Beware of false atheist advertising!
100% natural! While walking the aisles of a local grocery store, one is likely to encounter this advertising claim a couple dozen times. And in most cases, the term is applied deceptively, as the savvy consumer with a habit of reading product labels knows. Similarly, many famous atheists are fond of suggesting that our universe is the result of natural causes, and therefore, God need not be cited as the cause for the universe. But the savvy consumer of books by atheist science popularizers should immediately recognize that it is absurd to cite natural causes for the origin of the natural universe. To do so would be every bit as ridiculous as citing human causes for the human race.
Physicist Lawrence Krauss’ provides a great example of such a deceptive atheist claim in his book A Universe From Nothing. In this book, Krauss claims that the universe popped into existence out of nothing, and therefore, we need not cite God as the cause for the universe. A 100% natural cause for the natural universe!
Why cite God as an explanation for the universe, he argues, when nothing can substitute for God as an explanation just perfectly? After all, Krauss suggests, particles pop into existence from nothing all the time, in what is known as a quantum vacuum. But, as David Albert (who holds a PhD in theoretical physics) points out in his scathing New York Times book review of Krauss’ book, claiming that particles pop into existence out of nothing in a quantum vacuum is equivalent to claiming that one can make their fist pop into existence out of nothing by closing one’s fingers together:
“Relativistic-quantum-field-theoretical vacuum states — no less than giraffes or refrigerators or solar systems — are particular arrangements of elementary physical stuff. The true relativistic-quantum-field-theoretical equivalent to there not being any physical stuff at all isn’t this or that particular arrangement of the fields — what it is (obviously, and ineluctably, and on the contrary) is the simple absence of the fields! The fact that some arrangements of fields happen to correspond to the existence of particles and some don’t is not a whit more mysterious than the fact that some of the possible arrangements of my fingers happen to correspond to the existence of a fist and some don’t. And the fact that particles can pop in and out of existence, over time, as those fields rearrange themselves, is not a whit more mysterious than the fact that fists can pop in and out of existence, over time, as my fingers rearrange themselves. And none of these poppings — if you look at them aright — amount to anything even remotely in the neighborhood of a creation from nothing.”
Like Krauss, physicist Stephen Hawking declares (in his book The Grand Design) that nothing is a perfectly reasonable substitute for God as the cause of the universe. But, also like Krauss, Hawking commits an open-and-shut equivocation fallacy by speaking of a quantum vacuum as if it were nothing. (An equivocation fallacy occurs when a person speaks of two different things as if they were the same). A quantum vacuum is far from nothing. William Lane Craig cites elite physicists Frank Tippler and John Barrow in the context of refuting claims made by the atheist physicist Quentin Smith, which are similar to the claims made by Krauss and Hawking:
“The microstructure of the quantum vacuum is a sea of continually forming and dissolving particles which borrow energy from the vacuum for their brief existence. A quantum vacuum is thus far from nothing, and vacuum fluctuations do not constitute an exception to the principle that whatever begins to exist has a cause.”
Read more: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/the-caused-beginning-of-the-universe-a-response-to-quentin-smith#ixzz4ritxrB3N
Please click here to watch Hawking’s colleague, the Oxford University physicist Sir Roger Penrose, describe Hawking’s M-Theory (featured Hawking’s book The Grand Design) as, “Not even a theory. It’s a collection of ideas, hopes, and aspirations.” In fact, Hawking titled his theory “M-Theory” because theories A through L failed to explain away God (just kidding).
As I mention in Is Belief in God Like Belief in Unicorns? , William Lane Craig points out Hawking and co-author Leonard Mlodinov’s painfully obvious equivocation fallacy in an interview about their book with TV talk show host 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. Again, a quantum vacuum can no more be characterized as nothing than a giraffe, a refrigerator, or solar system, as David Albert points out above. And a particle appearing in quantum vacuum no more constitutes something-from-nothing than a fist appearing when one closes one’s fingers together. Science popularizers who suggest otherwise are using false advertising, pure and simple.
The insurmountable problem for atheism is the FINITUDE of the past. Their centuries old denial of creation (an ultimate beginning) is now in ruins, ever since the Big bang theory proved the universe is not static or eternal. A few dissenters remain who are apparently still in denial, “An infinitely old universe would relieve us of the need to understand the origin of matter at any time in the finite past”. like Rob Dicke Princeton university.
Atheist cosmologists like Hawking and Krauss are trying to find a natural cause for what created nature, and thus absolving them of the need to examine a cause beyond the universe. Unfortunately as Alex Vilenkin said “cosmologists can no longer hide behind a past eternal universe. We must face the problem of a cosmic beginning”.
The atheist’s get-out-of-jail card is either a) claim “we dont know what was before the BB” or b) hypothesize about an infinite number of past BB/Big crunches / multiverses.
Premise (p1) For atheism to be true, a proponent must claim some form of matter/energy has existed eternally in the past. For if something is to exist now then some “thing” must have always existed. Existence cannot come from non existence, every thing canNOT come from NO thing (unless your name is Krauss)
p.2 The idea of an eternal past necessitates that there must have been an infinite regress of past finite physical events or states (a logical absurdity). Think of an infinitely long line of dominoes or rungs on a ladder. We could never reach the end of an infinitely long ladder ascending into the heavens (a potentially infinite future) or descend to an infinite past (an actual infinite). As Dave Hilbert observed ” The infinite is nowhere to be found in reality. It neither exists in nature nor provides a legitimate basis for rational thought. The role that remains for the infinite…is solely that of an idea…”
p3 All the laws of science are defined by mathematical equations that have a “T” time factor somewhere e.g. Force F = ma. Without time there is no force, no mass, no gravity, no anything. Nothing produces nothing because it does not exist.
c1 Since past time must be finite and matter/energy only exists in time, then there must have been a beginning or an instant when there was no matter, no time, no anything. (the idea of an infinite number of past multiverses also commits the infinite regress fallacy)
c2 Getting back to the reality that something exists now that didnt always exist, we must inevitably look for a cause beyond time, space and matter.
c3. Hawking’s version of creation is “the law of gravity created the universe out of nothing”. Given Newtonian physics and General Relativity I just wonder from p3 was it a) gravity, a law like gravity, or nothing that created everything b) how does gravity pre-exist matter to create matter c) how do laws stand in causal relationships with matter? When a ball moves according to the laws of motion we not only need a ball but someone to strike it.
c3 the only possible explanation that explains the beginning of all time matter and space, must logically be immaterial, atemporal (timeless), non contingent and uncaused.
c4, since a cause cannot give to its effect what it doesnt have to give, the cause of our rationally intelligible, abstract law-abiding, life-supporting “miraculous” universe must itself be incredibly intelligent, powerful and the source and creator of all metaphysical realities that define the physical realm.
c5 we are all creationists in that we have to explain ex nihilo creation. Some deniers who are committed to scientific materialism must do so within an irrational worldview that says “mindless matter is the only game in town” !!
The Big Bang shows this phase of the Universe started a finite amount of time ago, but it does not show this was an absolute beginning. Anyone who claims otherwise is confusing a model with the actual Universe. Yes, there are models and theorists that claim the Big Bang was ‘The Beginning of Everything TM’, but there are competing scientists and models that claim otherwise.
There’s no point in cherry-picking quotes, I can do that too, eg.: “I see your Vilenkin and raise you a Hawking!” However, Vilenkin himself often says on this topic, “Modern physics can describe the emergence of the universe as a physical process that does not require a cause.”, so doesn’t really help the theistic cause (http://inference-review.com/article/the-beginning-of-the-universe). The real work of cosmology is done, of course, in mathematics, so settling this issue cannot be done simply by finding opinions and quotes that suit our position. The true answer, at this point, is we simply don’t know if the Universe had a beginning, and if it did, that it’s even possible for there to be a cause, much less that it was a God (never mind any specific God.)
In your argument you make several unsupported and contradictory (to certain religious doctrines) assumptions: that matter/energy cannot exist in a timeless state, that an infinite succession of Universes is fallacious, that the infinite cannot exist in reality, that only an intelligence can give rise to intelligence, that the Universe is intelligible, that there are other realms apart from the physical, that there can have been ‘an instant’ when there was no time, that minds can arise from anything aside from matter etc.
A few points:
1. If the ‘infinite’ is impossible in reality then your God is impossible, as it’s described as the quintessential ‘infinite being’. Neither can heaven nor hell exist, nor eternity, nor any ‘infinite state of being’.
2. Unless you describe sperm and egg cells (also perhaps seeds from plants) as ‘intelligent’, your argument that intelligence only comes from intelligence quickly comes unstuck.
3. If, on your view, the Universe is intelligible and came from ‘nothing’, with a personal God’s help, why aren’t we clear on which of the thousands of proposed Gods actually did it? How did a God use this ‘nothing’ to create the Universe? Why is there a God rather than nothingness?
4. Are you aware that proposing realms outside of the physical nixes the concept of omniscience?
The problem, as I see it, is that you’re starting with an assumption, that your particular God exists, then looking for facts that appear to support that position. That’s why you only seem to notice the science that seems compatible with something from the Bible, and discard the rest as some kind of atheist conspiracy (I suppose). If that’s not the case, I really can’t see how you got there, since the arguments you provided are self-defeating, and the evidence doesn’t say what you claim it does. For example, a quick Google search would show you, I, and anyone else reading this that we still have no definitive answer to the question: did the Universe have a definite beginning. To say the opposite is breaking one of the ten commandments. Since they never ‘existed’ outside the minds and writings of humans though, I think you’ll be safe, but still wrong nonetheless.
I honestly don’t think you are interested in understanding what Mr. Denaro or Mr. Youngren point. Neither do I think that you are interested in understanding Christianity before you criticize it. While I’m not a physicist, Mr. Youngren’s main point in this article is to point that NOTHING can produce anything. It would be absurd to hear a noise in your backyard and say it was nothing. Rather, you’ll go and find out what caused the noise. Quantum mechanics has shown us that there are many things that lie outside of space and time. This is not really NOTHING. Something coming out of complete NOTHING will violate all conservation laws of science. The conservation of matter/energy, electric charge and so on are all connected to the conservation laws of science. You cannot have a beginning and still talk something before the beginning unless your concept is restricted in some way.
You accuse Mr. Denaro of cherry picking while in the academic world, citing an expert in a certain field is one way of engaging in debates or to dispute their hypothesis etc. Accusing someone of cherry picking is attacking the person instead of the argument which we refer to as the ad hominem fallacy. Mr. Denaro’s comment as well as Mr. Youngren’s points do not mention any God so by trying to show that the argument is in support of any God is a straw man fallacy on your end. You need to stop saying ‘your God is impossible’.
By mentioning the thousands of proposed God, this is a very clever way to mask your argument by showing its neutral. Dr. Timothy Keller once explained that you cannot doubt in belief A without a position of faith in belief B. This is to show that everyone (including atheists) need a worldview to interpret reality.
Dr. Alister Mcgrath explained it so well when criticizing Dr. John Hick’s pluralism ‘Newbigin brings out with clarity the arrogance of the liberal claim to be able to see all the religions from the standpoint of one who sees the full truth. The liberal pluralist is the king; the unfortunate evangelical is the blindfolded beggar. Or so the pluralist would have us believe. Perhaps a more responsible – and considerably less arrogant – approach would be to suggest that we are all, pluralists included, blind beggars, to whom God graciously makes himself known.’
Dr. Mcgrath finally nails it ‘But what framework is to be used for understanding the religions? Elephants have limited potential in this respect. John Hick and Wilfrid Cantwell Smith object to interpreting both the place and the contents of other religious traditions from a Christian point of view. But they seem to miss the point that they have to be interpreted from some interpretative standpoint – and if they have excluded, as a matter of principle, a specifically Christian viewpoint, they are obliged to adopt one which, by definition, is non-Christian. Further, Hick appears to labour under the misunderstanding that where Christian frameworks are biased, those of liberalism are neutral and disinterested. Yet one of the more significant developments within the recent sociology of knowledge has been the realization that there is no neutral point from which a religion or culture may be evaluated; all vantage points imply a valuation. Hick and Cantwell Smith naively assume that their liberal pluralist approach is ‘detached’ or ‘objective’, whereas it is actually nothing of the sort.’.
With that cleared, in response to point 3, why is unintelligent processes the best option rather an intelligent mind behind this creation? Don’t pretend that this is a scientific rational view. Its better refered to as atheistic scientistic (not scientific) point of view.
Welcome back Mr. Youngren, its good to see your still around. I was wondering why you haven’t written after a year. After a year of thinking about this, I’ve changed my mind.
Your arguments are a complete non sequitur. We are arguing TO an immaterial uncaused cause/Creator from science, NOT the reverse. Your “god of the gaps” and “which god” are irrelevant to the explanation for the most plausible evidence we do find. The oft’ quoted schoolboy rhetoric “If God is eternal , why cant the universe be!” is a total category error. Still avoiding the impossibility of an infinite regress for past time and hence ex nihilo creation, I see.
Have you ever taken the time to seriously consider why the world is not convinced that your Christian God is the final solution, the end of the story or the final outcome?
If you believe God created us with a free will you should therefore be ecstatic that humans are using their free will to advance human progress, after all is it not God’s gift? Hang on, is the free will only to test us for God’s entertainment, is he only wanting us to decide between good and bad or to decide who we worship? Are we thinking too much for God, are we treading on dangerous ground and stepping over the line and how dare we even consider another creator or eliminate him from the creation story altogether?
Human progress is due to science and no amount of religious diatribe could ever prevent great thinkers such as Hawking, Krauss and many others speculating, writing books and debating on the beginnings of the universe and life. None of them claim they are 100% correct in what they say and will adapt their ideas as new evidence comes to light. Even the rare religious scientists follow this rule because they are scientists first and until religious individuals understand that they do not and cannot know 100% of how everything happened due to their respective scriptures they should put up undeniable evidence to support their definitive claims or just shut up.
” Human progress is due to science” in part it is; but it only began in earnest in the west because all the pioneering scientists were Christian They expected law in nature, because they believed in a Law Giver. Moreover >51% of scientists according to the Pew research are still believers today. Perhaps youve forgotten that western democracy was founded on the Christian worldview also?
Scientists shouldnt invent explanations like Francis Crick about the origins of life when they dont have a clue. He said “Life did not evolve first on Earth; a highly advanced civilization became threatened so they devised a way to pass on their existence.” And recently we have the very arrogant Krauss saying on TV “if you want to see what Martians look like, go look in the mirror”. Really?
Perhaps he should stick to physics where he apparently knows something.
Now, would you like to actually get back on topic and explain the dishonesty of Hawking and Krauss’ versions of creation from”nothing”? Then provide a facts-based rebuttal of my argument that the finitude of the past proves beyond any scientific materialistic ‘philosophy’ that a) nothing must have once existed b) that the cause must be outside of time, space and matter.
“Some people believe whatever they want, not on the basis of evidence but what they find attractive.” Blase Pascal
Speaking of false advertising
Australians are about to vote on “marriage’ equality’. There was a claim on a TV news bulletin that a poster contained obscene claims that were insulting and defamatory to the gay population. It turns out that the poster was first cited on social media, cut and pasted from an overseas source. Someone thought it a good strategy to defame the ‘no’ case by claiming that the poster was put up in some lane in the backstreet of a major city.
When a news crew couldnt find the poster it went ahead and reported it anyway. It was all based on a lie.
Also in an advertisement supporting traditional marriage, the women who spoke were identified on social media and subsequently vilified in many of the comments that followed. For anyone who thinks the the gay agenda is actually about marriage or equality i suggest viewing a youtube video “What ‘gay marriage’ did to Massachusetts”
The false advertising here is on the part of theists, claiming they have an answer when they really don’t. I agree it’s illogical to say that something can come from nothing, or that the quantum vacuum is actually ‘nothing’. Most theists are quick to point out the absurdity of God creating a rock so heavy he can’t lift it, correctly in my view. What about creating an entire Universe ‘from nothing’ then?! Did God actually create the Universe from preexisting stuff? If not, what exactly did God do to this ‘nothing’ to make everything? See the problem there?
It gets worse the further we investigate. Assuming God is the real origin of the Universe, why is there a God rather than nothingness? If God created everything, including all the species on the planet, why did 5 billion species go extinct? Why allow for thousands of different religions? Now, I know the actual answer to these questions, it’s staring us in the face. We might not like the true answers, but that’s life. The Universe is how it is whether we like it or not.
One of the facts in the Universe is that, at present, we don’t know if the Big Bang was actually the beginning or not. I know you can provide quotes claiming we know, but in reality we don’t have quantum gravity down yet. I could easily go and trawl for quotes contradicting yours, but the real arguments are mathematical in nature, and consist of models in any case, not absolute facts. If we did know the Big Bang was really the beginning, which we definitely don’t, that wouldn’t tell us that your or anyone else’s God caused it. That’s purely wishful thinking, God-of-the-gaps thinking at its finest. I believe ‘nothing’ has never existed, and that the matter/energy existed in a timeless, eternal state prior to the Big Bang. I can’t prove it, it’s just my belief. My justification is the law of conservation of energy, and the fact that we currently observe matter/energy. If you wish your God hypothesis to be taken seriously, you have all the legwork ahead of you to try to explain how he did it using ‘nothing’.
Oh dear, the lack of logic here knows no bounds.
So “I’d rather believe on blind faith in an eternal physical realm and thus an infinite regress of states of matter/energy than believe in an absolute beginning to all time,space and matter. I’d prefer to believe in nothingness than believe God exists. I have no idea where it came from or how natural laws like gravity could create anything least of all, nature. But I do know an immaterial, atemporal reality called God couldnt do it.
‘So where did a quantum vacuum come from’, some might ask? Aarrhh, gulp! ‘They came from the laws of quantum mechanics’ And where did abstract laws come from and how do such immutable abstract realities stand in causal relationships with physical states? ‘Well they just are, and they just do. So prove me wrong!’
We’re told the universe is defined by immaterial laws which are written in the language of advanced mathematics but ‘these real arguments are just models not actual facts’, in my view. All abstract scientific laws, logic and mathematics were NOT discovered, they were merely invented by our brain chemistry.
In case there are none, I’d rather not trawl for citations that might support my own questionable worldview or contradict the scientific consensus that the universe had an absolute beginning. The fact that I’m here and live on a life-supporting planet refutes any assertion that the whole universe could be designed or fine-tuned for me.
And lastly we deniers, have no beliefs, we dont have to prove anything, because we make no claims. You then ask why I’m here, wasting my ever diminishing existence? Well I’m just trying to prove to myself, we atheists have nothing to prove. On one hand, I would hate to think my nanocosmic life has meaning, hope or destiny. The thought of dying hugging or mugging, a Gandhi or a Goering however, is meaningless, since we’re all just future worm food, (I hope).
CS Lewis, “there is enough light for those who wish to see and enough darkness to blind those who dont.”
Gerry, there is no scientific consensus that the Universe had an absolute beginning. If so, prove it! I do have access to Google, as does anyone reading this, so they can check for themselves that you are providing false information. I also didn’t say there was an infinite regress of states either. Read what I actually said and try attacking that for a change.
As regards what I wish for, it has no bearing whatsoever on the nature of reality, it’s totally irrelevant. Likewise, just wishing for there to be a God doesn’t make it so. As as I earlier, you think you have an explanation but you really don’t, just a bunch of unsupported assertions and special pleading:
– God can be eternal in the past (but the energy in the Universe cannot?!)
– Nothing can come from nothing (except when there’s a God involved!)
– Science has to explain how precisely the Universe began (or ‘God did it’ wins!)
Can you not see how absurd those arguments are?
“Gerry, there is no scientific consensus that the Universe had an absolute beginning. If so, prove it! I do have access to Google”.
Then for God’s sake, use it. You mightnt make so many absurd comments.
Gerry, you’re wrong and you know it. That’s why you didn’t even attempt to refute my point about scientific consensus. I’ve actually studied astrophysics at University level, have you?
You also did not attempt to rebut any of my points about your absurd statements. We both know that’s because there is no supporting them. Close your eyes though and my points will just disappear, so you can keep believing whatever you like in spite of reality.
I’ve read many of your posts and it is clear that:
1) The only thing you know for certain is that God couldn’t have created the universe. Every other response from you is ‘we don’t know’.
2) You have a completely closed mind. You’re not the least bit interested in any view other than ‘it is a natural cause’. This is abundantly clear from how each of your posts are phrased.
3) Your logic is atrocious – full of non-sequiturs, ad hominem and appeals to authority.
4) You constantly avoid the topic in discussion to prattle on about something else entirely.
You are here at this site for every post because you KNOW in your being that there is a God. I hope against hope that you would break down your intelligence block and actually read what Mr. Youngren actually writes. It could be life changing.
1. A God that doesn’t exist can’t have created the Universe, that’s for certain. I have evidence that says the Christian God does not exist, and I think that’s important to mention, don’t you?
2. Wrong. My mind is open to evidence, and decent arguments based on evidence. Have you got any to share? Are you sure I can be simultaneously claiming ‘we don’t know’ and the cause was ‘natural’? You’re contradicting yourself there. I think if you read carefully you’ll see I mention the Universe may have no cause. Sound absurd to you? Well, does God have a cause?
3. Prove it. Show some examples.
4. See 3.
I’m here because I’m pretty certain that the Christian God is a fiction just like all the others. If it was real, any one of you true Christians could pray, rather than offer arguments and your God could reveal himself to me in such a way that I’d be certain of his existence. I think it’s you who are in denial and are looking for ways to bolster a flagging, illogical, faith-based belief that you know full well for what it is.
1) Where is your evidence? You haven’t actually shown any evidence that Christianity is false.
2) Do you even read what you post? You’re a child that can’t even see his own contradictions. “There was a Big Bang but that doesn’t mean it was the beginning.” (that’s from you in this thread) Sophistry. And then you compound it with “Does God have a cause?” Do you even understand the definition of God?
3) The majority of your posts on this site, especially on this thread.
4) Again, do you even read what you post? Every one else reading this can see it.
This is typical uneducated rant to compare Christianity to all other religions (I don’t believe in God so every religion is just as likely). Anyone that has actually studied religions can tell there is very little in common between them. Which ones say they are divine? Which ones could be proven wrong? Which one has God come to Earth? However, YOU, like everyone else, has yet to show any evidence that Christianity is false (and people orders of magnitude smarter than you have tried for centuries).
You clearly don’t understand prayer (and don’t want to either). When you pray, you pray for God’s will. It’s not about my will (and not about yours either).
You’re the one who doesn’t believe the miracles you already see every day. You’ve made your choice. Why are you trying to drag others down with you? You want a personal sign when you ignore all the signs clearly evident. Sad.
Of course, the Bible spoke clearly about you – something about swine and pearls.
As to scientists ‘natural’ attempts to explain the origin of nature (universe) and life (from alien seeding) in the finite past, Scientist Sir Peter B. Medawar, Nobel laureate has a word of advice: “I cannot give any scientist of any age better advice than this: the intensity of the conviction that a hypothesis is true has no bearing on whether it is true or not.” Medawar adds, “There is no quicker way for a scientist to bring discredit upon himself and on his profession than roundly to declare — particularly when no declaration of any kind is called for — that science knows or soon will know the answers to all questions worth asking, and that the questions that do not admit a scientific answer are in some way non-questions or pseudo-questions that only simpletons ask and only the gullible profess to be able to answer.” ‘The human mind treats a new idea the way the body treats a strange protein; it rejects it.’
Nice to see you’ve had a road to Damascus experience. Life is so much more meaningful when you realise, youre not just an unlikely purposeless “collocation of atoms” or “a bunch of selfish genes”. The absurdity of an atheists’ worldview which is essentially defined by scientific materialism, is that it fails to explain what defines our basis human nature, our every desire and human flourishing – What is in our hearts is non quantifiable – wisdom, truth, love, joy, hope, destiny, purpose, compassion, tolerance, morality, art, music. Why is it so? There are many questions beyond science, not least why there is something rather than nothing:
“There is no quicker way for a scientist to bring discredit upon himself and on his profession than roundly to declare — particularly when no declaration of any kind is called for — that science knows or soon will know the answers to all questions worth asking, and that the questions that do not admit a scientific answer are in some way non-questions or pseudo-questions that only simpletons ask and only the gullible profess to be able to answer.” ― Peter Medawar scientist and Nobel Laureate