopped them.”

“That’s what I said. They were stopped, and it was nothing which stopped them.”

“No, no, I meant they weren’t stopped by anything.”

“Well, why didn’t you say so in the first place?”

Similar to Krauss, physicist Stephen Hawking claims that, “Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing.” However, this “nothing” is space filled with vacuum energy. Here, “nothing” doesn’t have the traditional definition of non-being, but rather space filled with vacuum energy (the quantum vacuum). Speaking of two different things as if they were the same is the logical fallacy known as equivocation. As William Lane Craig points out, Hawking and co-author Leonard Mlodinov commit painfully obvious equivocation in an interview about their book The Grand Design with Larry King on Larry King Live:

Hawking: “Gravity and quantum theory cause universes to be created spontaneously out of nothing.”

King: “Who created the nothing? Where did the nothing come from?”

Mlodinov: “According to quantum theory, there is no such thing as nothingness.”

In this ridiculous exchange, Hawking is using “nothing” to refer to the quantum vacuum, whereas Mlodinov uses “nothing” in the traditional definition of nothing as non-being

Please click here to watch Hawking’s colleague, the Oxford University physicist Sir Roger Penrose, describe Hawking’s M-Theory (featured in The Grand Design) as, “not even a theory. It’s a collection of ideas, hopes, and aspirations.”


  1. Terry says:

    If there was ever “nothing” there would still be “nothing”. The “ONLY” rational explanation is that the Universe has always existed.

    To get something from nothing would require a supernatural event. (Magic). The is nothing to support Magic. Was the Big Bang a Supernatural event? Of course not. Was the Big Bang the beginning of the universe? Again No.

    When people say “God/god did it”. I can only laugh. An invisible magic man? Too stupid to be taken seriously. We do not live in a “Supernatural” universe, we live in a “Natural” universe so when you remove supernatural/magic from the equation as I do.An eternal universe is the only rational solution.

    • Scott Youngren says:

      Terry,

      In an all too human fashion, you are allowing your beliefs to frame the facts, instead of the other way around. The overwhelming scientific evidence demonstrates that the universe is not eternal, and had a beginning at The Big Bang. I detail this evidence in my post titled Is There a God…What is the chance that our world is the result of chance. Click on the preceding link. An excerpt:

      So compelling, in fact, has become the case for the universe as the product of a conscious creator that astrophysicist Hugh Ross, a former post-doctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology observes (in his book The Creator and the Cosmos: How the Greatest Scientific Discoveries of the Century Reveal God) that:

      “Astronomers who do not draw theistic or deistic conclusions are becoming rare, and even the few dissenters hint that the tide is against them. Geoffrey Burbidge, of the University of California at San Diego, complains that his fellow astronomers are rushing off to join ‘The First Church of Christ of the Big Bang.’”

      For those not familiar with “the Big Bang,” this cosmological event, now almost unanimously regarded as fact in the scientific community, constituted the beginning of the universe about 14 or 15 billion years ago, and bears eerie similarity to the biblical account of the universe’s creation. As Arno Penzias, the 1978 Nobel Prize recipient in physics, stated to the New York Times on March 12, 1978:

      “The best data we have (concerning the Big Bang) are exactly what I would have predicted, had I nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms, the Bible as a whole.”

      Similarly, the astronomer, physicist and founder of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Robert Jastrow, writes:

      “Now we see how the astronomical evidence leads to a biblical view of the origin of the world. The details differ, but the essential elements in the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis are the same: the chain of events leading to man commenced suddenly and sharply at a definite moment of time, in a flash of light and energy.”

      Scott

  2. Matt Smith says:

    If atheists can’t explain something, God did it? Scott is smarter than that I’m sure.

    Did God create the Universe ‘from nothing’ or from preexisting stuff? If the former, is it the case that nothing + magic is acceptable as an explanation? If the latter, where did the stuff did come from? In either case, looks like theists actually can’t reasonably account for what they claim to.

    Unicorns have the advantage of being possible beings, I’m not sure a timeless, spaceless, eternal mind is possible. If we accept that possibility, I can’t see the problem with taking the view that the energy of the Universe had always existed in a timeless spaceless eternal state, prior to the Big Bang, no God required.

    • Scott Youngren says:

      Matt,

      In an all too human fashion, you are allowing your beliefs to frame the facts, instead of the other way around. The overwhelming scientific evidence demonstrates that the universe is not eternal, and had a beginning at The Big Bang. I detail this evidence in my post titled Is There a God…What is the chance that our world is the result of chance. Click on the preceding link. An excerpt:

      So compelling, in fact, has become the case for the universe as the product of a conscious creator that astrophysicist Hugh Ross, a former post-doctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology observes (in his book The Creator and the Cosmos: How the Greatest Scientific Discoveries of the Century Reveal God) that:

      “Astronomers who do not draw theistic or deistic conclusions are becoming rare, and even the few dissenters hint that the tide is against them. Geoffrey Burbidge, of the University of California at San Diego, complains that his fellow astronomers are rushing off to join ‘The First Church of Christ of the Big Bang.’”

      For those not familiar with “the Big Bang,” this cosmological event, now almost unanimously regarded as fact in the scientific community, constituted the beginning of the universe about 14 or 15 billion years ago, and bears eerie similarity to the biblical account of the universe’s creation. As Arno Penzias, the 1978 Nobel Prize recipient in physics, stated to the New York Times on March 12, 1978:

      “The best data we have (concerning the Big Bang) are exactly what I would have predicted, had I nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms, the Bible as a whole.”

      Similarly, the astronomer, physicist and founder of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Robert Jastrow, writes:

      “Now we see how the astronomical evidence leads to a biblical view of the origin of the world. The details differ, but the essential elements in the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis are the same: the chain of events leading to man commenced suddenly and sharply at a definite moment of time, in a flash of light and energy.”

      As far as the possibility of an eternally existing being, this is exactly what modern physics points to. There is an excellent video titled “The End of Materialism” which is embeded in my post titled God is Real…Why Modern Physics Has Discredited Atheism which details this scientific evidence. Click on the preceding link and view the video.

      The knighted mathematician, physicist and astronomer Sir James Jeans writes (in his book The Mysterious Universe)…

      “There is a wide measure of agreement which, on the physical side of science approaches almost unanimity, that the stream of knowledge is heading towards a non-mechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine. Mind no longer appears as an accidental intruder into the realm of matter. We are beginning to suspect that we ought rather to hail mind as the creator and governor of the realm of matter.” (italics added)

      Relevant to the disagreement between modern physics and mainstream biology on this topic, Yale University biophysicist Harold J. Morowitz writes in his article Rediscovering the Mind:

      “What has happened is that biologists, who once postulated a privileged role for the human mind in nature’s hierarchy, have been moving relentlessly toward the hard-core materialism that characterized nineteenth-century physics. At the same time, physicists, faced with compelling experimental evidence, have been moving away from strictly mechanical models of the universe to a view that sees the mind as playing an integral role in all physical events. It is as if the two disciplines were on fast-moving trains, going in opposite directions and not noticing what is happening across the tracks.”

      Physicist Richard Conn Henry from Johns Hopkins University explains why people (such as atheist biologists) cling to materialism/naturalism despite the fact that it has been completely discredited by modern physics:

      “Why do people cling with such ferocity to belief in a mind-independent reality? It is surely because if there is no such reality, then ultimately (as far as we can know) mind alone exists. And if mind is not a product of real matter, but rather is the creator of the illusion of material reality (which has, in fact, despite the materialists, been known to be the case since the discovery of quantum mechanics in 1925), then a theistic view of our existence becomes the only rational alternative to solipsism.” [“Solipsism” is defined as “the view or theory that the self is all that can be known to exist.”]

      Scott

      • Matt Smith says:

        Scott, you’re equivocating, I didn’t say that the current Universe was eternal, I proposed that the energy that now constitutes the matter/energy of this Universe was in an eternal, timeless, spaceless state, prior to the Big Bang. What we consider the Universe includes spacetime in addition to the matter/energy within it, and this phase of the Universe has not lasted ‘forever’, under my proposal. See any flaw there?

        As I’ve said on several previous occasions, providing personal opinions does not help your case, be they from theists, atheists, scientists or doctors, or the man on the street. We can agree the Big Bang occurred, what we don’t agree in is that it was ‘the beginning’. You’d like it to be the case, whereas I’m quite neutral on the matter. If it was the beginning, that offers absolutely no evidence for any specific God, nor does it rule out the possibility of natural explanations.

        By the way, I notice in your effort to provide extraneous information in the quotes (bogus arguments from authority), you forgot to answer my questions that go to the core of the ‘explanations’ provided by your world view:

        So, on your view, did God create the Universe ‘from nothing’ or from preexisting stuff? If the former, is it the case that nothing + magic is acceptable as an explanation? If the latter, where did the stuff did come from?

        • Scott Youngren says:

          Matt,

          No, this is not argument from authority. My citation of experts is only there to buttress the scientific evidence. The citation of experts is a routine part of rational discourse. If you don’t believe me, just check any scholarly journal.

          Why don’t we settle this with a comparison of evidence? Please provide for me the scientific evidence to support your proposal that, “The energy that now constitutes the matter/energy of this Universe was in an eternal, timeless, spaceless state, prior to the Big Bang. What we consider the Universe includes spacetime in addition to the matter/energy within it, and this phase of the Universe has not lasted ‘forever’.”

          Hint: You will not be able to produce any such evidence, because there isn’t any. Your stance is therefore extra-scientific (read: religious) in nature.

          Here is my scientific evidence that the universe has not existed forever, and that, therefore, the Big Bang was the beginning:

          1) In 2003, physicists Borde, Vilenkin and Guth corroborated to formulate a mathematical proof that demonstrates that an eternal universe is not possible. It is known as the BVG theorem. Alexander Vilenkin is very blunt in regard to the implications of this proof:

          “It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape, they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning.”
          (Many Worlds in One [New York: Hill and Wang, 2006], p.176).

          It should be noted that this proof applies to any proposed “multiverse” or “oscillating universe,” etc. in which our universe may be situated. Astrophysicist Robert Jastrow (the founder of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies) echoes Vilenkin’s above comments:

          “The lingering decline predicted by astronomers for the end of the world differs from the explosive conditions they have calculated for its birth, but the impact is the same: modern science denies an eternal existence to the Universe, either in the past or in the future.“

          2) The universe is expanding, as demonstrated by the fact that the galaxies are constantly moving further apart from one another. This points to the undeniable fact that the universe began in a giant explosion.

          3) The universe is constantly using usable energy and is therefore “winding down” like a clock. This points to a cosmic beginning when the universe was all “wound up.” Click on the post below to see what I mean:

          http://study.com/academy/lesson/evidence-for-the-big-bang-theory-background-radiation-red-shift-and-expansion.html

          4) The evidence from red shift and cosmic background radiation. Click on the below link to see what I mean:

          http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/science/aqa_pre_2011/radiation/originsrev2.shtml

          An excerpt:

          Cosmic Microwave Background radiation

          “Scientists discovered that there are microwaves coming from every direction in space. Big Bang theory says this is energy created at the beginning of the universe, just after the Big Bang, and that has been traveling through space ever since.”

          “A satellite called COBE has mapped the background microwave radiation of the universe as we see it.”

          Matt, next, you ask, “did God create the Universe ‘from nothing’ or from preexisting stuff?” You have apparently not read the post which I linked you to, titled God is Real…Why Modern Physics Has Discredited Atheism. As this post discusses, modern physics has conclusively demonstrated that matter does not even exist in the absence of a conscious observer. This is the unescapable conclusion of what is known as the “observer effect” in physics. Please read Johns Hopkins University physicist Richard Conn Henry’s article titled Mental Universe. Click on the link below:

          http://henry.pha.jhu.edu/The.mental.universe.pdf

          You may also want to read the book Mindful Universe by University of California, Berkeley physicist Henry Stapp.

          Max Planck, the Nobel Prize winning physicist who is credited with founding quantum physics summarizes the inescapable conclusion of modern physics. Planck writes:

          “I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”

          And click here to watch a YouTube video which describes the observer effect in physics (from the double slit experiment).

          Physicist George Stanciu and philosopher Robert Augros provide an excellent nutshell explanation of why the matter-first worldview (materialism) is no longer scientifically or philosophically supportable in their book The New Story of Science:

          “In the New Story of science the whole universe–including matter, energy, space, and time–is a one-time event and had a definite beginning. But something must have always existed; for if ever absolutely nothing existed, then nothing would exist now, since nothing comes from nothing. The material universe cannot be the thing that always existed because matter had a beginning. It is 12 to 20 billion years old. This means that whatever has always existed is non-material. The only non-material reality seems to be mind. If mind is what has always existed, then matter must have been brought into existence by a mind that always was. This points to an intelligent, eternal being who created all things. Such a being is what we mean by the term God.”

          Scott

          • Matt Smith says:

            Scott, why do you insist on providing quotes after I’ve already mentioned that bogus arguments from authority do not help your case at all? I’ve already recognised them for what they are and know better. Books written by scientists are useless in proving any point, unless they actually show the data and equations and have been inspected and verified by peers who understand them.

            That’s what is certainly missing from your argument. I already agreed the Big Bang took place, there’s no doubt about that. As I already pointed out, that does not prove the energy within the Universe is not eternal, all it shows is that this current expansion phase of the Universe began a fixed number of years ago. If the argument is mathematical in nature, ‘proving’ that it was the actual beginning of everything, let’s see it! I’m pretty sure such a proof does not exist though.

            Neither does a proof of my proposal, hence the term. As you certainly noticed, it is merely a suggestion on my part that is almost exactly equivalent to your origin story, without the God part mixed in. Since we have no evidence of a God as yet, if we have to have faith in something ‘eternal’ and ‘timeless’, and we’ve observed energy can neither be created nor destroyed, my proposal as far as we currently know seems more likely to be correct. Aside from the laws of conservation of energy, there is no scientific evidence I’m aware of, for or against my suggestion, and I’m happy to modify it should any become available.

            As I mentioned some time ago in a previous exchange, no, quantum physics does not prove God or omnipresent minds. There is no definition in quantum physics of ‘consciousness’, and the ‘observer’ you refer to is not actually a mind. You’re using a very woo-woo interpretation of quantum effects not shared by actual scientists working in the field. Again, quotes from Planck or any other scientist do no good unless they come with data, equations and peer review. If Planck had somehow proven the existence of God, it’s quite remarkable that since he died in 1947, the rest of the world has been so slow to catch on.

    • Scott Youngren says:

      Matt,

      No, the arguments are not a case of God filling in explanatory gaps. Rather, we have positive evidence for the existence of God from physics, cosmology, and biology. I lay out the evidence in the following posts:

      Physics: God is Real, Why Modern Physics Has Discredited Atheism.

      Cosmology: Is There A God? What is the chance that universe is the result of chance?

      Biology: There’s Nothing Random About Evolution and How Atheism Relies on Special Pleading.

      Please click on the above links and read the essays. An except from the essay on physics:

      Physicist Richard Conn Henry explains why people (such as atheist biologists) cling to materialism/naturalism despite the fact that it has been completely discredited by modern physics:

      “Why do people cling with such ferocity to belief in a mind-independent reality? It is surely because if there is no such reality, then ultimately (as far as we can know) mind alone exists. And if mind is not a product of real matter, but rather is the creator of the illusion of material reality (which has, in fact, despite the materialists, been known to be the case since the discovery of quantum mechanics in 1925), then a theistic view of our existence becomes the only rational alternative to solipsism.”
      [“Solipsism” is defined as “the view or theory that the self is all that can be known to exist.”]

      An excerpt from the essay on cosmology:

      So compelling, in fact, has become the case for the universe as the product of a conscious creator that astrophysicist Hugh Ross, a former post-doctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology observes (in his book The Creator and the Cosmos: How the Greatest Scientific Discoveries of the Century Reveal God) that:

      “Astronomers who do not draw theistic or deistic conclusions are becoming rare, and even the few dissenters hint that the tide is against them. Geoffrey Burbidge, of the University of California at San Diego, complains that his fellow astronomers are rushing off to join ‘The First Church of Christ of the Big Bang.’”

      For those not familiar with “the Big Bang,” this cosmological event, now almost unanimously regarded as fact in the scientific community, constituted the beginning of the universe about 14 or 15 billion years ago, and bears eerie similarity to the biblical account of the universe’s creation. As Arno Penzias, the 1978 Nobel Prize recipient in physics, stated to the New York Times on March 12, 1978:

      “The best data we have (concerning the Big Bang) are exactly what I would have predicted, had I nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms, the Bible as a whole.”

      Similarly, the astronomer, physicist and founder of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Robert Jastrow, writes:

      “Now we see how the astronomical evidence leads to a biblical view of the origin of the world. The details differ, but the essential elements in the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis are the same: the chain of events leading to man commenced suddenly and sharply at a definite moment of time, in a flash of light and energy.”

  3. Terry says:

    I see you still believe “Opinions = Evidence”.

    For over 2000 years theists have been looking for evidence of their imaginary friend and to-date have completely failed. Perhaps your site should be called godnoevidence.com or godevidenceless.com either way you have yet to produce a single shred of evidence to support any god.

    I like the way that theists try to ride on the back of science to get where they want to go. It took awhile and a lot of wrangling but eventually theism adopted the Big Bang as their champion. Well here is a news flash.

    The Big Bang is no longer considered the beginning of the Universe. Here is a video by BBC Horizon that contradicts the Big Bang Theory:
    https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x21sx2q

    Pay special attention to the time frame from 4:45 – 6:37. That pretty well sums it up but the whole video is worth the watch. Yup, I am playing your game. Opinion for Opinion. The fight fire with fire approach.

    This is because science doesn’t claim to have have the answers. In fact, if they did have the answers it wouldn’t be science. Science is in search of answers. This is also why there is not a god science. Science doesn’t search for answers to things that have no-evidence.

    Back to the Unicorn. Do you also believe in them? If not, why? There is an equal amount of evidence for Unicorns as there is Gods. Also an equal amount of evidence against both of them. If you can prove Unicorns don’t exist you will also be able to prove god(s) don’t exist using the same method.

    • Scott Youngren says:

      Terry,

      I would advise you to cut back on the angry rhetoric in your comments (such as, “Perhaps your site should be called godnoevidence.com or godevidenceless.com”). You present your atheist views as logically based, but your angry rhetoric strongly suggests something else: Namely, that your views are emotionally and/or ideologically based. If you held your atheist views for purely logical reasons, your comments would be unemotional and calm…not spiked with angry rhetoric. Absolutely no intelligent third-party viewers of this discussion will fail to notice this.

      Your video suggests that there is a diminished certainty in scientific circles that the Big Bang was the beginning of the universe. But this does not detract from the simple fact that there was a beginning…whether or not that beginning happened at the Big Bang is a separate but ultimately irrelevant question.

      In 2003, physicists Borde, Vilenkin and Guth corroborated to formulate a mathematical proof that demonstrates that an eternal universe is not possible. It is known as the BVG theorem. Alexander Vilenkin is very blunt in regard to the implications of this proof:

      “It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape, they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning.” (Many Worlds in One [New York: Hill and Wang, 2006], p.176).

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ub6vKrRWGYA

      And, if you want to talk about “news flashes,” I have one for you: You suggest that theists try to “ride on the back of science.” But it is very clearly the case that atheists are the ones who are trying to ride on the back of science. As I demonstrate in Without Christianity, There Would Be No Science, historians of science are virtually unanimous in their agreement that science owes its origins to Christianity. In point of fact, without Christianity, there would be no science. Historian of science Ronald Numbers notes:

      “Generations of historians and sociologists have discovered many ways in which Christians, Christian beliefs, and Christian institutions played crucial roles in fashioning the tenets, methods, and institutions of what in time became modern science. They found that some forms of Christianity provided the motivation to study nature systematically; sociologist Robert Merton, for example, argued seventy years ago that Puritan belief and practice spurred seventeenth-century century Englishmen to embrace science. Scholars still debate what Merton got right and what he got wrong, and in the intervening years they have drawn a far more detailed portrait of the varied nature of the religious impetus to study nature.”

      “Although they disagree about nuances, today almost all historians agree that Christianity (Catholicism as well as Protestantism) moved many early-modern intellectuals to study nature systematically. Historians have also found that notions borrowed from Christian belief found their ways into scientific discourse, with glorious results; the very notion that nature is lawful, some scholars argue, was borrowed from Christian theology.”

      Here is a list of just a few of the many devout Christians who are/were absolutely crucial scientific contributors:

      1) Sir Joseph J. Thomson, the founder of atomic physics.
      2) Max Planck, the founder of quantum physics.
      3) Sir Isaac Newton, who requires no introduction.
      4) Gregor Mendel, the founder of modern genetics.
      5) James Clerk Maxwell, the founder of classical electromagnetic theory (whose contributions to science are regarded to be of the same magnitude as those of Newton and Einstein).
      6) Louis Pasteur, the founder of microbiology and immunology.
      7) Robert Boyle, the founder of modern chemistry.
      8) Allan Sandage, one of the founders of modern astronomy.
      9) Wehner von Braun, the founder of space science.
      10) John Ray, the English naturalist who is regarded by many to be the founder of modern biology.
      11) Werner Heisenberg, the founder of quantum mechanics (which is absolutely crucial to modern science).

      Theists are “riding on the back of science“?!?! QUITE THE OPPOSITE. Christian theists founded science, and atheists try to ride on their back. Terry, please give me JUST ONE EXAMPLE of an atheist who founded a major field of science. HINT: You won’t be able to do so, because there aren’t any.

      Even Albert Einstein and Charles Darwin were very very explicit about their belief in God, although they were not Christians.

      You are correct when you write that, “Science doesn’t claim to have the answers.” Both theism and atheism are meta-scientific stances which rely on the application of philosophical reasoning to scientific observations.

      But what you and many atheists do is confuse science, on one hand, with atheistic philosophical add-ons to science, on the other hand.

      For example, unless I am mistaken, you seem to be taking the philosophical stance that we cannot know anything to be true that has not been directly validated through scientific observation. Everything else is just “opinions” in your view.

      The key problem with the premise that “we can only know what science can tell us,” is that this very premise is something that science cannot tell us. It is a self-refuting premise. Just think about it, how would one scientifically validate a statement such as, “We can only know what science can tell us”? With a chemistry experiment involving a bunsen burner and test tubes? With a biology experiment involving a microscope and a petri dish, perhaps?

      Einstein surely understood that scientific knowledge cannot be the only kind of knowledge, and that it must necessarily interact with religious/philosophical reasoning…which is why he said, “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.” So did many other crucial contributors to modern science…such as Max Planck (the Nobel Prize winning physicist who founded quantum theory), which is why he said, “There can never be any real opposition between religion and science; for the one is the complement of the other.” Philosopher Richard Stenmark continues cites Oxford University philosopher Richard Swinburne:

      “For an ultimate explanation we need an explanation at the highest level of why those laws rather than any other one operated. The laws of evolution are no doubt consequences of laws of chemistry governing the organic matter of which animals are made. And the laws of chemistry hold because fundamental laws of physics hold. But why just those fundamental laws of physics rather than any others? If the laws of physics did not have the consequence that some chemical arrangement would give rise to life, or that there would be random variations by offspring from characteristics of parents, and so on, there would be no evolution by natural selection. So, even given that there are laws of nature (i.e. that material objects have the same powers and liabilities as each other), why just those laws?”

      “But since evolutionary theory does not provide us with an answer to this kind of question, the mystery of our existence is not yet solved and evolution is not a way to get complex designs out of nothing. Both naturalism and theism, on the other hand, provide answers to this question. Therefore, theism does not compete with science, but it does compete with naturalism. Naturalists maintain that it is merely an accident that these laws happen to operate and that the primitive soup of matter had the particular constitution it had. The best ultimate explanation [according to naturalism] of the constitution and general order of nature is that it is a work of pure chance.”

      Here, Stenmark forces to the surface one of the core religious/philosophical beliefs that underlies the atheist worldview: Natural or physical laws can be cited as the final explanation for things. But the problem with such a view is immediately clear: Where did these laws come from, and why these laws instead of entirely different laws? Theism and naturalism are competing philosophical/religious explanations for why these laws exist and why they are as they are. Naturalism (in which atheism is rooted) answers the two above questions with “they just are”. In other words, naturalism does not explain why a universe which does not have an intelligent source would be imbued with physical laws. If the universe is not the product of intelligence, what compels matter to so consistently follow physical laws (or “regularities,” or whatever term you prefer)?

      How can mindless matter be compelled to do anything, much less follow a law? Theism, conversely, answers the above questions by stating that laws are the result of a lawgiver (God). Moreover, theism asserts that matter is nothing more than a manifestation of consciousness (God’s consciousness), which is the view most compatible with modern physics, as I demonstrate in God Is Real…Why Modern Physics Has Discredited Atheism. Robert Boyle, the founder of modern chemistry, summarized the theistic explanation of why matter follows physical laws succinctly when he said: “The nature of this or that body is but the law of God prescribed to it [and] to speak properly, a law [is] but a notional rule of acting according to the declared will of a superior.”

      Or as James Joule, the propounder of the first law of thermodynamics, for whom the thermal unit of the “Joule” was named, put it: “It is evident that an acquaintance with natural laws means no less than an acquaintance with the mind of God therein expressed.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.