Tag Archives: William Lane Craig

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

 

A Critique of the Void

  • 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.