Atheism or Theism: Which Fits “the Beginning” Better?

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.

Bill O'Reilly says that you can't explain thatYes, 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.)

2 thoughts on “Atheism or Theism: Which Fits “the Beginning” Better?”

  1. Note: Zach emailed me his response in Word format; i’ve converted it to HTML and posted it here on his behalf. —Rick

    In response to Rick Beckman’s post on Atheism or Theism:

    To begin, allow me to reiterate the principles of my belief.  Truth in observation, probability, and good science.

    With that being said, let us start at the beginning.  During my discussions with Rick I explained to him that I was in a time in my life where I was questioning my faith, I had so many unanswered questions and thought I was smarter than religion.  I was at a point where you could consider me Agnostic and I was open to any view that might answer my questions and with an objective view of both Atheism and Theism and I was shocked by the information I found.  All of the information I found was outside of any Biblical reference, by reputable scientist, and good science.  In an exhaustive attempt to convince Rick of the possibility of a divine creator I will conclude this debate with this response.

    In an earlier post Rick asked for me to show him proof that God exist, in turn, I asked him to show me the evidence or proof that shows that God doesn’t exist.  Rick didn’t think this was a fair question seems how God is “unfalsifiable.”  However, I think the question is more valid that he gives it credit.  After all, Rick must have seen or read something that convinced him that God doesn’t exist, this in fact could be his evidence.  I’ve shown my evidence that holds true to my principles, now I’d like to see his.

    In fact, if God is so “unfalsifiable” then wouldn’t that suggest at least the possibility of a God?  Instead, Rick is being completely close minded and won’t even except that as a plausible explanation.  Not being objective results in bad science.

    Now, remember my principles.

    Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, a theory that has now proven accurate to five decimal places, has in fact shown that the universe had a beginning.  In 1927 it was observed by astronomer Edwin Hubble and in 1929 by Einstein himself by looking through a 100-inch telescope that every observable galaxy was moving away from us.  In essence, if you were to rewind the history of the entire universe you would see the universe collapse on itself to a point of no time, no space, no matter.  Einstein was then quoted as saying he wanted “to know how God created the world.  I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element.  I want to know His thought, the rest are details.”  It’s official, General Relativity had been confirmed with observation and good science.

    Me: “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.”

    Rick later wrote:

    Rick: “I don’t think it’s accurate at all to say the universe has a beginning.  No, you’re thinking too, well, biblically.”

    Really?  You’re challenging Einstein’s theory? Are there any biblical references in General Relativity?  Did I misunderstand what Einstein said?  You’re refuting a visual confirmation of good science by one of the greatest minds of our time?  That’s not rational at all.

    Rick also wrote:

    Rick: “I’m not.  Rather, I’m refuting your misunderstanding of them as well as your understanding of science.”

    While the definition of science may be “knowledge”, science is also a study of observations.  Would Einstein’s theory have held any weight if it couldn’t have been observed? Sure, but it would still be a theory.  Witnessing that theory made it undeniably true.  A theory without any observable quality makes it nothing more than…a theory, a conjecture, a hypothetical possibility.

    Now the possibility still remained that the universe was in an eternal process of collapsing and exploding known as the Cosmic Rebound Theory or as Rick likes to call it the Cyclic Model.  However, these theories are stuck toe-to-toe with the Laws of Thermodynamics, another example of good science that’s also observable and measurable.

    Rick: “Of course, laws and theories are different…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.”

    Then what is a theory? “a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural and subject to experimentation, in contrast to well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact.”  Synonyms: hypothetical.

    I don’t base my faith on hypothetical situations.  Show me the observable while using good science, then I’ll determine if your theory is probable.  While I encourage the ongoing effort to understand the origins of the universe and mankind, the evidence at the moment has given the overwhelming majority of reason and rationality to Theist.

    Me: “It’s 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.”

    Rick: “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.”

    Rick has also misinterpreted what I said.  In a previous post I said, “the probability that SOMEONE created something out of nothing is more probable than NOTHING created something out of nothing.”  I think that’s reasonable.  Additionally, just because you can’t explain why the universe isn’t eternal doesn’t mean a God MUST NOT exist.

    Do I agree that there’s also the possibility that a God doesn’t exist? Yes.  But when you look at the undeniable evidence of the Theory of General Relativity, the Laws of Thermodynamics, over 100 Anthropic Constants, NASA’s WMPA satellite research, Geological evidence, the list goes on, you’d have to be willfully blind to ignore them.  I have yet to see or hear an Atheistic view that carries so much weight.

    Scientific theory, experiment, and process all have pointed to a creator.  In fact the evidence is so prominent, that Darwinists have admitted to being bias during their observations.  Here is a small part of a written confession from Darwinist Richard Lewontin… “We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment to materialism.”

    Me: “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.”

    Rick: “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.”

    However, you’re not creating new energy out of nothing.  You’re agitating pre-existing energy, or agitating existing molecules.  What the Cyclic Model or Rebound Theory doesn’t explain is how you get those molecules to begin with.  Again, creating something out of nothing.  In order for the Cyclic Model to be possible you would still have to have a divine creator.

    What if the Big Bang Theory is wrong? Would that mean that the universe is eternal?  No, and here’s why.

    First, the Second Law of Thermodynamics supports the Big Bang but is not dependent on it.  The fact that the universe is running out of usable energy and heading for disorder is not even up for debate.  It’s been said that the Second Law “ holds the supreme position among the laws of nature.”  It is true even if the Big Bang is not.

    Second, the same can be said for Einstein’s theory.  This theory requires a beginning to space, matter, and time whether or not it all began with a bang.

    Third, geological evidence shows that the universe had a beginning.  For example, radioactive uranium eventually turns to lead.  This means that if all uranium atoms were infinitely old, they would all be lead by now.

    Rick: “…Faith doesn’t require knowledge…”

    Perhaps I should be offended at such an assumption that faith and religion requires no knowledge.  It’s insulting to any person who has truly explored science objectively in search of the truth.  However, I’ve proved that to be inaccurate as well.  As a matter of fact, both Theist and Atheist have a level of faith.

    First, let’s make it clear that neither Theist nor Atheist have all the answers to life.  They each have a certain amount of knowledge about how it all began or if it began.  However, there are gaps in the knowledge of each.  In those gaps, Theist and Atheist fill it with their own faith.  Atheists fill it with the faith that they are correct and Theists do the same.

    Let me also point out that you as an Atheist must also have some sort of evidence to support your claims, in which there are none.  Whereas I have more than enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a God exists.

    Rick: “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, improvable way, then that God could be Jehovah, Allah, or an of thousands of other creator Gods.”

    This question seemed a little off topic but I’ll humor it anyway.  The evidence doesn’t point me to a Christian God, it points me toward a Theistic God.  Seems how the Christian view accepts a Theistic God, I then accept the Christian view.  A Polytheistic view doesn’t make sense, namely if one “God” lacks something that the other one has, then the lacking being is not infinite because an infinite being, by definition, lacks nothing.

    Rick: “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.”

    Take note, I did not mention one Bible verse or make one Bible reference with this evidence.  Rethink your rationality.

    To conclude, I’ve given substantial observable evidence that the universe is not eternal and probably has a divine creator/God.  For a man that claims rationality as his belief, it seems rather irrational to believe in a theory or conjecture that has no observable quality or evidence to back it.  Rick asks for proof of God but in turn does not require proof of his own belief.  Perhaps it’s the free-thinking, outside-of-the-box, refusal to follow the status quo that Richard really believes in because rationally this evidence would overwhelm anyone with an objective view.

    I’ll leave you with a couple quotes and food for thought,

    “Only a rookie who knows nothing about science would say science takes away from faith.  If you really study science, it will bring you closer to God.”  -James Tour, Nanoscientist.

    “For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream.  He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.” –Robert Jastrow

    Stephen Hawking, when in an effort to avoid an absolute beginning of the universe he made up a theory that utilizes “imaginary time”.  Hawking himself admits that his theory is “just a metaphysical proposal” that cannot explain what happened in real time.  “In real time,” he concedes, “the universe has a beginning…”  So by his own admission his theory fails when applied to the real world.

    And finally, a question that we may not have considered… “If there is no God, why is there something rather than nothing?”

    1. In an earlier post Rick asked for me to show him proof that God exist, in turn, I asked him to show me the evidence or proof that shows that God doesn’t exist. Rick didn’t think this was a fair question seems how God is “unfalsifiable.” However, I think the question is more valid that he gives it credit. After all, Rick must have seen or read something that convinced him that God doesn’t exist, this in fact could be his evidence. I’ve shown my evidence that holds true to my principles, now I’d like to see his.

      I still maintain that asking for proof that God doesn’t exist is an unfair, unanswerable question. Asking for proof that something isn’t real — if, indeed, that something is unfalsifiable (i.e., outside the realms of possible testing) — is a futile endeavor. Rather, it is he who makes a claim to something’s existence who must furnish proof.

      My “evidence” that God doesn’t exist is anything but. Rather, what i have is evidence for abandoning belief in God. Unfortunately, i didn’t write down nearly as much as i should have been when i started earnestly, critically analyzing my beliefs; however, the following are among my reasons for disbelieving God (primarily the Christian God, which makes sense, as he was the only one i believed in and so was the only one i ceased believing in by becoming an atheist):

      The God of the Bible is a tyrant.

      The God of the Bible does nothing to prevent rapes, murders, etc.; indeed, the Bible records that he commands such things.

      The God of the Bible is pretty danged inconsistent. For instance, in one breath he may be advocating reliance upon God’s word rather than food to sustain a man; in the next, he throws a hunger tantrum.

      The God of the Bible is lazy. The Bible makes a lot of claims about him, but despite nearly a billion Christians of all stripes praying for all manner of things, the only prayers that go answered are ones that are just as well explained by coincidence and the like.

      The God of the Bible offers no proof that he exists. None. Why should i waste any effort believing in something i can’t verify in the slightest beyond the logically circular “taking the Bible’s word for it”?

      In fact, if God is so “unfalsifiable” then wouldn’t that suggest at least the possibility of a God? Instead, Rick is being completely close minded and won’t even except that as a plausible explanation. Not being objective results in bad science.

      You should probably understand first that falsifiability is a very important aspect of science. If something is unfalsifiable, science can’t touch it. God is not falsifiable; therefore, science can neither prove nor disprove that he exists. The same holds true for invisible pink unicorns, Allah, and any number of other magical creatures.

      Really? You’re challenging Einstein’s theory? Are there any biblical references in General Relativity? Did I misunderstand what Einstein said? You’re refuting a visual confirmation of good science by one of the greatest minds of our time? That’s not rational at all.

      Your entire worldview seems based on the idea that there is nothing before the Big Bang, that the singularity Einstein talked about is the end-all, be-all. In other words, you’re ignoring decades of research. Referring to the Big Bang as “the beginning” is merely shorthand, referring to a time when the matter & energy of our universe exploded forth & began to take shape. (Note that this flies in the face of the stories in the Bible, which reputable Bible scholars throughout history have affirmed should be taken literally.) What that does not mean is that nothing at all happened before the Big Bang. Modern cosmology offers many fascinating possibilities, none of which require an unfalsifiable deity.

      While the definition of science may be “knowledge”, science is also a study of observations. Would Einstein’s theory have held any weight if it couldn’t have been observed? Sure, but it would still be a theory. Witnessing that theory made it undeniably true. A theory without any observable quality makes it nothing more than…a theory, a conjecture, a hypothetical possibility.

      Here you fall into the typical Christian apologist understanding of science: “just a theory,” as if a theory were something we can just toss away.

      The way science works is that you begin with a problem or question, you form a hypothesis (or guess) as to what you may find out, you perform experiments to test your ideas, and once you have observed what takes place, you can formulate a theory explaining the phenomena. Other scientists repeat the experiments, and the acceptance of the theory is either accepted by the scientific community or it is proven false, throwing the experiments back to the stage of hypothesis.

      But within scientific circles, theories are fact (until proven false). This is why “Einstein’s general theory of relativity” is still “theory.” Newton’s “theory of gravity” is still theory. The theory of electromagnetism. The theory of evolution.

      All of it has been repeatedly verified and is accepted as fact, but they are all “just theories.”

      Regarding what i said about “science” meaning “knowledge,” i had the scientific method in mind: knowledge is attained via experiment and is described by theories.

      Now the possibility still remained that the universe was in an eternal process of collapsing and exploding known as the Cosmic Rebound Theory or as Rick likes to call it the Cyclic Model. However, these theories are stuck toe-to-toe with the Laws of Thermodynamics, another example of good science that’s also observable and measurable.

      The “cyclic model” is what it’s called; it’s not what i “like to call it.” Also, given that the universe is accelerating (not just expanding), it’s highly unlikely that the cyclic model is an accurate description of the universe. So long as dark energy is pushing the galaxies apart, we don’t have to worry about an eventual “Big Crunch.”

      The laws of thermodynamics also don’t preclude the possibility that particles could instantly order themselves, reducing entropy. It’s within the realm of possibility that the particles of air in your room could instantly order themselves in a neat array in the corner of your room, suffocating you. Entropy tends to increase, but the possibility of it decreasing exists (and given enough time, eventually all possibilities will be attained, suffocating you if you were to live long enough to witness it). More information on how entropy comes into play in the workings of time & “beginnings.”

      Then what is a theory? “a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural and subject to experimentation, in contrast to well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact.” Synonyms: hypothetical.

      No, that is flat-out wrong. See above & definition #1.

      I don’t base my faith on hypothetical situations. Show me the observable while using good science, then I’ll determine if your theory is probable. While I encourage the ongoing effort to understand the origins of the universe and mankind, the evidence at the moment has given the overwhelming majority of reason and rationality to Theist.

      Show me the observable proof of God while using good science, and you may be on to something. Until then, there is no reason to bring God into the realm of science; doing so only hinders actual discovery. (Unless, of course, you speak of God as simply an abstract force rather than a personal deity, as Einstein and plenty of other scientists do.)

      Rick has also misinterpreted what I said. In a previous post I said, “the probability that SOMEONE created something out of nothing is more probable than NOTHING created something out of nothing.” I think that’s reasonable. Additionally, just because you can’t explain why the universe isn’t eternal doesn’t mean a God MUST NOT exist.

      Exactly right: nothing can mean a God MUST NOT exist. God is, after all, unfalsifiable. However, he can certainly be relegated to the sidelines, becoming wholly unnecessary in explaining the workings of the cosmos. This process has been under way for centuries and is very evident in the churches’ historic adversity to scientific advances & research.

      As for things being created from nothing, the study of zero-point energy has revealed that the dark energy which permeates the universe is able to bring particles into existence. From nothing. (The creationist may argue, “but who created the dark energy?”, but that line of reasoning opens the door wide open for “but who created God?” arguments, revealing the poor argumentation creationists must resort to.)

      Do I agree that there’s also the possibility that a God doesn’t exist? Yes. But when you look at the undeniable evidence of the Theory of General Relativity, the Laws of Thermodynamics, over 100 Anthropic Constants, NASA’s WMPA satellite research, Geological evidence, the list goes on, you’d have to be willfully blind to ignore them. I have yet to see or hear an Atheistic view that carries so much weight.

      If those scientific arguments were so strong, the scientific community would represent a more God-loving organization than any church.

      How is it you, with little scientific training (evident in your misunderstanding of the scientific method [problem, hypothesis, experimentation, theory…]), are able to find proof or evidence of God in the products of science… but the majority of scientists who understand the research pretend no such thing?

      Scientific theory, experiment, and process all have pointed to a creator. In fact the evidence is so prominent, that Darwinists have admitted to being bias during their observations. Here is a small part of a written confession from Darwinist Richard Lewontin… “We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment to materialism.”

      You’re calling out a scientist for admitting he’s committed to the scientific precept of materialism? I’m not sure what you’re trying to get at here.

      However, you’re not creating new energy out of nothing. You’re agitating pre-existing energy, or agitating existing molecules. What the Cyclic Model or Rebound Theory doesn’t explain is how you get those molecules to begin with. Again, creating something out of nothing. In order for the Cyclic Model to be possible you would still have to have a divine creator.

      You assume that what is could not possibly be eternal. You’re problem with the material universe applies equally to God… or are you letting bias affect your beliefs?

      First, the Second Law of Thermodynamics supports the Big Bang but is not dependent on it. The fact that the universe is running out of usable energy and heading for disorder is not even up for debate. It’s been said that the Second Law “ holds the supreme position among the laws of nature.” It is true even if the Big Bang is not.

      The universe will always have energy. See the discussion re: entropy i linked to above. Most of the universe may “go cold,” but dark energy will always be there, and it contains the possibility of suddenly arranging itself into anything.

      Second, the same can be said for Einstein’s theory. This theory requires a beginning to space, matter, and time whether or not it all began with a bang.

      Third, geological evidence shows that the universe had a beginning. For example, radioactive uranium eventually turns to lead. This means that if all uranium atoms were infinitely old, they would all be lead by now.

      The only atoms present at the beginning (or rather, soon thereafter) are hydrogen. All of the heavier elements are formed in stars which are then spread throughout the cosmos when the stars explode.

      Perhaps I should be offended at such an assumption that faith and religion requires no knowledge. It’s insulting to any person who has truly explored science objectively in search of the truth. However, I’ve proved that to be inaccurate as well. As a matter of fact, both Theist and Atheist have a level of faith.

      If you’re offended, then you’re offended by simple fact: see definition #2 of “faith.”

      However, while the theist has faith that something exists apart from evidence, the atheist merely accepts that there is no evidence for a god and simply doesn’t believe in one.

      Further, to explore science objectively is to explore science apart from personal biases, such as religion. In other words, from a scientific standpoint, until science ferrets out the existence of God, there is no reason for him to be introduced into a scientific discussion. To do so introduces unnecessary personal bias which is a violation of scientific objectivity.

      First, let’s make it clear that neither Theist nor Atheist have all the answers to life. They each have a certain amount of knowledge about how it all began or if it began. However, there are gaps in the knowledge of each. In those gaps, Theist and Atheist fill it with their own faith. Atheists fill it with the faith that they are correct and Theists do the same.

      How does believing that you’re correct fill gaps in what you know?

      When facing gaps in understanding, theists are prone to fill such gaps with God; atheists face no such handicap and are able to move forward in scientific endeavor.

      Let me also point out that you as an Atheist must also have some sort of evidence to support your claims, in which there are none. Whereas I have more than enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a God exists.

      If you can prove objectively that God exists, then i encourage you to go on the road to bring that proof to light; you’ll be able to unite the world under one God in no time, if objective proof does exist, and are a shoe-in for the peace prize.

      Also, atheists do not have to do a thing to prove that God does not exist. The burden of proof lies upon the person who claims something exists, not the other way around.

      This question seemed a little off topic but I’ll humor it anyway. The evidence doesn’t point me to a Christian God, it points me toward a Theistic God. Seems how the Christian view accepts a Theistic God, I then accept the Christian view. A Polytheistic view doesn’t make sense, namely if one “God” lacks something that the other one has, then the lacking being is not infinite because an infinite being, by definition, lacks nothing.

      Judaism, Islam, Christianity, and any other monotheistic religions accept a “Theistic God.”

      Also, who’s to say that in polytheism, all of the gods aren’t infinite?

      And more to the point, what proof do you have that God is infinite?

      And what do you mean by infinite?

      How do you know the creator isn’t simply a mortal in another universe “playing god” with a chemistry set, resulting in our universe’s creation?

      What logical progression leads you from “infinite God” to “God of Abraham”?

      And if God is infinite, why does he care a wit about what cloth the Jews used or who you sleep with?

      Take note, I did not mention one Bible verse or make one Bible reference with this evidence. Rethink your rationality.

      You referenced that the “theistic God” of creation is the “Christian God,” without evidence. You’ve also yet to point to any evidence for God, merely repeating your assertion that somehow pouring the laws of thermodynamics, the theory of relativity, and anthropic principles into a pot somehow produces evidence for your God… “evidence” that no good scientist should ever hold as admissible.

      To conclude, I’ve given substantial observable evidence that the universe is not eternal and probably has a divine creator/God.

      No, you’ve simply assumed that before the Big Bang, there can be nothing else, and therefore there must be a cause, which you assume is God. If another being caused our universe to come into existence, it is more probable that such a being is a mortal in a type 3 civilization existing in another part of the multiverse. At least such a thing is within the realm of possibility: The multiverse, unlike theism, is a serious scientific area of study.

      For a man that claims rationality as his belief, it seems rather irrational to believe in a theory or conjecture that has no observable quality or evidence to back it.

      The evidence for atheism is the overwhelming lack of evidence for gods.

      Rick asks for proof of God but in turn does not require proof of his own belief.

      The lack of evidence for gods is the “proof” of my lack of belief.

      The burden of proof for anything to do with God rests with the persons claiming that God exists. If you want proof that he doesn’t exist (beyond the simple lack of evidence thereof), then would you please provide me proof that there does not exist an invisible, inaudible, non-corporeal, weightless, pink dragon which follows you around perpetually.

      Prove to me that such a dragon does not exist, and i’ll use your method to prove that God doesn’t exist.

      (I hope now you see why i emphasize falsifiability.)

      Perhaps it’s the free-thinking, outside-of-the-box, refusal to follow the status quo that Richard really believes in because rationally this evidence would overwhelm anyone with an objective view.

      The status quo… of whom? Of Christians? No, i’ve been there & done that. Of scientists? They certainly aren’t defending the Christian God, at least not those who are writing the books and producing the videos that i learn from. I’ll be happy to get in touch with the likes of Bill Nye, Lawrence Krauss, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Richard Dawkins, Michio Kaku, et al. who are “in the know” of the latest in scientific discoveries. My impression from these men & others is that religion (or at least the belief in a god that somehow was involved in the universe in any way) is pretty much a joke to them.

      For good reason.

      “Only a rookie who knows nothing about science would say science takes away from faith. If you really study science, it will bring you closer to God.” -James Tour, Nanoscientist.

      That quote is present in the poorly researched The Case for Faith by Lee Strobel. The important thing to remember about Strobel’s books is that while he claims to be researching, he’s merely interviewing people who already agree with him in order to find confirmation for such beliefs. The quote attributed to Tour refers to the debate concerning evolution, a debate which he demonstrates his lack of understanding in upon his own website (unnecessarily separating between “micro” and “macro” evolution). Still, regarding whether or not a deity had a role in creation, he makes his position clear: “I do not know how to use science to prove intelligent design although some others might. I am sympathetic to the arguments on the matter and I find some of them intriguing, but the scientific proof is not there, in my opinion. So I prefer to be free of that ID label.” Read it for yourself on Tour’s website.

      “For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.” –Robert Jastrow

      Jastrow’s views are further revealed in this statement: “Astronomers now find they have painted themselves into a corner because they have proven, by their own methods, that the world began abruptly in an act of creation to which you can trace the seeds of every star, every planet, every living thing in this cosmos and on the earth. And they have found that all this happened as a product of forces they cannot hope to discover. That there are what I or anyone would call supernatural forces at work is now, I think, a scientifically proven fact” (Christianity Today), August 6, 1982).

      Note that he said that back in the early eighties, and we now have three decades of further research into just what happened prior to the Big Bang. There really is no reason to insert a deity into the picture, and if there were “supernatural forces,” they would be forces from another universe, “supernatural” from our perspective but perfectly natural to the native universe.

      Stephen Hawking, when in an effort to avoid an absolute beginning of the universe he made up a theory that utilizes “imaginary time”. Hawking himself admits that his theory is “just a metaphysical proposal” that cannot explain what happened in real time. “In real time,” he concedes, “the universe has a beginning…” So by his own admission his theory fails when applied to the real world.

      In his book The Grand Design, Stephen Hawking clarified his unbelief in God.

      Further, all scientific theories begin their lives as an idea. Hawking, having a much grander understanding of the universe than likely the vast majority of folks who have ever lived, is in a position to make intelligent guesses which may guide further scientific discovery.

      And finally, a question that we may not have considered… “If there is no God, why is there something rather than nothing?”

      If there is a god, why is there a god rather than no god?

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