Due to my growth & multiple changes in my worldview over the years, this post is considered “archived” and is offered here for historical purposes only. Opinions offered above may not necessarily reflect my current beliefs, though you're still more than welcome to participate in the comments, discussing anything from the post. Thank you for understanding.
Two days ago, i posted to Facebook a message pointing out the stupidity (no login required) evidenced by the practice of tebowing, a practice which not only violates Jesus’ teaching regarding private prayer (a teaching which by itself reveals the disregard most Christians have for not only the Bible, but the words accredited to their lord) but which also assumes that an omnipotent, omniscient being who “is love” cares a wit about sports, all the while practically ignoring the plight of countless millions throughout the world who are starving, terminally ill, homeless, or otherwise destitute.
A school chum of mine, Zachary Bulmer, jumped into the discussion, which quickly evolved into a discussion concerning atheism vs. theism and which best applies to the so-called beginning of the universe.
Facebook is hardly suited to composing organized, lengthy messages, so i’m posting my reply to Zachary’s latest message here at BrazenlyAtheist. All block-quoted quotations belong to Zachary, and nothing has been edited, added, removed, or rearranged.
It’ not a fallacy at all. You have two choices, either the universe is eternal and doesn’t require a creator or God is eternal and doesn’t require a creator.
Yes, that is a fallacy, particularly a false dilemma: just because you can’t explain why the universe is eternal doesn’t mean there must be a God that is. Instead, it simply means that, well, you can’t explain why the universe is eternal. To put it in the terms of the Internet: “The beginning of the universe? You can’t explain that!”
Since Einstein’s theory of General Relativity has already proved a beginning in which he also admitted to and has been observed to be accurate, then you’re only left with an eternal God, what other explanation would you suggest?
I don’t think it’s accurate at all to say that the universe has a beginning. No, you’re thinking too, well, biblically. There was no “in the beginning,” not in the sense that there was a time when there was nothing before.
In fact, what may have come before the Big Bang, while still uncertain, is the subject of much research by real scientists, those who are not content to stop at the Big Bang with the concession that “God did it.” Here is just one such suggestion.. I implore you, Zach, to keep looking for answers; don’t be content to fall back on “for the Bible told me so” when there is still so much to learn about the universe that the ancients could have never imagined.
Now, The LAW of Thermodynamics still proves the universe is not eternal, this isn’t a theory, it’s a law.
Of course, laws and theories are different. That’s all well and good. However, you misunderstand laws. A scientific law is “an empirical generalization; a statement of a biological principle that appears to be without exception at the time it is made, and has become consolidated by repeated successful testing.”
Keep in mind, then, that the laws of thermodynamics were determined decades before relativity, string theory, quantum theory, and all the other exotic theories of the 20th century. While the laws may work fine in our everyday life, they may not apply at all (or may apply very differently) to the quantum physics present “in the beginning,” so to speak.
Gravity, as you’ve mentioned, doesn’t renew energy, which is what the universe is running out of, nor can you produce more energy from energy that has already been expended, hence the first law of thermodynamics.
Actually, you can. As gravity compresses the universe, an enormous amount of heat (energy) would be generated. We see this on a small scale on the moon Io, which due to tidal pressures, is heated by friction.
Also, so long as there is matter in the universe, there is potential for energy. As Einstein showed, energy & matter are interchangeable; indeed, you get a lot of energy from just a small amount of mass. You may be familiar with the equation for such conversion: E=mc^2.
I am not opposed to natural explanations for many situations, but if you’re a believer in God then you also believe he also created nature so in essence even a natural explanation still has the hand of God in the process.
As long as you keep such things relegated to the realm of belief, i have no problem with it. As soon as you start trying to move such ideas into the realm of scientific knowledge, then you must have evidence. Faith doesn’t require knowledge (lest it would be “knowledge” without qualification).
As for Neil Tyson, I agree all views should be examined. However, if all views have been explored and the evidence is pointing to nothing more than a divine creator and that doesn’t satisfy his own view then he would be no better than the other guy that believes in a divine solution.
No pure scientific theory, experiment, process, or anything else has ever pointed toward a creator. Such an idea is simply unnecessary. You keep claiming there are reputable scientists who have made scientific advances or whatever to the contrary, but other than the jokes that work for creation ministries, well, i’m not sure who those scientists might be. (Yes, Einstein did mention “God,” but it was not the God of the Bible, so if you want to use Einstein’s beliefs as support for yours, then shouldn’t you adjust your view of God to his? After all, Christians don’t appeal to Muslim apologists, so why appeal to Einstein? Is it because Einstein is simply hard to argue with?)
Now, if you’re refuting General Relativity and the Law of Thermodynamics, which are both observable and good science that still hold true today, then that seems a little arrogant.
I’m not. Rather, i’m refuting your misunderstanding of them as well as your understanding of science. As a small diversion, look up the word “science.” It’s from a Latin word: scientia. This word means “knowledge.”
No go to your Bible and look at all of its insistence upon faith. Faith is “belief that does not rest upon logical proof or material evidence”. If there was evidence for God, the writer of Hebrew would not have had to say that “faith” is the evidence.
It has been said that if Jesus Christ were a real, historic individual, apologists wouldn’t exist. Real, credible historians would readily accept the existence of the man. Likewise, if God had a role in the origins of the universe, creation ministries wouldn’t exist; real, credible scientists would be the churches’ best friends, affirming the involvement of their deity.
I have yet to see an Atheistic view with such convincing science that can be observed. Rather, I’ve seen Atheistic views looking for genuine loopholes in a Theistic universe.
The problem with assuming that some sort of god was involved in the origins of the universe is that there is no way to know which god that was. What about the so-called “evidence” points you to the Christian God? It would seem if we’re just assuming a god did something at some point in some vague, unprovable way, then that god could be Jehovah, Allah, or any of thousands of other creator gods.
Luckily, rationality prevails, and a growing number of people are accepting that there is no evidence for any sort of deity. Again, if science supported it, God (whatever his/her/its name is) would be all over the peer-reviewed scientific journals.
So here’s the scientific process, Combine General Relativity with Thermodynamics and top it off with over 100 Anthropic Constants and you have some of the most convincing evidence that anyone could ask for,
That isn’t a scientific process; what that is is simply mixing & matching areas of science you misunderstand into supporting your beliefs, clinging to anthropic principles (while ignoring the greater number of things in the universe antagonistic toward life).
however, the rabbit hole does go deeper. If you can look at that evidence and not at least be agnostic about the whole thing then you’re simply willfully blind.
No, i am willfully atheist. Willfully blind is looking at the Bible and believing it to be a good thing, when it’s really, really not.
Again I ask, what is it that you believe in? I encourage you to use the same principles that I’ve used when exploring my faith, truth in observation, probability, and good science.
I believe in rationality: that the only way we have to understand the universe is through our senses, and that the scientific method is our best tool for doing so.
The “god hypothesis” is no more rational than the “invisible pink unicorn hypothesis,” neither one of which can ever be any more than simply a guess made in faith. Until God allows himself to be observed under controlled scientific circumstances, there is no reason to believe he exists. (However, accepting God as true does open the door for a “fun” universe, as the same evidence for God can be used for Big Foot, alien abductions, ghosts, and all sorts of other non-scientific hoopla.)
I’ll concede that there is a lot we don’t know (and perhaps never will know) about our universe (and the potentially other universes which may exist), but the simple truth of the matter is that the more we do learn about the universe, the less relevant holy texts such as the Bible, Koran, or the Book of Mormon become.
Zachary has made repeated claims that reputable scientists accept that the general theory of relativity, when combined with the second law of thermodynamics, means that there must be a creator. I’m not really sure who these scientists are or what their expertise is in or even what evidence supports their claims in a creator, so if any one out there can help me out with that, i’d definitely appreciate it. (Anyone caught sharing links to Answers in Genesis or other creation “science” ministries will be interpreted as being a troll, and i’ll laugh along with your obvious jocularity.)