January 2007

At this moment I must apologize for my delays. Since it is summer I am very busy with many things and at times am away from a computer for long periods of time. For the next three weeks I will be extreemly busy and hope you will excuse my absence. However, if you feel like it you can still email me, it will just be a while till I answer it. I have just a few minutes so I will use them to answer your previous letter.

I agree with one part of your letter, there is another possible way that the earth came into existance. I do not however understand the difference of number five compared to number three.

The difference is the word “created.” Creation, to me, implies a creator, and in the context of this discussion it is somewhat of a loaded word.

If number three is to be placed in effect, the other world would have to be somehow there, and so on and so forth.

That is correct. Our universe could be part of an infinite series of universes.

Also, what particles are you talking about going into and out of existance? I am regretably not understanding that part.

This is a really complex topic that is a bit out of range of this Web site. However, you can probably find more about virtual particles by doing an Internet search for Hawking radiation or Feynman diagrams.

About the cause and effect question, relating to Albert Einstien’s theory, an action must have an equal and/or opposite reaction. So while in chemistry there is an equal reaction, everything else must have an opposite, or less reaction.

I don’t believe that Newton’s theory about equal and opposite reactions can be so easily dismissed. It seems to me that conservation of energy would require that cause and effect be equal. For example, when a bat hits a baseball, some of the cause goes into moving the ball, some into moving the batter, some into generating heat, etc. They should all add up so that input and output are the same. I may be missing your point here — do you have an example?

Besides the universe, please describe what besides the universe or anything else that is remotely related to Christian beliefs or things like that have a begining but no end?

I don’t know if the universe will have an end, and anything else I can think of is part of the universe.

The heat death is, to science, when intelligent life, aka us, will be destroyed. That is what most scientists refer to as the heat death. Insidentally, Christians believe too that the world will be destroyed by heat, or fire. Just add those two together. And I don’t know about you, but the universe collasping on itself seems kinda interesting. Don’t really know if it’ll happen though.

I disagree with your definition of heat death. My understanding is that the heat death of the universe will occur when the universe is in a state of maximum entropy and there is no free energy. My guess is that intelligent life will have died out long before that. Since this state would be very cold indeed, it’s sort of the opposite of the Christian belief you mention.

Also, a law in science is always permant. It will always be there. So the first Law of thermodynamics has always existed, whether or not we knew about it yet. And yes, it is impossible to prove what was there before the Universe.

Hefty concepts again. One small counterexample is that some believe that the second law of thermodynamics might be reversed if there is enough energy in the universe to lead to a “big crunch” some time in the far future. Also, we can’t “see” before the creation of our universe so we don’t know what things were like before that point in time (if it even makes sense to talk about “before” the big bang). It is possible that, for example, cosmological constants were different in a universe that came before ours.

Yet science lets us know that unless we can prove it, it doesn’t happen or exists.

On the contrary, science only tells us that unless we have evidence we cannot prove that something exists. Previous universes may exist, science just can’t prove (or disprove) it. The same is true for God, and you should welcome this fact because otherwise I would be able to tell you that you have to prove God exists before you believe in him. As it is, all I can say is that you need to prove God exists in order to convince me to believe in him.

Honestly, I have yet to hear a plausible theory. I hear some that twist the laws of science to make sense, and leave things to a one in a billion chance for more than one thing happening. Do your probability. It seems highly unlikely to me that millions of things happened when they only had a one in a billion chance of happening.

There are many interesting an plausible theories of the origin of the universe, including Stephen Hawking’s theory that (if I understand it correctly) there is no origin. The problem is that this is a relatively new and incredibly complex area of science, and most of it is in the realm of quantum physics, which is very weird and often difficult to experiment with.

Getting into probability can also be very confusing and misleading. The odds against you, personally, existing are billions and billions to one against, but I wouldn’t use this as proof that you do not exist. We also have to contend with the fact that if the odds hadn’t turned up in our favor, we wouldn’t be here to calculate them. Again, this is an enormous field for discussion.

In your second to last paragragh, why is it easier to believe a random causeless quantum than a diety?

Occam’s razor. I don’t have to make up anything significantly new to believe that the universe is the result of natural processes. True, there are still some unknowns, but filling those unknowns with an infinitely powerful, eternal, thinking, being that exists outside of this universe is quite a leap, and I need more evidence to make such a big leap.

Let me give you another example along these lines. When I was a kid, there was said to be some uncertainty about how the pyramids in Egypt were built. Some people used this uncertainty to postulate that aliens must have come from another planet and helped build them. By Occam’s razor, they should have exausted more plausible explanations before creating all these new, complex ideas. And as it turns out, new knowledge has given us a very good idea of how the pyramids were built by humans alone.

This is a favorite subject of mine so let me give you another example of an application of Occam. Let’s say that we find evidence that it was impossible for life to have evolved in the universe. Where does that leave us? Well, God could have made life. But how likely is that? Rather than one infinitely powerful deity, isn’t it more likely that there are many less powerful, such as the Greeks believed in? Some people would say that one powerful deity is more likely than many less powerful ones, just because believing in more deities sounds like you’re creating more things and therefore is less likely. But look at it this way — do you think it’s more probable that the pyramids were built by a lot of normal humans over a long period of time, or by one really, really big, strong human in a short period of time? Obviously the former. And whenever we appeal to Occam, we have to take into account not just the number of new things being created, but the number of new attributes those new things have.

God has a heck of a lot of attributes that need proving. A universe without a creator has very few.

Your last question at first made me stumble. Yet if a diety exists, then It made the rules and everything. If you created the rules of science, then you are immune to them. Why should you follow science rules when you created them?

The question under discussion is why God can be causeless but the universe can’t. It isn’t a matter of whether God must follow the rules of science, since we (I hope) agree that God is not within the realm of science. It’s a matter of, if we’re going to postulate that there are infinite things, then why not postulate that something we’re already sure of (the universe) is infinite instead of something outside the universe being infinite?

The laws of physics were created by humans to describe the universe. In the past, there have been many times when we’ve discovered that we got the descriptions wrong. If there were a law of physics that said everything had to have a cause, then quantum physics has proven it wrong. And even if it hadn’t, I’d rather look into changing the law to “everything has to have a cause except for the universe itself” instead of “everything has to have a cause except for an infinite being that exists outside the universe.”

Next time I will add more to show to you that God does exist, and answer any questions that goes along with this letter. I hope I have answered your letter to your satisfaction. I have one question to ask you before we close this letter. Does love exist? Science cannot prove love. Most people do say that there is love, but they only see that through faith. Sometimes it takes more faith than science, because sometimes science can be broken. Thank you.

Sure love exists. So do hunger, hope, faith, fanaticism, joy, and insanity. These are human conditions. Science cannot prove love, except for in a boring chemical-reaction-in-the-brain way, but that’s okay because it’s outside the realm of science. So is faith — science can’t prove it because it’s totally subjective and none of science’s business. Once you try and put God on science’s doorstep, you are going to find yourself struggling quite a bit because they do not fit well together. But if you keep God in the realm of faith, you may lose your hope of proving his existence to the atheistic scientist, but you will also find yourself immune to attacks on your faith from a scientific standpoint.

I would love to continue our discussion if you really think that you can prove to me that God exists. But let me ask you this as I have asked others, are these arguments you’re giving me your reasons for believing in God? If I can find holes in all of them, will you stop believing? If not, then why do you use these arguments at all? Why not try and convince me to believe in God for the same reason you believe.

Finally, you’re right that sometimes science can be broken. But science has a mechanism for fixing itself. When faith, on the other hand, goes bad, it generally stays bad. That is why I ask people of faith to please, please be careful with it.

Posted on January 30, 2007 at 11:19 pm by ideclare · Permalink
In: Evidence

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