Atheists and A Believer

Commenting in an atheist’s blog is not an easy affair for a believer, because sometimes one will find that his/her comment has been deleted without any apparent reason. I myself have this type of experience several times in my life, but I will cite just two such recent cases here.

In one blog my initial comment was this:

About God it has been said that he is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. About this same God it has also been said that he is spaceless, timeless, changeless, immortal, all-pervading, one, unborn, uncreated, without any beginning, without an end, everlasting and non-composite. If atheists deny the existence of any God, then that will mean that in this universe there is no one about whom it can be said that he/she is omnipotent, omniscient, spaceless, timeless etc. & etc. Now it might be the case that although there is no such God, yet there is something in this universe which is neither omnipotent nor omniscient, but about which it can still be said that it is spaceless, timeless, changeless etc. & etc. If atheists deny the existence of that thing also, then that will mean there is no one or nothing in this universe that is spaceless, timeless, changeless etc. If special theory of relativity (STR) is not a pseudo-science, then STR clearly shows that even infinite distance becomes zero for light. Volume of an entire universe full of light only will be simply zero due to this property of light. As zero volume means no space, so here we are getting an explanation of spacelessness from science. Again from STR we come to know that time totally stops at the speed of light. So here we are getting an explanation of timelessness from science. So it can in no way be denied that science has shown how it is possible to be spaceless and timeless. If no one or nothing in this universe is spaceless and timeless, then why was it necessary for science to provide such and such explanation?

The blog-owner wrote a reply to this, the gist of which I am reproducing here in my own words: I have actually got things back to front. First SR and GR should finally get accepted and then only theologians and apologists should deal with it. Before SR, God was usually called incorporeal, now he is called spaceless and timeless. So spacelessness and timelessness are relatively new concepts. My whole argument implies that God is a photon, or the photon, because all photons could be considered the same photon. In that case God would be the light.

In my reply I have to show that spacelessness and timelessness of God are really pretty old concepts, and not new at all, coming only after relativity theory. My reply comment was this:

I know that you have a distaste for William lane Craig’s writings. Still I am quoting a passage from Craig’s writing just to show that spacelessness and timelessness of God are not at all relatively new concepts:

“And then on the rest of the page it’s fairly obvious how I deduce the remainder of these attributes which form the central core of the theistic notion of God: a personal Creator, uncaused, beginningless, changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless, enormously powerful, and intelligent. In the words of Thomas Aquinas, this is what everybody means by God.”

Ref: http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/docs/craig-smith1.html (Dr. Craig’s opening arguments)


Here Dr. Craig is merely echoing the words of Thomas Aquinas. In Thomas Aquinas’ words also God is spaceless and timeless.
I do not think you will now say that Thomas Aquinas is our contemporary. Actually spacelessness and timelessness are the two most common attributes of God that have been mentioned in almost every religion, either eastern or western. When I first began surfing in the internet, I was astonished to find that in almost every discussion on God by the theists as well as by the atheists, only these three attributes of God were mentioned: his omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence. But never his other attributes like spacelessness and timelessness. I do not know why it was so.

So it is not at all true that “The spacelessness and timelessness of god are relatively (ha-ha) new concepts”.

In the year 2003 I published a book in Bengali in which I had shown that the existence of a spaceless and timeless being in this universe implies the relativity of space and time. The gist of my argument was this: Space and time are non-real, non-existent for that being, whereas they are very much real and existent for us human beings. So if such a being is really there, then space and time cannot have absolute values, because for those to be absolute they must have to have the same values for everybody, which is impossible in such a case. Special theory of relativity (STR) has also shown that space and time are indeed relative. So if STR is not a pseudo-science, then on the basis of the findings of this theory we can no longer discard mystical experience as a hallucination, because mystics have repeatedly said that God is spaceless and timeless. But the reviewer of my book (an atheist) was dishonest, and so he very scrupulously remained totally silent in his review about that particular portion of my book where I had given my reason as to why mystical experience could not be discarded as a mere hallucination, whereas he could have easily shown where I had faltered in my argument and why therefore on the basis of such argument I should not claim that the existence of God had been proven.

So it is not true that there is no evidence for the existence of God. But the fact is that when any such evidence is offered, it is usually ignored by the atheistic community.

It is my usual practice that whenever I post a comment in any blog, I keep a copy of that blog in my hard disk. This time also I did the same thing. After a few days when I reopened the blog from the internet, I could not find the above comment of mine printed there. So I had to open it from my hard disk and found the comment intact there. That means in the meantime the blog-owner had deleted it.

 

In another blog my initial comment was this:

Some scientists claim that the universe has actually originated from nothing without needing any divine intervention. If everything has originated from nothing, then not only the total matter and energy, but the total space-time also of this present universe have originated from nothing. So not only its total matter and energy, but its total space-time as well should always remain zero. Scientists have successfully shown as to how the total matter and energy of this universe always remain zero. Now the burden falls on these scientists to show how the total space-time of our present universe also always remains zero. And it should remain zero if the universe has actually originated from nothing. Again the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate. So they have the burden to answer this question: How does the total space-time of an ever-expanding universe always remain zero?

For a detailed discussion of this point one can see the below-listed links:
1) 
https://sekharpal.wordpress.co…
2) 
https://sekharpal.wordpress.co…

The blog was about the burden of proof and therefore I thought it fit to post the above comment. The reply-comment posted by the blog-owner did not contain anything that deserved to be commented against. However another person posted something against my comment that definitely deserved a reply from my side. In his comment he accused me that I had created a straw man argument, because I did not specify the name of those scientists who said that something could be created from nothing. He wrote that he had never heard any scientist say ‘something was created from nothing’. I had made some vague statements that referred to ‘space time’ and ‘zero energy’. These vague statements might sound clever to those unfamiliar with the subject, but probably amounted to little more than gibberish without a very strong foundational knowledge of the subject.

So here I was obliged to make my position clear. My reply comment was this:

It was E. P. Tryon who first proposed in the year 1973 that our universe may have arisen as a quantum fluctuation of the vacuum without violating any conservation law of physics (Tryon, Nature 246, 396, 1973). Thereafter a lot of scientists began to say the same thing. Among them some prominent names are: Victor J Stenger, Alan Guth, Andrei Linde, Stephen Hawking, Lawrence Krauss, Michio Kaku, Alexei V. Filippenko, Jay M. Pasachoff and Paul Davies. Alexander Vilenkin proposed a somewhat different theory because in his model the vacuum itself was not there. The only reason as to why so many scientists have proposed that our universe could have come from nothing without any divine intervention is that they have found that the total energy of the universe is zero.

I have gone through the below-listed links where it has been mentioned that the total energy of the universe is zero:

1) http://iopscience.iop.org/arti… (V. Faraoni and F. I. Cooperstock)

2) https://www.astrosociety.org/p… nothing/ (Alexei V. Filippenko and Jay M. Pasachoff)

3) http://mxplx.com/meme/2098/ (Stephen Hawking)

4) http://www.brainyquote.com/quo… 
(Richard P Feynman)

5) http://www.scielo.br/scielo.ph… (A. A. Sousa; J. S. Moura; R. B. Pereira)

6) http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB… (Lawrence Krauss)

7) http://www.independent.co.uk/a… (Paul Davies)

8) http://www.wall.org/~aron/blog… (Aron Wall)

9) http://www.wall.org/~aron/blog… (Aron Wall)

10) http://arxiv.org/pdf/gr-qc/060… (Marcelo Samuel Berman)

11) http://www.science20.com/hammo… (Johannes Koelman)

 

Here also I saved a copy of the blog in my hard disk as usual. After a few weeks when I reopened it from the internet, I found that the comment had been deleted.

 

As the visitors to this particular blog post will never know how I justified myself against the accusation brought against me, so I will always appear to them as a person who only creates a straw man argument and writes some gibberish without a very strong foundational knowledge of the subject.

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Will there ever be any physical explanation for ‘X’, if ‘X’ is not physically real?

In a debate between Dr. William Lane Craig and Quentin Smith on March 22, 1996 Dr. Craig has thus given a theistic notion of God in his opening arguments:

“And then on the rest of the page it’s fairly obvious how I deduce the remainder of these attributes which form the central core of the theistic notion of God: a personal Creator, uncaused, beginningless, changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless, enormously powerful, and intelligent. In the words of Thomas Aquinas, this is what everybody means by God.”1

Here it has been mentioned that God is spaceless and timeless. Not only in the three major religions originating from the Middle East, but in the eastern religions also God has been repeatedly mentioned as spaceless and timeless. Actually the two most common attributes of God that can be found in various religions throughout the world are his spacelessness and timelessness. Now by very simple reasoning it can be shown that the existence of a spaceless and timeless being in this universe implies the relativity of space and time. We say God is spaceless and timeless, which means for God space and time are non-real, non-existent, whereas for us human beings they are very much real, existent. So if God is really there, then in that case the same space and time will have two different values for different beings: For God they will have null values, whereas for us human beings they will have non-zero values. So if God is really there, then in that case space and time cannot be absolute, because for those two to be absolute they must have to have the same values for everybody. Thus the presence of such a God will make space and time relative, and science has also shown that space and time are indeed relative. If this reasoning is correct, then I think that there is no justified ground for discarding mystical experience as a mere hallucination. This is one point.

The second point is that if God is really there, then in that case there will be a permanent state of timelessness in this universe, because we say God is timeless. God does not exist will then mean there is no such state of timelessness. God does not exist therefore means no need is there for science to show how a state of timelessness can be reached or attained, because there is no such state in this universe that requires an explanation from science. But despite that science has shown how a state of timelessness can be reached, because in special theory of relativity it has been shown that at the speed of light time totally stops. If there is no state of timelessness in the universe, then why was it at all necessary for science to show as to how that state could be reached?

If the scientific community throughout the world thinks that this timeless state has no physical reality, then we can put the following question to them: “Will there ever be any physical explanation for ‘X’, if ‘X’ is not physically real?”

 

Ref:

  1. http://www.reasonablefaith.org/does-god-exist-the-craig-smith-debate-1996#section_1

 

Is “Fine Tuning” Actually Required for Proving the Existence of God?

It is not actually necessary that “fine tuning” of certain parameters will have to exist in reality for proving the existence of God. I think light with its very peculiar properties is sufficient for that purpose.

Light originates within space and time but it goes beyond space and time. A photon coming from a star lying at a distance of one billion light-years from earth will take one billion years of earth’s time to reach the surface of the earth. During these one billion years of earth’s time it will be in a spaceless and timeless condition, because the distance between the star and the earth has become zero for it and time has also stopped. So it will be neither in space nor in time during the total period of its existence. Then it will cease to be by being absorbed by something or someone on earth.

So light originating within space and time goes beyond space and time, because space and time become non-existent for it. And we cannot claim that this is without any cause. As light is not a conscious entity, so neither can we claim here that light has the capability of deciding its own fate that it will go beyond space and time. So this must have been caused by something else. But whatever may be the cause of it, this cause cannot lie within space and time; it is impossible. Let us suppose that this cause is A and that it lies within space and time. We can now ask two questions about A:

1) Are space and time non-existent for A also?

2) Or, are they not non-existent for A?

If 2), then how can A cause space and time becoming non-existent for light when they are not non-existent for A itself? But if 1), then we will have to ask the same question about A that we were earlier asking about light: what causes space and time becoming non-existent for A, when we know very well that A lies within space and time? So we see that A cannot be the ultimate cause that makes space and time non-existent for light, because here we will have to find out again the cause that makes space and time non-existent for A itself. In this way it can be shown that there will be an infinite regress, and that there is nothing within space and time that can be this cause. So ultimately we will have to go beyond space and time in search of this cause. A cause that lies within space and time is a natural cause, but a cause that lies beyond space and time is not a natural cause; it is a supernatural cause. So the cause that makes space and time non-existent for light is a supernatural cause.

Now one can raise an objection here that it cannot be the case that light is neither in space nor in time, because we can see the star and therefore the photon must have existed in some space-time during its transition from the star to the earth. But in which space and for how long did it exist during this transition? This is because the equations of SR show that both the travel time and the travel distance have become zero for light. So if SR as a theory is correct, then light cannot, and does not, exist in any space for any time.

Some may also think that SR is a bad theory and that it requires immediate replacement, because the conclusions that can be drawn from this theory are so counter-intuitive and contradictory to our commonsensical and everyday notion of existence. Here anybody can offer a better theory if he/she thinks so and get it accepted by the peers before challenging a well-established theory of science.

About light one can also read the article “The Fundamental Nature of Light” by Dr. Sascha Vongehr in Science 2.0 (February 3rd, 2011)1

Ref:

  1. http://www.science20.com/alpha_meme/fundamental_nature_light-75861

 

 

 

 

Where Science has gone Wrong

I think there are at least three cases where science has gone wrong so far.

1) The first case is that physicists have found that the total energy of our present universe is zero. On the basis of this fact they have concluded that the entire universe has originated from nothing. But this is a wrong conclusion, because I have already shown here1 that the total energy of the universe would also be zero even if it has originated from something and not from nothing. So zero total energy cannot be the only criterion on the basis of which it can be concluded that the universe has originated from nothing.

2) The second case is that if we take it for granted that the universe has originated from nothing, then not only its total matter and energy, but its total space-time as well have also originated from nothing. So not only its total matter and energy, but its total space-time also should always remain zero, because space, time, matter and energy-all the four of them have originated from nothing. Something can come out of nothing provided that the totality of that something always remains zero. So total space, total time, total matter and total energy of our present universe must always remain zero if it is claimed that the universe has originated from nothing. Although scientists have shown that the total matter and the total energy of the universe is zero, but they have not yet shown as to how the total space and the total time of the present universe also remain zero. This is one major drawback in their theory that the universe has originated from nothing. And if this theory cannot explain as to how the total space-time of the universe also remains zero, then these scientists will not be able to convince us that universe’s origin from nothing is actually the case.

This point has also been discussed in detail here2 and here3.

3) The third case is that scientists have artificially created a vacuum and then they have observed that virtual particles are still coming out of that vacuum. From this observation they have jumped to the conclusion that something can actually come out of nothing. Then they have further concluded that the entire universe has also come out of nothing due to the quantum energy fluctuation in a void. But this conclusion may not be a sound one, because first of all it will have to be ascertained as to whether the void created by them is a real void or not. Scientists have created a void within the universe and not outside of it. If there is a God, then that God is omnipresent, everywhere. So, if there is a God, then the void created within the universe will not be a real void at all, because in that case there will be the presence of God within the void itself. In case there is no God, then only it can be said with certainty that the void is a real void. So first of all it will have to be established that there is no God. Without establishing this point first if these scientists want to proceed further based on their assumption that the void is a real void, then all their conjectures, and all their conclusions based on those conjectures, might be proved wrong if ultimately it is found that there is a God. And to prove that there is no God it is necessary to show that there is no hand of God behind the creation event. That means scientists will have to give a natural explanation for the origin of the universe. This is because if there is a God, then definitely this universe will be his creation, and so if this natural explanation for universe’s origin can be given, then it will show once and for all that there is no God. And it will also show once and for all that the void is a real void.

But instead of doing this first thing first, scientists have already presupposed that there is no God when they have concluded that the void created by them is a real void. Then based on this presupposition that there is no God they have shown that no God is actually necessary for creating the universe, because it can naturally arise out of nothing due to the quantum energy fluctuation in a void. So this is nothing but a pure case of circular reasoning.

This point has also been discussed here4 and here5.

Reference:

  1. https://sekharpal.wordpress.com/2015/12/21/lawrence-krauss-faulty-logic/
  2. https://sekharpal.wordpress.com/2015/10/23/a-fundamental-flaw-in-the-thesis-a-universe-from-nothing-part-I/
  3. https://sekharpal.wordpress.com/2015/10/23/a-fundamental-flaw-in-the-thesis-a-universe-from-nothing-part-II/
  4. https://sekharpal.wordpress.com/2015/11/18/a-critique-of-the-void/
  5. https://sekharpal.wordpress.com/2015/11/21/something-from-nothing-part-ii/

Lawrence Krauss’ Faulty Logic

In the year 2010 scientist Lawrence M Krauss wrote an article in Wall Street Journal1 in which he has argued that as the total energy of our present universe is found to be zero, so from this it can be concluded that it has originated from nothing. The gist of his argument is something like this: let us suppose that the universe has actually originated from nothing at all. (Here this nothing is the so-called nothing of the scientists, not the usual nothing of the philosophers.) Then in that case the total energy of the universe would obviously be zero, because here everything has started from zero or nothing. Surprisingly scientists have also found that the total energy of the present universe is zero. So naturally it can be said that it has actually originated from nothing, because in that case only its total energy is expected to be zero.

But this reasoning is faulty. This is because it can be shown that 1) if the universe has originated from something and not from nothing, then in that case also the total energy of the universe would be zero; and 2) if the universe has been created by some supernatural agent, then again its total energy would be zero.

Case 2): First I will show how the total energy of the universe would be zero if it is created by some supernatural agent. Let us say that this supernatural agent who has created the universe is God. Now what does it mean that the universe has been created by God? As universe primarily means its space, time, matter and energy, so universe created by God will mean its space, time, matter and energy have been created by God. That will further mean that before creation by God there was no space, no time, no matter and no energy. That will again mean that God was in no space and time and that God did not contain any matter and energy. That is the reason as to why theists always describe their God as spaceless, timeless and immaterial. Neither this spaceless, timeless and immaterial God can contain any energy, because energy was also created by God along with the creation of the universe. That means the total energy content of God is zero. Therefore the total energy content of the universe will also be zero, because universe cannot contain more energy than the source from which it has originated.

Here it might be objected that neither energy nor matter can be created or destroyed. But if we keep in mind that the total energy of the universe has always remained fixed at its zero value, then we can say that as such energy has not been created or destroyed at all. Only that it has taken positive and negative forms in the universe, the total energy always remaining zero. The same can be said about matter also.

Case 1): Here we will have to rely on the findings of two modern scientific theories e.g. the two theories of relativity. Regarding any scientific theory it is usually said that all theories are provisional. That means any current scientific theory can be superseded by some new theory in future. But if the old theory is a well-established and tested theory, then it can never be totally falsified. Only its limitations will be known to us. Although Newton’s theory of gravity has been replaced by Einstein’s theory of gravity, yet Newton’s theory has still its applicability in limited cases.

We say that the universe had originated from something. That means before the origin of the universe from that something there was nothing else other than that something – no space, no time, no matter and no energy. Space, time, matter and energy came into being after the origin of the universe from that something. Now Einstein’s general theory of relativity has shown that space, time and matter are so interlinked that there cannot be any space and time without matter. Similarly there cannot be any matter without space and time. Again from Einstein’s special theory of relativity we come to know that matter and energy are equivalent. So instead of saying that there cannot be any matter without space and time, we can also say that there cannot be any energy without space and time. Now we have already shown that the initial something was without space and time. But we have also shown that there cannot be any energy without space and time. So the initial something cannot have any energy. Therefore the total energy of the universe originated from that something will also be zero, because it cannot have more energy than the source from which it has originated.

So, if the universe has a beginning, then it is quite immaterial as to whether it has originated from something or from nothing or whether it has been created by God. This is because in all the three cases above it will start with zero energy. So from the mere fact that the total energy of our present universe has been found to be zero, it cannot be concluded that it has actually originated from nothing, because in the other two cases also its total energy would be zero. So zero total energy cannot be the only factor on the basis of which we can conclude that our present universe has actually originated from nothing.

  1. http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748703946504575469653720549936

Can There be Two Types of Timelessness: One Mystical, Another Scientific?

 

Mystics who have claimed that they have direct experience of God have repeatedly and unanimously told us one thing: Time is unreal. If mystical experience gives the mystic the sensation that time is unreal and if one wants to establish that mystical experience is nothing but a mere hallucination, then he must have to show here that the mystics were wrong in holding that time is unreal. Here anyone who has minimum common sense will understand that the best possible way to do this is to show that time can never become unreal. But here science has done just the opposite; it has actually shown as to how and when time can become unreal. Instead of myself saying anything about how time actually becomes unreal, I will let one scientist speak for me here. Dr. Sacha Vongehr is a physicist and philosopher and he writes regularly in the science blog Science 2.0. In an article ‘The Fundamental Nature of Light’1 published in that blog on February 3rd, 2011 he has written that as per relativity ‘light has no time to see’. What he meant to say here was that for light ‘time would stop and the travel time between any two points, even between here and the edge of the observable universe, would be exactly zero’.

So we very clearly see here that science has definitely shown as to how time can become unreal, because it has shown that at the speed of light time totally stops. But we have already said that in order to show that mystical experience is a hallucination, one must have to show that mystics’ view regarding time was completely mistaken. But science has miserably failed to do that, because instead of showing that time can in no way become unreal it has actually shown as to how it can become unreal, thus providing ample support to mystical view about time. As science has in no way contradicted mystical view here, so by what kind of logic is it established that mystical experience is a hallucination? If mystical experience can no longer be discarded as a mere hallucination, then by what kind of logic is it established that God does not exist? We can also ask the following question here: Is this the right way to show that God does not exist?

If I say that time is unreal and if you want to prove me wrong and if I do possess some minimum common sense also, then I will definitely not expect from you that you would support my contention by showing to me as to how time can become unreal. Thus it appears from above that probably some scientists lack this minimum common sense who claim that mystical experience is nothing but a hallucination.

In the year 2001 I had debated with an atheist regarding the existence of a spaceless and timeless God. In one of the e-mails he wrote to me: ‘What is “timeless”? We don’t know of anything “timeless”.’

But afterwards he was compelled to admit the following: ‘Some mystics might have said God is timeless, but I’m sure they didn’t have in mind the “timelessness” we see when we look at Einstein’s equations.’

In the latter case although he was admitting that science had dealt with timelessness, yet he was making some distinction here: Mystics’ timelessness is not the same as scientists’ timelessness.

Let the readers judge themselves as to whether there can be two types of timelessness: One mystical, another scientific.

It might be the case that there are more than one entities in this universe that are timeless, but is it possible that there are two types of timelessness?

 

Reference:

1. http://www.science20.com/alpha_meme/fundamental_nature_light-75861

 

How to prove that There is a God?

 

The question as to whether there is a God or not can only be answered properly when we will be able to settle the matter regarding the age of our universe. Either our universe is infinitely old, in which case we will have to assume that it was always there. Or we will have to assume that it is not so old; rather it began to exist merely 13.8 billion years ago. Scientist Paul Davies in an article “Is the Universe a Free Lunch?” has explained very nicely as to why our universe cannot be infinitely old and that why it should have had a beginning:

Some people dislike the notion that the Universe had a beginning. Why can’t it have existed for ever? The answer is simple. There are many physical processes that are irreversible; if the Universe were infinitely old, these processes would all have run their course. The Universe would already have reached its final state.

“An example will make this clear. The Sun cannot keep burning for ever. After a few billion years it will run out of fuel and die. So, too, will all stars. Though new stars are still forming, the stock of raw material is finite, and eventually it will be exhausted. So if the present state of the Universe cannot endure for eternity, it cannot have existed for eternity.1

As the universe has a beginning, so the next question that will naturally come to our mind will be this: What was there before the beginning of the universe? Was there anything at all? Or, was there absolutely nothing?

So our query as to whether there is a God or not has ultimately brought us here: now we will have to seek an answer to the question as to what was there before the beginning of the universe. Let us suppose that before the beginning there was nothing. Now what is nothing? Nothing means non-existence of everything. If nothing is non-existence of everything, then we can further ask the following question: can non-existence of everything have any existence? If we say yes, then in that case nothing will not be proper nothing at all. This is because we have already seen that nothing means non-existence of everything. But if non-existence of everything exists, then in that case at least one thing will exist, namely non-existence of everything. If at least one thing exists, then how can it be proper nothing, because we already know that nothing is non-existence of everything? So for nothing to be proper nothing, this non-existence of everything must not have any existence. That means nothing can only be proper nothing by not existing at all. That will further mean that only something can exist and not nothing. So we arrive at the conclusion that before the beginning of the universe there was something, and not nothing, from which our universe has originated. If the universe has originated from something, then that will mean that before the origin of the universe there was nothing else other than that something: no space, no time, no matter and no energy. Space, time, matter and energy came into being only after the origin of the universe from that something. That means the initial something was neither in any space nor in any time. Being neither in space nor in time it will thus be spaceless and timeless. Being spaceless and timeless it will also be changeless, immortal, all-pervading, one, unborn, uncreated, without any beginning, without an end, everlasting and non-composite.2 Whether one will call this something God or not is purely her discretion. But one thing we should not forget here: we have arrived at this conclusion simply because we have found that our universe cannot be infinitely old and also because we have found that the existence of nothing is self-contradictory.

Our contention that before the beginning of the universe there was no space and no time is also supported by the following fact: Cosmologists say that the universe is expanding. But when it is asked what it is expanding into, we usually get the answer that it is not expanding into anything, because it is not embedded into any higher space-time.

The question why existence of nothing is self-contradictory has been elaborately discussed here3 and here4 by Peter Sas.

 

Reference:

  1. www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/is-the-universe-a-free-lunch-1340153.html
  2. https://sekharpal.wordpress.com/2015/10/23/who-created-god/
  3. http://critique-of-pure-interest.blogspot.in/2014/09/why-is-there-something-rather-than.html
  4. http://critique-of-pure-interest.blogspot.in/2014/11/the-inconsistency-of-nothing-objective_17.html

God of the Gaps

I will begin this post with two postulates:

1) God has created this universe;

2) He has brought man in this universe with some purpose.

I am not claiming here that these two postulates are true, or that I can prove them to be true. But I want to show here that if these two postulates are true, then God will always be the God of the gaps. Anyone who will be reading this post should not forget that there is an “if” clause in the last sentence.

Now I will begin with the supposition that God has created this universe. If God has created this universe, then he could have created it in four different ways:

1) He created it in such a way that there was no necessity for Him to intervene in it after creation;

2) After creation he intervened in it, but these interventions were a bare minimum, that is, he intervened only when these were absolutely necessary. In order to clarify my point here, I will say that he intervened only when he found that without his intervention the universe would come to a standstill;

3) He created the universe in such a way that in order to keep it going he had to make very frequent interventions in it;

4) God’s total intervention after creation.

If it was the purpose of God to keep mankind crippled in every possible way, then he would have adopted either the third or the fourth way while creating the universe. This is because in these two cases mankind, in spite of her having sufficient intelligence and reasoning power, will fail to unveil the secrets of nature, because in almost every phenomenon of nature that she will decide to study she will ultimately find that there always remains an unknown factor, for which she will have no explanation. For her the book of nature will thus remain closed forever. But if it was God’s purpose that mankind be master of his creation, then it is quite natural for him that he would try to keep the book of nature as much open to her as possible, so that with the little intelligence human species has been endowed with she will be able to decipher the language of nature, and with that acquired knowledge she will also be able to improve the material conditions of her life. In that case God will try to adopt the policy of maximum withdrawal from his creation. He will create the universe in such a way that without his intervention the created world will be able to unfold itself. However, that does not mean that he will never intervene. He will definitely intervene when without his intervention the created world would become stagnant. In such a scenario human beings will be able to give an explanation of almost all physical events in scientific language. But in those cases where God has actually intervened, she will fail to do so.

So I think there is no reason for us to be ashamed of the “God of the gaps” argument. Yes, if God has created the universe, and if God’s purpose was that mankind be master of his creation, then he would try to keep as little gap in his creation as possible. But the minimum gap that would be ultimately left can never be bridged by any sort of scientific explanation. God will also reside in that gap. Why should we be ashamed of that?

The whole matter can be seen from another angle. Those who strongly believe that God has created this universe also believe that he created it alone. Now is it reasonable to believe that a God, who is capable of creating such a vast universe alone, is not capable enough to keep a proof of his existence in the created world? So I think it is more reasonable to believe that while creating the universe God has also kept a proof of his existence in something created. This proof is open to us all, but we have not found it, because we have not searched for it. So even if it is the case that God has never intervened in the created world after its creation, still there will be a gap in this natural world, purposefully left by God, for which science will find no explanation. This will be the ultimate gap that can only be filled up by invoking God.

So it is quite logical that a God who will create human beings with a purpose will always prefer to be the God of the gaps. Yes, if we were really created by some God, and if it was not God’s desire that we be some sort of semi-savage beast with no knowledge about how nature works, then it makes quite a good sense if I say that in that case God would try to keep the book of nature as much open to us as possible (policy of maximum withdrawal). In such a case mankind will also be able to explain almost everything of nature without invoking God. But then this “ability to explain almost everything of nature without invoking God” will not prove that there is no God, because it might also be the case that this ability is God’s design, God’s plan.

Let me give one example for making my point clear. Let A be one most obvious fact of nature, and let D be one natural phenomenon that follows from A. Let us also suppose that D does not directly follow from A, but that there are some intermediate steps. A causes B, then B causes C, then C causes D. In order to be more precise here let us say that A means dark clouds gathering in the sky, and that D means lightning. We know very well that lightning does not always take place whenever there are dark clouds in the sky. So we will modify the above chain from A to D in this way: A causes B, but B does not always cause C. Instead of C, it sometimes causes C1. When B causes C1, there is no lightning. But when B causes C, in that case only lightning occurs.

A – B – C – D (Lightning)

A – B – C1– No lightning

Now let us suppose that there is a God, and let us also suppose that after creating the universe he has not intervened in it at all. So, all the processes from A to D will be natural. In that case if man wills, then one day she will be able to understand the whole natural process here. She will understand what lightning is, how and when it occurs, and with that knowledge it can be hoped that one day she will also be able to protect herself and her property from lightning.

Now let us suppose that after creation God has frequently intervened in his creation, but his intervention is not total, but only partial. Let us also suppose that God has chosen the above case of lightning for his intervention. That means lightning can never take place unless he wills. When he decides to punish mankind by sending lightning, then only B can cause C; otherwise in every other case B causes C1. In this case the whole chain from A to D will be broken at B. Human beings will never understand how B can naturally cause C, and so she will never understand how D naturally follows from A. So lightning will forever remain a mystery to her.

Now let us suppose that God’s intervention in this universe is total, that is, behind every natural phenomenon there is the hand of God. In that case mankind will understand nothing of nature, and she will remain as ignorant as a savage. In this world her fate will be no better than birds and beasts, and her condition will remain as miserable and helpless as those birds and beasts in front of natural calamities.

But if God wills that mankind be almost equal to him in the knowledge of things in nature, and if he also wills that she live in this world with some dignity and not like birds and beasts, then he will create the universe in such a way that almost all the phenomena in nature can take place naturally without his intervention. In that case he will adopt the policy of maximum withdrawal. He will intervene only in those cases where his intervention is absolutely necessary. One such case is the genetic code. Genetic code is information code, and those who believe that there is a God try to make a point here.

It is said that information code cannot naturally arise from space, time, force, field, matter and energy. Some intelligence is required, and nature does not possess that intelligence. Only God possesses that intelligence, and therefore only God can generate information code. If what is said is true, then I will say that mankind will never understand how information code can naturally arise from space, time, force, field, matter and energy. It will forever remain a mystery to her.

My thesis presented here has at least one merit. It can successfully explain as to why nature has opened her secrets to mankind, whereas proponents of accidental origin of man cannot give any reason as to why nature has done so. If their theory was correct, then human beings also could have led a life just like other higher primates; chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas and orangutans. That mankind has not done so and that instead she has been able to raise a civilization and lead a life with some dignity and self-respect shows that nature has taken a special care for us and equipped us accordingly.

 

A Universe from Nothing?: Part II

How did the scientists come to know that an entire universe could come out of nothing? Or, how did they come to know that anything at all could come out of nothing? Were they present at that moment when the universe was born? As that was not the case at all, therefore they did not get that idea being present at the creation event. Rather they got this idea being present here on this very earth. They have created a vacuum artificially, and then they have observed that virtual particles (electron-positron pairs) are still appearing spontaneously out of that vacuum and then disappearing again. From that observation they have first speculated, and then ultimately theorized, that an entire universe could also come out of nothing. But here their entire logic is flawed. Most of these scientists are born and brought up within the Christian tradition. Maybe they have downright rejected the Christian world-view, but they cannot say that they are all ignorant of that world-view. According to that world-view God is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. So as per Christian belief-system, and not only as per Christian belief-system, but as per other belief-systems also, God is everywhere. So when these scientists are saying that the void is a real void, God is already dead and non-existent for them. But these scientists know very well that the non-existence of God will not be finally established until it is shown that the origin of the universe can also be explained without invoking God. Creation event is the ultimate event where God will have to be made redundant, and if that can be done successfully then that will prove beyond any reasonable doubt that God does not exist. So how have they accomplished that job, the job of making God redundant in case of creation event? These were the steps:

  • God is non-existent, and so, the void is a real void. Without the pre-supposition that God does not exist, it cannot be concluded that the void is a real void;
  • As virtual particles can come out of the void, so also the entire universe. Our universe has actually originated from the void due to a quantum energy fluctuation in it;
  • This shows that God was not necessary to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going, as because there was no creation event;
  • This further shows that God does not exist.

So here what is to be proved has been proved based on the assumption that it has already been proved. Philosophy is already dead for these scientists. Is it that logic is also dead for them?

 

A Universe from Nothing? : Part I

Scientist Stephen Hawking in his book “The Grand Design” has written that the universe can and will create itself from nothing because there is a law such as gravity. As per him spontaneous creation is the reason as to why there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. Therefore he thinks that it is not at all necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.1

That an entire universe can come out of nothing is not a scientifically proven fact, rather it is merely a speculation. This speculation is also based on a logically flawed assumption, the assumption that the void is a real void. Here scientists have assumed that our universe is a Godless universe, and that therefore the void is a real void. But it may be true that this is a Godless universe, or it may not be true. As the believers cannot claim that they know with certainty there is a God, so also neither the scientists can claim that they know with certainty there is no God. However there is a definite way to know with certainty that there is no God. Here I am not claiming that there is a definite way to know with certainty there is a God, but I am only saying that there is a definite way to know with certainty there is no God. And this definite way is the scientific way.

If scientists ultimately become successful in explaining everything in this universe, including its origin also, without invoking God, then we will have no other option but to admit that the universe we live in is a Godless universe. But there is a very big “IF” here, if they become successful. Until they achieve their success here, they do not know whether they will be ultimately successful or not. So until they achieve their success here, they do not know whether it is a Godless universe or not. All their earlier successes cannot give them any assurance that in future also they will be equally successful. If somebody claims that there is no reason as to why they will not be successful, then I will have to bring in Hume here, but I think it will not be necessary. It is like climbing a mountain peak. So long as one is not there at the peak, she does not know whether she will be able to reach there at all. But once she has reached there, she knows with certainty that she has done it. So in order to come to the conclusion that we live in a Godless universe scientists will have to be able to give a scientific explanation for each and every single fact, every single event, or every single phenomenon of this natural world, and not a single fact, single event or single phenomenon should be left unexplained.

If the scientists claim here that they have explained almost everything of this natural world without invoking any kind of god, then I will have to point out to them that the origin of the universe has not yet been explained in a properly logical way. Before proceeding further here I want to quote a single line (or, a part of it) from an essay by Keith M. Parsons, an atheistic philosopher: “…[P]rima facie the most promising location for a Creator would be in the “creation” event itself, the origin of the universe.”2 If the most promising location for a Creator would be in the “creation” event itself, then this Creator must have to be eliminated first from the “creation” event, because that act only can ensure that there is no such Creator.

So until this so-called Creator has been eliminated from the creation event by providing a most plausible, and natural, scientific explanation (A) for it, we cannot have any idea as to whether the void is a real void or not. This is because if there is a creator God, then as per the theists that God is everywhere and therefore the void is no longer a real void. So let A be provided first by the scientists. Then only we can be sure that the void is a real void. Therefore A should always come first, and then only we can conclude that the void is a real void. But in the case under consideration it has already been concluded that the void is a real void without giving a natural explanation for the origin of the universe. And that makes all the difference.

Let me try to make my point more clear. Let e0 be the event zero, the origin/birth/creation of the universe, and let e1 to en be all the events that have so far happened in this universe after its origin. Let ne0 be the natural explanation for event zero, and let ne1 to nen be the natural explanations for events e1 to en respectively. Let us now suppose that scientists have already been able to provide ne1 to nen, but that they have so far failed to provide ne0. Will this situation allow us to conclude that there is no God? No, we cannot come to any such conclusion, because if there is a God then there will definitely be his hand behind the event zero. Yes, we can say this with absolute certainty, because God, if he is really God, and if he is really there, will not be our God at all, and neither will we recognize him as such, if he has no control over our destiny. In other words, if this universe is not his creation.

Therefore in order to establish that there is no God one must have to show that there is no hand of God behind the creation event. All the other natural explanations ne1 to nen put together cannot prove that there is no God. But once ne0 is given, it is firmly established that God does not exist. Therefore so far as the question of the non-existence of God is concerned, we can say that when ne0 has already been given, ne1 to nen will become unnecessary. And when ne0 has not yet been given, ne1 to nen are simply useless. And thus we can say that the necessary and sufficient condition for establishing the non-existence of God is that there will have to be a natural explanation for the origin of the universe (ne0).

Therefore so long as ne0 has not been given, we cannot come to the conclusion that there is no God. And therefore so long as ne0 has not been given, neither can we conclude that the void is a real void. And therefore so long as ne0 has not been given, neither can we say that as virtual particles can appear from out of nothing, so also an entire universe.

Here scientist Victor J. Stenger would perhaps have said that so long as there is no evidence for the existence of God, the default position is that there is no God. So in that case they are fully entitled to treat the void as a real void. But in an article titled “A Critique of the Void”3 I have very clearly shown that this universe even if created by a God may not display any evidence of his existence if it is the case that this God is non-interventionist, that is, if it is the case that he has not intervened at all after the creation of the universe. So from the mere fact that so far there is no evidence for the existence of God, it cannot be concluded that this universe is a Godless universe. In such a case the matter regarding the existence or non-existence of God can only be settled at the creation event itself. So scientists are in no way entitled to treat the void as a real void until it is firmly established that this void is really a void, that is, until the creator God is eliminated from the creation event by providing a natural explanation for it.

Scientists usually say that as there is no evidence for the existence of God, so it is reasonable to believe that there is no God. Here I have very clearly shown that neither is there any evidence that something can actually come out of nothing. On the basis of this lack of evidence we can also say that it is reasonable not to believe that the universe has actually originated from nothing.

Reference:

  1. Book: The Grand design, Published by Bantum Books, New York, Ch: The Grand Design, page 282.
  2. No Creator Need Apply: A Reply to Roy Abraham Varghese (2006), www.infidels.org/library/modern/keith_parsons/varghese.html
  3. https://sekharpal.wordpress.com/2015/11/18/a-critique-of-the-void/

 

 

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Sean Carroll

in truth, only atoms and the void