Tag Archives: Supernatural

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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Science has not Acted Wisely

Even if there is a God, that God need not have to be the God of the Bible. There are other concepts of God also.1

About the supernatural God it has been said that he is spaceless, timeless, changeless, immortal, all-pervading, one, unborn, uncreated, without any beginning, without an end, everlasting, non-composite and immaterial. And then supposing that this supernatural God is real and not just a figment of our imagination science has shown as to how it is possible to be spaceless and timeless. Special theory of relativity has shown that at the speed of light time totally stops and it has also shown that any distance light has to travel becomes zero for it. Even infinite distance becomes zero for light! If certain volume of space (say, a room) is filled up with light only, then due to these two properties of light volume of that room will become zero and time also will totally stop there. As zero volume means no space, so in this way a spaceless and timeless state will obtain.

If someone is spaceless and timeless, then it can be shown very easily that this spaceless and timeless being will also be changeless, immortal, all-pervading, one, unborn, uncreated, without any beginning, without an end, everlasting, non-composite and immaterial.2

So here science has not acted wisely by supposing that a figment of our imagination is actually real.

Reference:

  1. https://sekharpal.wordpress.com/2015/10/24/beyond-good-and-evil/
  2. https://sekharpal.wordpress.com/2015/10/23/who-created-god/

 

A Fundamental Flaw in the Thesis: A Universe from Nothing

PART I

Most of the modern physicists maintain that the universe has actually originated from nothing, thus requiring no supernatural agency for its creation. Here their logic is something like this: as they have found that the total energy of the universe is zero, so they have argued that no outside agent was at all necessary to provide the initial input energy for starting the universe; therefore, it can simply originate from nothing. If the total energy of the universe were having some very big non-zero value, then it would not have been possible for them to maintain the same thing that the universe had actually originated from nothing. Because in that case they would have to explain as to where all the energies of this universe had come from, because all those energies cannot simply come from nothing. However, the total energy being zero, this problem no longer bothers them. Although the total energy of the universe is always zero, still there are lots of energy in this universe, all originating from nothing in the form of positive and negative energy, thus keeping the total energy of the universe always zero. The same thing can be said about matter also. As the total matter of the universe is zero, so they say that all the matter of the universe can simply come from nothing, because zero does not have to come from anything. But what shall we have to say about space and time? Can nothing generate so much of space and time that we find in this universe? Or, was there some supernatural agent that had actually provided space and time to our universe? Or, would they say the same thing about space and time also that as the total space as well as the total time of the universe is indeed zero, so space and time can simply come from nothing? Was it then that space had actually originated from nothing in the form of positive space and negative space, thus keeping the total space of the universe always zero? Was it the same case for time also? Can it also be said about time that it has actually originated from nothing in the form of positive time and negative time, thus keeping the total time of the universe always zero? If there are negative space and negative time, then where are they? Are they in this universe? If they are not, then how come so much of space and so much of time have simply come from nothing? Scientists believe that from nothing, nothing comes. The universe started with zero energy and zero matter, and its total energy and total matter always remain zero. Neither any extra energy nor any extra matter added to, or subtracted from, the initial zero value of them. So, from nothing, nothing has actually come. But if there is neither any negative space nor any negative time in our universe to counterbalance the positive space and the positive time respectively, then there is a real problem here. This is because here nothing has given rise to something really positive.

To remove this imbalance in the quantity of space and time, scientist Victor J Stenger has proposed in an article (The Other Side of Time, 2000) that there is another side of time, opposite to our time axis. As our universe goes on expanding from zero time to positive infinity, so in the other side of time there is another universe that goes on expanding from zero time to negative infinity. If in our universe space and time are considered to be positive space and positive time, then in the universe located in the other side of time space and time can be considered to be negative space and negative time, thus keeping the total space and the total time always zero. Two objections can be raised against this proposed solution. First of all, this can never be verified, and Stenger himself admitted that: “…this scenario cannot be proven, just presented as a possibility that provides a non-supernatural alternative to the theistic creation.” This is tantamount to saying something like this: we suffer lots of injustice in our earthly life. All this will be properly compensated for in our heavenly after-life. Even if it is true, it can never be verified, and therefore it will purely be an act of faith if we accept it as true and live accordingly. So, we cannot accept Stenger’s proposal as a viable solution here, because it will also be an act of faith. The second objection is that initially both energy and matter were zero when the universe originated from nothing and that the total energy and the total matter of the universe always remain zero in this very universe. We have not gone to the other side of time for seeking a solution to any possible imbalance that could have arisen in the totality of these two entities. So, why should we have to go to the other side of time for setting right the imbalance that is definitely there in case of space and time? Why cannot the total space and the total time of this universe always remain zero in this very universe itself? Perhaps there is some substance in this universe that helps keep the total space and the total time of the universe always zero. At least Einstein’s general theory of relativity suggests something like that. At one place Einstein has written about GR: “When forced to summarize the general theory of relativity in one sentence: Time and space and gravitation have no separate existence from matter.” If time and space and gravitation cannot have any separate existence from matter, then the total matter of the universe being always zero, the total time, the total space and the total gravitation of the universe should also always remain zero. Therefore we can say that there is definitely some substance in this universe due to the presence of which the total space and the total time of the universe always remain zero. And so, we need not have to go to the other side of time at all for setting right any imbalance or asymmetry that can be there either in case of space or in case of time. Due to the presence of this substance we can say that the universe starting from nothing with zero space, zero time, zero matter and zero energy will always contain zero total space, zero total time, zero total matter and zero total energy, thus not showing any asymmetry or imbalance anywhere.

But what is this substance? Whence has it originated? What are its properties? These are the questions that are to be answered by the scientists only. As a layperson, I can say this much only: so long as scientists will fail to provide a suitable answer to this question, science will remain incomplete.

PART II

I.

When scientists say that the universe can simply come out of nothing without any divine intervention, they think of the universe in terms of its energy content only. In the book ‘The Grand Design’, page 281, scientist Stephen Hawking has written that bodies like stars or black holes cannot just appear out of nothing, but a whole universe can.1 The message is very clear from this: The total energy of a whole universe is zero and that is why it can come out of nothing; but stars or black holes will fail to do so, because their total energy is not zero. But universe means not only its energy; universe means its space-time as well. So if we now apply the same logic to space-time as well, then we can say that the total space-time of a whole universe must also always have to be zero, because in that case only a whole universe can appear out of nothing. Here my question is: How does the total space-time of an ever-expanding universe always remain zero?

As the universe appeared out of nothing, so initially there was no space, no time, no matter and no energy. Scientists have successfully shown how the total matter-energy content of the universe has always remained zero. But we are not satisfied with that explanation, we want something more. We also want to know how the total space-time content of the universe has always remained zero. And it should always remain zero if the universe has actually appeared out of nothing. Otherwise scientists will have to explain as to whence appeared the extra residual space-time that was not already there at the beginning.

If stars or black holes cannot appear out of nothing simply because their total energy is not zero, then can a whole universe appear out of nothing if its total space-time is not zero?

The last question above will further boil down to this one: Do the physicists think that energy cannot just appear out of nothing, but space-time can, supposing that the total space-time of the present universe is not zero?

Or, do they think that like life, mind and consciousness, space and time are also emergent entities only, and therefore, not directly coming from big bang nothing?

II.

Something can appear out of nothing provided that the totality of that something always remains zero. Actually anything can come out of nothing if this condition is fulfilled. This is the principle which some scientists have relied upon when they have proposed that our universe could have arisen out of nothing due to a quantum energy fluctuation in a void. They have found that the total energy of the universe is exactly zero. The total energy being zero, the total matter will also be zero due to matter-energy equivalence. If the total matter as well as the total energy of the universe is zero, then why should they have to come from anything at all? They could have come from nothing as well. So these scientists have proposed that our universe has simply appeared out of nothing. But when they have proposed this theory, they remained totally oblivious of the fact that universe means not only its matter and energy, universe means its space-time as well. So, if the universe has actually appeared out of nothing, then just like matter and energy, space-time also has appeared out of that primordial nothing. So like matter and energy, the total space-time also should always remain zero.

However, if it is the case that space-time has not directly appeared out of nothing, then the total space-time need not have to be zero. No sane person on this earth will ever say that the total number of human beings in this universe must always have to be zero, because no sane person believes that human beings have directly appeared out of nothing. However if ‘x’ has directly appeared out of nothing, then logic and common sense dictates that the totality of that ‘x’ must always have to be zero.

Here it may be objected that there is a law of conservation of matter and energy in science, but that there is no such conservation law for space-time. So there is no violation of conservation law if nothing generates so much of space-time. Even if it is conceded that this is a valid objection – here I must say that I do not think so – it can still be pointed out that there is one more reason that can be given as to why the total space-time of the universe should always remain zero. This reason we find in Einstein’s general theory of relativity. As per GR space, time and matter are so interlinked that there cannot be any space-time without matter. Similarly there cannot be any matter without space-time. If there cannot be any space and time without matter, then the total matter of the universe being zero, the total space-time of the universe should also always be zero. So we can say that GR alone gives us sufficient reason to conclude that if the total matter of the universe always remains zero, then the total space-time of the universe should also always remain zero. Here the question becomes quite irrelevant as to whether the universe has originated from something, or from nothing.

So from GR we come to know that the total space-time of an ever-expanding universe should always remain zero, but we do not know yet how it does actually remain zero.

If science cannot give any satisfactory answer to this question, then the naturalistic world-view of modern science will prove to be inadequate for explaining the real world.

Reference:

  1. The Grand Design by Hawking and Mlodinow, Page 2819.

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