- Circular Reasoning
In his article ‘The other side of time’ (2000) scientist Victor J. Stenger has written that as per the theory of quantum electrodynamics electron-positron (anti-electron) pairs can appear spontaneously for brief periods of time practically out of nothing, which clearly shows that anything that has a beginning need not have to have a cause of that beginning. Here he was actually rebutting Dr. William Lane Craig’s claim that anything that has a beginning must have a cause. Electron-positron pairs begin to exist, but they have no cause of their beginning, because they appear literally out of nothing.
From here he has concluded that our universe might also have come literally out of nothing due to the quantum fluctuation in a void, and therefore we need not have to imagine that God has done this job.
But is it true that electron-positron pairs are appearing literally out of “nothing”? Are scientists absolutely certain that the so-called void is indeed a real void? Because here there is a counter-claim also: God is there, and that God is everywhere. So actually nothing is coming out of “nothing”, only something is coming out of something. Here they will perhaps say: “As there is no evidence for the existence of God so far, so why should one have to believe that the void here is not a real void?” But even if there is no evidence for the existence of God, still then it can be pointed out that scientists’ claim that the universe has literally come out of nothing is a pure case of circular reasoning. If believers say that the void is not a real void at all, and if scientists still then hold that it is nothing but a void, then this is only because they are absolutely certain that God does not exist, and also because they think that the non-existence of God is so well-established a fact that it needs no further proof for substantiation. But if they are absolutely certain that God does not exist, then they are also absolutely certain that God is not the creator of our universe, because it is quite obvious that a non-existent God cannot be the creator of the universe. So their starting premise is this: God does not exist, and therefore our universe is definitely not the creation of a God. But if they start from the above premise, then will it be very difficult to reach to the same conclusion?
But their approach here could have been somehow different. They could have argued: “Well, regarding void, it is found that there is some controversy. Therefore we will not assume that it is a void, rather we will establish that it is a void”. Then they could have proceeded to give an alternative explanation for the origin of the universe, in which there would be neither any quantum fluctuation in a void, nor any hand of God to be seen anywhere. And their success here could have settled the matter for all time to come.
- “Circular Reasoning” Case Reexamined
There can be basically two types of universe: (1) universe created by God, supposing that there is a God; (2) universe not created by God, supposing that there is no God. Again universe created by God can also be of three types:
(1a) Universe in which God need not have to intervene at all after its creation. This is the best type of universe that can be created by God;
(1b) Universe in which God has actually intervened from time to time, but his intervention is a bare minimum; and
(1c) Universe that cannot function at all without God’s very frequent intervention. This is the worst type of universe that can be created by God.
Therefore we see that there can be four distinct types of universes, and our universe may be any one of the above four types: (1a), (1b), (1c), (2). In case of (1a), scientists will be able to give a natural explanation for each and every physical event that has taken place in the universe after its origin, because after its creation there is no intervention by God at any moment of its functioning. Only giving natural explanation for its coming into existence will be problematic. In case of (1b) also, most of the events will be easily explained away, without imagining that there is any hand of God behind these events. But for those events where God had actually intervened, scientists will never be able to give any natural explanation. Also explaining the origin of the universe will be equally problematic. But in case of (1c), most of the events will remain unexplained, as in this case God had to intervene very frequently. This type of universe will be just like the one as envisaged by Newton: “Gravity explains the motions of the planets, but it cannot explain who set the planets in motion. God governs all things and knows all that is or can be done.” So we can with confidence say that our universe is not of this type, otherwise scientists could not have found a natural explanation for most of the physical events. In case of type (2) universe, here also there will be a natural explanation for each and every physical event, and there will be a natural explanation for the origin of the universe also. So from the mere fact that scientists have so far been able to give a natural explanation for each and every physical event, it cannot be concluded that our universe is a type (2) universe, because this can be a type (1a) universe as well. The only difference between type (1a) and type (2) universe is this: whereas in case of type (1a) universe no natural explanation will ever be possible for the origin of the universe, it will not be so in case of type (2) universe. Therefore until and unless scientists can give a natural explanation for the origin of the universe, they cannot claim that it is a type (2) universe. And so, until and unless scientists can give this explanation, they can neither claim that the so-called void is a real void. So scientists cannot proceed to give a natural explanation for the origin of the universe with an a priori assumption that the void is a real void, because their failure or success in giving this explanation will only determine as to whether this is a real void or not.