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Saturday, September 16, 2006

Big Bang Part Two

Radar,

"chancedidit is no different than godditit."


I'll grant you that, if you'll grant that "we don't know" is very different from goddidit.


Thus saith Cranky Old Fart. It is true, then, that when someone with a naturalistic/evolutionist point of view says that "God did it" is useless because it explains nothing, they are also pointing the finger at their own viewpoint, which incorporates "chance did it."

I would also say that if you can honestly say, "I don't know" you might also wish to try to find out. This is why I study and research and, in part, why I make blog posts.

~~~~~~~

Many, if not most in the evolutionist camp, are uncomfortable with the idea with a finite beginning to the Universe, since it limits the amount of time evolution would need to be conceivably possible. Let's continue along with Dr. Fritz Schaefer where we left off...

To understand the intensity of the objections to the idea that the universe had a beginning, an excursus may be helpful. Again following Hugh Ross, let us note the five traditional arguments for the existence of God. These arguments may be found in Augustine, and they were of course further elaborated by Thomas Aquinas. This may seem an unlikely starting point for our topic, but I think you will see as we proceed that these arguments keep coming up. I am not going to take a position on whether these arguments are valid, but I will state them, because throughout current discussions of cosmology these arguments are often cited:

1)The cosmological argument: the effect of the universe's existence must have a suitable cause.

2)The teleological argument: the design of the universe implies a purpose or direction behind it.

3)The rational argument: the operation of the universe according to order and natural law implies a mind behind it.

4)The ontological argument: man's ideas of God (his God- consciousness, if you like) implies a God who imprinted such a consciousness.

5)The moral argument: man's built-in sense of right and wrong can be accounted for only by an innate awareness of a code of law - an awareness implanted by a higher being.


We will, as you suspect, come back to these five points. These are classic points of discussion not only for philosophers but cosmologists.

So then, why has there been such resistance to the idea of a definite beginning of the universe? Much of it goes right back to that first argument, the cosmological argument. It may be useful to break down the cosmological argument into three parts:

I-Everything that begins to exist must have a cause;
II-If the universe began to exist, then
III-The universe must have a cause.

You can see the direction in which this argument is flowing - a direction of discomfort to some physicists and others knowledgeable about these matters. Such a person was the Princeton physicist Robert Dicke, advocate of the infinitely oscillating theory of the universe, of which we will say more later. Dicke stated in 1965 that an infinitely old universe "would relieve us of the necessity of understanding the origin of matter at any finite time in the past."


Unfortunately for steady state believers of all kinds (their numbers are rapidly dwindling), there is no evidence to bolster their ideas. What we are able to glean from observations of the Universe is that it did, indeed, have a beginning and is a dynamic, ever changing thing. No matter how far away from our earth you look, everything seems to have a beginning and an ending.

The Big Bang Unveiled

In 1946 George Gamow (1904-1968), a Russian-born American physicist, proposed that the primeval fireball, the "Big Bang," was an intense concentration of pure energy. It was the source of all the matter that now exists in the universe. The Big Bang Theory predicts that all the galaxies in the universe should be rushing away from each other at high speeds as a result of that initial event, which some have described as a singular explosion. A possible future dictionary definition of the hot big bang theory encompasses the idea that the entire physical universe, all the matter and energy and even the four dimensions of time and space, burst forth from a state of infinite or near infinite density, temperature, and pressure.

The 1965 observation of the microwave background radiation by Arno Penzias (1933-) and Robert Wilson (1936-) of the Bell Telephone Laboratories (regrettably partially dismantled following the breakup of AT&T) convinced most scientists of the validity of the Big Bang Theory. Further observations reported in 1992 have moved the Big Bang Theory from a consensus view to the nearly unanimous view among cosmologists: there was an origin to the universe, perhaps 13-15 billion years ago. My former Berkeley colleague Joseph Silk and his coworkers gave a brief summary of the evidence for the Big Bang Theory in their February 17, 1995 review paper in Science magazine:

The hot big bang model is enormously successful. It provides the framework for understanding the expansion of the universe, the cosmic background radiation, and the primeval abundance of light elements, as well as a general picture of how the structure seen in the universe today was formed.

Many scientists have been willing to comment on the philosophical consequences of the Big Bang Theory. For example, Arno Penzias, co-discoverer of the microwave background radiation and 1978 Nobel Prize recipient in physics, stated to the New York Times on March 12, 1978: "The best data we have (concerning the big bang) are exactly what I would have predicted, had I nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms, the Bible as a whole."

When asked more recently (in Denis Brian's 1995 book Genius Talk) why some cosmologists were so affectionate in their embrace of the steady state theory (the idea that the universe is infinitely old) of the origin of the universe, Penzias responded: "Well, some people are uncomfortable with the purposefully created world. To come up with things that contradict purpose, they tend to speculate about things they haven't seen."

Perhaps the most amusing statement in this regard came from Cambridge University physicist Dennis Sciama, one of the most distinguished advocates of the steady state theory of the universe. Shortly after he gave up on the steady state hypothesis, Sciama stated: "The steady state theory has a sweep and beauty that for some unaccountable reason the architect of the universe appears to have overlooked." Of course we theoretical scientists have an abundance of excuses for why our cherished theories sometimes fail. But the notion of blaming our failures on the "architect of the universe" is very creative.


Scientists who are unwilling to consider God as the Creator of the Universe preferred the steady state concept. In the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, they very reluctantly give up their hoped-for scenarios. This is, in part, because the evidence supports the idea that the Universe was created. Future posts will bring more evidence to light to support this idea. Certainly the concensus among cosmologists now is that the Universe had a definite beginning.

~~~~~~~

Let us review the current set of questions. I will put in my personal answers and I would like to urge you to consider what your answers would be, and perhaps even share them in the comments section:

1)The cosmological argument: the effect of the universe's existence must have a suitable cause.

This seems to be a no-brainer. Yes, of course!

2)The teleological argument: the design of the universe implies a purpose or direction behind it.

The fine-tuning of the Universe has been mentioned here before. Here is a list of 154 examples of such fine-tuning. I certainly believe the Universe demonstrates the evidence of design, purpose and direction.

3)The rational argument: the operation of the universe according to order and natural law implies a mind behind it.

This is why science is science: Man found very early on that the operations of nature were quite logical and orderly. Scientists rely strongly on the rationality and order found in existence. Those rare exceptions prove the rule. Yes.

4)The ontological argument: man's ideas of God (his God- consciousness, if you like) implies a God who imprinted such a consciousness.

I believe this is the first statement that is less clear to me. I can see how men might believe that man invented the idea of God to explain things that were beyond his understanding. I do agree with this statement, however, because God has asserted this in the Bible. Here is the quote from Ecclesiastes 3:11:

"He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end."

I do believe that God has put the understanding within man that there is a God, and that man has to talk himself out of this inherent belief.


5)The moral argument: man's built-in sense of right and wrong can be accounted for only by an innate awareness of a code of law - an awareness implanted by a higher being.

Romans 1:18 & 19 - "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them."

I believe God has enabled man to know right from wrong, to some extent, inherently. There are those who would say that morality evolved as part of the ascension of man from beast to a higher plane. Most of these same people deny God and also the principles contained within the Bible. Thus, the decline of morality in places where God is not honored and man is worshipped in His place. Like San Francisco, a city of great beauty and great depravity.

Romans chapter once continues through verse 23 here - "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things."

Hmmm, could that be, in part at least, a reference to evolutionists who deny God and give nature the glory for developing itself???

2 comments:

cranky old fart said...

Radar,

Guess you missed the point, as usual.

"we don't know" IS very, very different from Goddidit.

"I would also say that if you can honestly say, "I don't know" you might also wish to try to find out"

Duh.

That's what science is all about.

Goddidit has nothing to do with the "finding out". It, as a practical matter, explains nothing. It covers the unknown with a blanket of scripture leading nowhere.

The bankruptcy of Godidit "explanations" are revealed by returning to our fundamental question:

Name one, just one, invention or scientific advancement brought about through the incorporation of a supernatural explanation.

creeper said...

"Many, if not most in the evolutionist camp, are uncomfortable with the idea with a finite beginning to the Universe, since it limits the amount of time evolution would need to be conceivably possible."

Could you name, say, ten people in the evolutionist camp who are uncomfortable with the idea?

I don't think this is as much of an issue as you like to think it is. Simply because the finite beginning of the scientific consensus of cosmology (i.e. the Big Bang) doesn't clash with the scientific consensus of the evolutionary timeline. So why would there be a problem with trying to find more time? Even if more time were to be found, according to current understanding it would be "on the other side" of the Big Bang, and not useful regarding any supposedly necessary tinkering with the evolutionary timeline.

It's not exactly something that those who believe in naturalistic evolution according to the consensus timeline are sweating over.