Tag Archives: Atheists

Is there any need for the Supernatural?

The difference between the atheists and the scientists is this: atheists can afford to be close-minded, but scientists cannot; their job or profession forbids them to be so. As scientists they have got some responsibility that the atheists do not have. As scientists they are supposed to provide explanation for all the events, phenomena or effects in nature and therefore they have to keep their mind open to the possibility that they may not always be able to explain everything purely naturally.

Scientist Victor J Stenger was an atheist, but like most of the atheists he was not close-minded. He did not completely rule out the possibility that there might be a God. In the year 2007 he published a book ‘God: The Failed Hypothesis. How Science Shows That God Does Not exist’. In the introduction of that book he wrote the following:

“Indeed, the “God of the gaps” has long been a common argument for God. Science does not explain everything, so there is always room for other explanations and the believer is easily convinced that the explanation is God. However, the God of the gaps argument by itself fails, at least as a scientific argument, unless the phenomenon in question is not only currently scientifically inexplicable but can be shown to forever defy natural description. God can only show up by proving to be necessary, with science equally proven to be incapable of providing a plausible account of the phenomenon based on natural or material processes alone.” (pp 13-14)1

So as per Stenger if there is one single phenomenon of nature for which science is proven to be incapable of providing a plausible account based on natural or material processes alone and which can be shown to forever defy natural description, then there, and there only, God can show up by proving to be necessary as an explanation.

Not only that. In the year 2009 British Scientist Edgar Andrews published a book ‘Who Made God’ in which he severely criticised the book “God: the Failed hypothesis” by Stenger (Chapter 5). In reply Stenger wrote the following:

“Anyone who has read any of my books knows I would never say that models detect anything. I simply say that God is not needed as part of any existing models but make clear that, if the evidence should require it, science should be required to include supernatural causes. If anything, Andrews should appreciate that, unlike most scientists, I allow for the possibility that we may not always be able to explain everything purely naturally. Currently we can, but I cannot predict the future.”2 (emphasis added)

Here also we can see that he is not completely ruling out the possibility for the existence of the supernatural. This possibility can only be completely ruled out if, and only if, science can provide a natural explanation for each and every phenomenon of nature without any single exception.

There is one more scientist who like Victor J Stenger keeps his mind open to the possibility that as scientists one day they may also have the need of God as an explanation for some phenomenon of nature. Sean M Carroll is a theoretical physicist; to the outer world he is known to be an atheist. But despite that in November 1, 2010 he wrote an article (Is Dark Matter Supernatural?) that clearly shows his open-mindedness regarding this. Here is a relevant quote from that article:

“There is a perfectly good question of whether science could ever conclude that the best explanation was one that involved fundamentally lawless behavior. The data in favor of such a conclusion would have to be extremely compelling… but I don’t see why it couldn’t happen. Science is very pragmatic, as the origin of quantum mechanics vividly demonstrates. Over the course of a couple decades, physicists (as a community) were willing to give up on extremely cherished ideas of the clockwork predictability inherent in the Newtonian universe, and agree on the probabilistic nature of quantum mechanics. That’s what fit the data. Similarly, if the best explanation scientists could come up with for some set of observations necessarily involved a lawless supernatural component, that’s what they would do. There would inevitably be some latter-day curmudgeonly Einstein figure who refused to believe that God ignored the rules of his own game of dice, but the debate would hinge on what provided the best explanation, not a priori claims about what is and is not science.”3 (emphasis added)

From above we can see that the question as to whether there is any supernatural or not is purely a practical one. If scientists fail to provide a suitable explanation for certain phenomenon of nature by every natural means possible, then they are ready to go for the supernatural. Atheists do not have to face such crisis in their life, so they can very easily remain close-minded.

Reference:

  1. http://skepdic.ru/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/bog-neydachnaia-gipoteza.pdf
  2. http://whomadegod.org/2011/06/victor-stenger-replies-to-who-made-god/
  3. http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/2010/11/01/is-dark-matter-supernatural/#.V_jlNNR95kg
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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.