Cosmology News

But why IS physicist Lawrence Krauss a celeb? Or is he?

Spread the love


Now a month after the fact, cosmologist and “skeptic” Lawrence Krauss has made another attempt at damage control in the wake of that wildly popular Christmas Day article by Eric Metaxas in the Wall Street Journal. The Metaxas essay, which went viral, argued that science increasingly makes the case for God. The first try by Dr. Krauss was obviously rushed, and wasn’t published by the WSJ, though the Richard Dawkins Foundation did post it on their website. His current and much more mature effort appears in The New Yorker (“No, Astrobiology Has Not Made the Case for God”).

To put Krauss’s comments in context, he has been a vociferous critic of any idea suggestive of intelligent design, and so his feigned surprise at the arguments in the Metaxas article isn’t very convincing. His own recent book, A Universe from Nothing, is interesting in that he ultimately equivocates on the meaning of “nothing,” settling on a definition that is not the kind of nothing from which theists posit that the universe came. In replying to Eric Metaxas, he adopts a tone of disdain and condescension, continuing to emphasize that Metaxas

Maybe Krauss owns the rights to that tone.

He tried it on me (O’Leary for News) back in 2009 in some place in Canada northlands here, and like, I am just your news writer:

For the record, Dr. Krauss brought up religion, not me. Curiously, his certainty about the assured end of the (definitely flat) universe and the end of science as part of the preceding Tribulation evoked fundamentalist Bible camps. Later, Dr. Krauss expanded on this “misunderstood, or mis-represented” theme elsewhere, whereupon the moderator replied, defending my reputation as a journalist. Golly, you don’t get many bouquets in this business. But when people slam you for hearing both sides, you are certainly headed in the right direction.

Guess a guy can’t be too zealous in defending his trademark.

But how much is the trademark worth?

And is this guy worth his fees any more? You decide.

See also: The Science Fictions series at your fingertips (cosmology).

Follow UD News at Twitter!

22 Replies to “But why IS physicist Lawrence Krauss a celeb? Or is he?

  1. 1
    JDH says:

    Krauss obfuscates incredibly by the story of the itinerary he presents. He conflates the necessary with the unimportant details ( he was in SF – not essential, he made a certain series of traffic lights -not essential, he was screened by a certain airport screener – not essential, he boarded a plane flown by a certain pilot – not essential. ) All these details are not essential, because his opinion that he was going to write could have been written in ANY city, in ANY location, in ANY airport, he could have been screened by ANY screener, flown by ANY pilot, and he would have written the SAME drivel. In other words the details he mentions of his particular journey are not essential to the output or to the phenomenon of his incredibly stupid argument.

    This is a really stupid mistake.

    Since a smart man is driven to make such a stupid mistake, I think he ends up supporting Metaxas instead of defeating him.

  2. 2

    You asked why Larry is a celeb. Somebody once said that Paris Hilton was famous for being famous. This happens to scientists too. Somehow, when they start going on the speaking circuit, they stop doing science and become famous for talking about science. It happened to Carl Sagan, it happened to Paul Davies, it happened to (yes, even him) Richard Dawkins. All of these guys did something after their PhD that made them famous–they wrote a book, they fronted a controversial new theory, they made a prediction. But after this scientific fame gave them speaking fees, they stopped doing science.

    Now this is different than, say, Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, or Roger Penrose. This group of fellows turned down most speaking engagements because they wanted to work on their science. Hawking finally gave up science because he can’t write a paragraph in less than a hour and can’t even doodle on a blackboard anymore, so he can only solve problems he can keep in his head. But this is a reluctant celeb, if such a thing exists.

    Larry is in the Sagan camp of jubilant celebs, who enjoy the privilege of airtime to spout on all their favorite hobbies. As a result, he has reduced himself to the level of Paris Hilton, famous for being famous. And once on that Red Queen race toward fame, he has to spout increasingly greater and greater inanities to get that 15 minutes of press attention. Like James Watson, he will one day cross over the line of the ever-shifting media ROE and find the silence deafening.

  3. 3

    That is a well thought out comment Robert Sheldon!

    I have been wondering how to reply to comments in regards to a problem that I think can be summed up as the ID movement celebs not being helpful to those who are (or want to be) busy working on the science:

    Reluctant celebs do exist. In the case of ID it’s like being forced to get good at repeating slogans that draw a religious audience to a “theory” that does not even have to exist for it to be a marketing success. As with the theory my name links to the science can take some 1000 hours of computer modeling time with your own models just to have experience with the basics. It’s easier to not bother with detail of what is now understood and can be experimented with or else it’s like something a teacher has to force them to study or they will never read it. The average leisure reader does not want a science book that can take them years to make sense of so fluff sells, for at least a little while. Thankfully though the only thing that stands the test of generations of time are the good ideas from those who stayed busy on their science work. The celebs are usually left showing how little their generation actually knew.

  4. 4
    udat says:


    Curtain falls on BICEP2 result

    As predictably as the heroine’s death in an opera, the biggest claim in cosmology in years has finally officially unraveled. Last March, cosmologists working with a specialized telescope at the South Pole called BICEP2 claimed direct evidence that in the first fraction of a second after the big bang, the universe underwent a bizarre exponential growth spurt called inflation. The signs came in their study of the big bang’s afterglow, the cosmic microwave background (CMB). But now, in a joint analysis with cosmologists working with the European Space Agency’s (ESA’s) Planck spacecraft, BICEP researchers take back that claim and report no such signs of inflation, according to a press release issued by ESA.

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    The Daniel Bakken article was an excellent defence of Metaxas’s WSJ article:

    Once Again Going After Eric Metaxas, Now in The New Yorker, Lawrence Krauss Opts for Misdirection – Daniel Bakken – January 27, 2015
    Excerpt: I find it fascinating that Dr. Krauss doesn’t dispute the number of such parameters. As a thought experiment, let’s us do a highly approximate back-of-the-envelope calculation. Very generously, we’ll give each parameter a 1 in 10 probability, that is to say a chance of 10 percent. We don’t yet have accurate numbers for all the relevant parameters, but with many of them the odds are certainly much smaller than that. Given these assumptions, a planet with Earth’s characteristics, allowing it to support human-like life, represents a very rough probability of 1 in 10200. Compare that with the number of stars in the visible universe. That number is 10^22, giving us the odds of there existing even one planet like Earth in all those stars as 1 chance in 10^178.

    Eric Metaxas originally got his, (understated), numbers from the over 30 years of research by astrophysicist Dr. Hugh Ross and his team:

    Hugh Ross – Multiple Parameters Required For Earth To Support Life (10^-1054) – video

    Does the Probability for ETI = 1?
    Excerpt: On the Reasons To Believe website we document that the probability a randomly selected planet would possess all the characteristics intelligent life requires is less than 10^-304. A recent update that will be published with my next book, Hidden Purposes: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is, puts that probability at 10^-1054.

    Linked from Appendix C from Dr. Ross’s book, ‘Why the Universe Is the Way It Is’;
    Probability for occurrence of all 816 parameters approx. equals 10^-1333
    dependency factors estimate approx. equals 10^324
    longevity requirements estimate approx. equals 10^45
    Probability for occurrence of all 816 parameters approx. equals 10^-1054
    Maximum possible number of life support bodies in observable universe approx. equals 10^22

    Thus, less than 1 chance in 10^1032 exists that even one such life-support body would occur anywhere in the universe without invoking divine miracles.

    Although Bakken’s, and others, articles were very good in their defense of Metaxas, my gripe against Eric Metaxas’s, and his defenders, science is not against the science, but that the science does not go deep enough. For example, in the Privileged Planet video,,,

    The Privileged Planet – video playlist

    In the Privileged Planet video, although they do focus on probabilities as Metaxas and most of his defenders did, the focus in the video is not so much on probabilities as it is on the fact that there is a ‘spooky’ correlation of habitability and observability

    The Privileged Planet – The Correlation Of Habitability and Observability
    “The same narrow circumstances that allow us to exist also provide us with the best over all conditions for making scientific discoveries.”
    – Guillermo Gonzalez – Astronomer;f=false

    The very conditions that make Earth hospitable to intelligent life also make it well suited to viewing and analyzing the universe as a whole.
    – Jay Richards

    Indeed, since the Privileged Planet video came out, this thesis that the universe is ‘set up’ to be discovered by life like human life has only gotten stronger. Indeed the Copernican principle, (i.e. the idea that the earth has no privileged position in the universe since it is not center of the solar system), itself has been questioned:

    Why is the solar system cosmically aligned? BY Dragan Huterer – 2007
    The solar system seems to line up with the largest cosmic features. Is this mere coincidence or a signpost to deeper insights?
    Caption under figure on page 43:
    ODD ALIGNMENTS hide within the multipoles of the cosmic microwave background. In this combination of the quadrupole and octopole, a plane bisects the sphere between the largest warm and cool lobes. The ecliptic — the plane of Earth’s orbit projected onto the celestial sphere — is aligned parallel to the plane between the lobes.

    Is there a violation of the Copernican principle in radio sky? – Ashok K. Singal – May 17, 2013
    Abstract: Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR) observations from the WMAP satellite have shown some unexpected anisotropies (directionally dependent observations), which surprisingly seem to be aligned with the eclipticcite {20,16,15}. The latest data from the Planck satellite have confirmed the presence of these anisotropiescite {17}. Here we report even larger anisotropies in the sky distributions of powerful extended quasars and some other sub-classes of radio galaxies in the 3CRR catalogue, one of the oldest and most intensively studies sample of strong radio sourcescite{21,22,3}. The anisotropies lie about a plane passing through the two equinoxes and the north celestial pole (NCP). We can rule out at a 99.995% confidence level the hypothesis that these asymmetries are merely due to statistical fluctuations. Further, even the distribution of observed radio sizes of quasars and radio galaxies show large systematic differences between these two sky regions. The redshift distribution appear to be very similar in both regions of sky for all sources, which rules out any local effects to be the cause of these anomalies. Two pertinent questions then arise. First, why should there be such large anisotropies present in the sky distribution of some of the most distant discrete sources implying inhomogeneities in the universe at very large scales (covering a fraction of the universe)? What is intriguing even further is why such anisotropies should lie about a great circle decided purely by the orientation of earth’s rotation axis and/or the axis of its revolution around the sun? It looks as if these axes have a preferential placement in the larger scheme of things, implying an apparent breakdown of the Copernican principle or its more generalization, cosmological principle, upon which all modern cosmological theories are based upon.

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    And as Dr. Robin Collins recently discovered, even the Cosmic Background Radiation appears to be ‘set up’ to be discovered by life like human life:

    The Fine-Tuning for Discoverability – Robin Collins – March 22, 2014
    Excerpt: Predictive and Explanatory Power of Discoverability – Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation
    Prediction: DLO: Within the range of values of a given parameter p that yield near – optimal livability, p will fall into that subrange of values that maximize discoverability (given constraints of elegance are not violated).
    In every case that I was able to make calculations regarding whether the fundamental parameters of physics are optimized in this way, they appear to pass the test.[iv] This alone is significant since this hypothesis is falsifiable in the sense that one could find data that potentially disconfirms it – namely, cases in which as best as we can determining, such as a case in which changing the value of a fundamental parameter – such as the fine – structure constant – increases discoverability while not negatively affecting livability.[v] Below, I will look at a case from cosmology where this thesis could have been disconfirmed but was not.,,,
    The most dramatic confirmation of the discoverability/livability optimality thesis (DLO) is the dependence of the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMB) on the baryon to photon ratio.,,,
    …the intensity of CMB depends on the photon to baryon ratio, (??b), which is the ratio of the average number of photons per unit volume of space to the average number of baryons (protons plus neutrons) per unit volume. At present this ratio is approximately a billion to one (10^9) , but it could be anywhere from one to infinity; it traces back to the degree of asymmetry in matter and anti – matter right after the beginning of the universe – for approximately every billion particles of antimatter, there was a billion and one particles of matter.,,,
    The only livability effect this ratio has is on whether or not galaxies can form that have near – optimally livability zones. As long as this condition is met, the value of this ratio has no further effects on livability. Hence, the DLO predicts that within this range, the value of this ratio will be such as to maximize the intensity of the CMB as observed by typical observers.
    According to my calculations – which have been verified by three other physicists — to within the margin of error of the experimentally determined parameters (~20%), the value of the photon to baryon ratio is such that it maximizes the CMB. This is shown in Figure 1 below. (pg. 13)
    It is easy to see that this prediction could have been disconfirmed. In fact, when I first made the calculations in the fall of 2011, I made a mistake and thought I had refuted this thesis since those calculations showed the intensity of the CMB maximizes at a value different than the photon – baryon ratio in our universe. So, not only does the DLO lead us to expect this ratio, but it provides an ultimate explanation for why it has this value,,, This is a case of a teleological thesis serving both a predictive and an ultimate explanatory role.,,,

    Greer Heard Forum: Robin Collins – “God and the Fine-Tuning of the Universe for Discovery” – video

    And Dr. Michael Denton, who may rightly be called the father of the modern Intelligent Design movement, has recently pointed out that even the chemistry of the universe seems to be ‘set up’ to be of maximum benefit for life like human life:

    The Place of Life and Man in Nature: Defending the Anthropocentric Thesis – Michael J. Denton – February 25, 2013
    Summary (page 11)
    Many of the properties of the key members of Henderson’s vital ensemble —water, oxygen, CO2, HCO3 —are in several instances fit specifically for warm-blooded, air-breathing organisms such as ourselves. These include the thermal properties of water, its low viscosity, the gaseous nature of oxygen and CO2 at ambient temperatures, the inertness of oxygen at ambient temperatures, and the bicarbonate buffer, with its anomalous pKa value and the elegant means of acid-base regulation it provides for air-breathing organisms. Some of their properties are irrelevant to other classes of organisms or even maladaptive.
    It is very hard to believe there could be a similar suite of fitness for advanced carbon-based life forms. If carbon-based life is all there is, as seems likely, then the design of any active complex terrestrial being would have to closely resemble our own. Indeed the suite of properties of water, oxygen, and CO2 together impose such severe constraints on the design and functioning of the respiratory and cardiovascular systems that their design, even down to the details of capillary and alveolar structure can be inferred from first principles. For complex beings of high metabolic rate, the designs actualized in complex Terran forms are all that can be. There are no alternative physiological designs in the domain of carbon-based life that can achieve the high metabolic activity manifest in man and other higher organisms.

    Privileged Species – Trailer

    Then there is the ‘anthropic inequality’ which also seems to indicate that the universe was ‘set up’ for humans:

    Lucky Us: Turning the Copernican Principle on Its Head – Daniel Bakken – January 26, 2015
    Excerpt: What if intelligence and technology hadn’t arisen in Earth’s habitability time window? Waltham in Lucky Planet asks “So, how do we explain the remarkable coincidence that the timescale for the emergence of intelligence is almost the same as the timescale for habitability?” Researchers Carter and Watson have dubbed this idea the anthropic inequality and it seems surprising, if it is not for some purpose.,,,

    Hugh Ross – The Anthropic Principle and The Anthropic Inequality – video (23:00 minute mark)

    Anthropic Principle: A Precise Plan for Humanity By Hugh Ross
    Excerpt: Brandon Carter, the British mathematician who coined the term “anthropic principle” (1974), noted the strange inequity of a universe that spends about 15 billion years “preparing” for the existence of a creature that has the potential to survive no more than 10 million years (optimistically).,, Carter and (later) astrophysicists John Barrow and Frank Tipler demonstrated that the inequality exists for virtually any conceivable intelligent species under any conceivable life-support conditions. Roughly 15 billion years represents a minimum preparation time for advanced life: 11 billion toward formation of a stable planetary system, one with the right chemical and physical conditions for primitive life, and four billion more years toward preparation of a planet within that system, one richly layered with the biodeposits necessary for civilized intelligent life. Even this long time and convergence of “just right” conditions reflect miraculous efficiency.
    Moreover the physical and biological conditions necessary to support an intelligent civilized species do not last indefinitely. They are subject to continuous change: the Sun continues to brighten, Earth’s rotation period lengthens, Earth’s plate tectonic activity declines, and Earth’s atmospheric composition varies. In just 10 million years or less, Earth will lose its ability to sustain human life. In fact, this estimate of the human habitability time window may be grossly optimistic. In all likelihood, a nearby supernova eruption, a climatic perturbation, a social or environmental upheaval, or the genetic accumulation of negative mutations will doom the species to extinction sometime sooner than twenty thousand years from now.

    Here is a quote of related interest in regards to how the Cosmic Background Radiation forms a sphere around the earth:

    “People need to be aware that there is a range of models that could explain the observations… For instance, I can construct you a spherically symmetrical universe with Earth at its center, and you cannot disprove it based on observations… You can only exclude it on philosophical grounds… What I want to bring into the open is the fact that we are using philosophical criteria in choosing our models. A lot of cosmology tries to hide that.”
    – George Ellis

    The following site is also very interesting to the topic of ‘centrality in the universe’;

    The Scale of The Universe – Part 2 – interactive graph (recently updated in 2012 with cool features)

    The preceding interactive graph and video points out that the smallest scale visible to the human eye (as well as a human egg) is at 10^-4 meters, which ‘just so happens’ to be directly in the exponential center of all possible sizes of our physical reality. As far as the exponential graph itself is concerned, 10^-4 is, exponentially, right in the middle of 10^-35 meters, which is the smallest possible unit of length, which is Planck length, and 10^27 meters, which is the largest possible unit of ‘observable’ length since space-time was created in the Big Bang, which is the diameter of the universe. This is very interesting for, as far as I can tell, the limits to human vision (as well as the size of the human egg) could have, theoretically, been at very different positions than directly in the exponential middle.

    Also of note, quantum mechanics tells us that ‘conscious observation’ is of primary importance in regards to physical reality, thus overturning the Copernican principle from an even deeper level of our understanding of physical reality:

    Quantum Enigma:Physics Encounters Consciousness – Richard Conn Henry – Professor of Physics – John Hopkins University
    Excerpt: It is more than 80 years since the discovery of quantum mechanics gave us the most fundamental insight ever into our nature: the overturning of the Copernican Revolution, and the restoration of us human beings to centrality in the Universe.
    And yet, have you ever before read a sentence having meaning similar to that of my preceding sentence? Likely you have not, and the reason you have not is, in my opinion, that physicists are in a state of denial…

  7. 7
    bornagain77 says:

    Thus, while I certainly agree with the science that Eric Metaxas references in his WSJ article, and am pleased with the overall defence of Metaxas by ID proponents, I’m disappointed that the defences of Metaxas’s WSJ article, by people who know the evidence much better than Metaxas, did not include the much richer evidence we now have that now overturns the Copernican principle at a far deeper level than it had been previously. Of course it is hard to bring all this evidence out in short articles, but I still fell that this deeper evidence could have been hashed out a little better than it was.

    Verse and Music:

    Isaiah 45:18-19
    For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens, who is God, who formed the earth and made it, who established it, who did not create it in vain, who formed it to be inhabited: “I am the Lord, and there is no other. I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth; I did not say to the seed of Jacob, ‘seek me in vain’; I, the Lord speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.”

    Kari Jobe – Revelation Song –

  8. 8
    Seversky says:

    Let’s see now, on questions of science am I going to give greater weight to the opinions of an “author, speaker, and TV host” or an eminent physicist with a distinguished track record of research in his field? Hmmm, difficult one. Not.

  9. 9
    Me_Think says:

    udat @ 4
    Just to be clear – CMBR itself is proof of inflation. What was withdrawn is the discovery of gravitational wave, which was in doubt right from the beginning.

  10. 10
    bornagain77 says:

    Me-Think, that’s right buddy, inflation, just like Darwinism, don’t need no stinking substantiating evidence!

    Shoot, It doesn’t even matter to atheists that inflation predicts everything and therefore predicts nothing:

    Cosmic inflation is dead, long live cosmic inflation – 25 September 2014
    Excerpt: Paul Steinhardt of Princeton University, who helped develop inflationary theory but is now scathing of it, says this is potentially a blow for the theory, but that it pales in significance with inflation’s other problems.
    Meet the multiverse
    Steinhardt says the idea that inflationary theory produces any observable predictions at all – even those potentially tested by BICEP2 – is based on a simplification of the theory that simply does not hold true.
    “The deeper problem is that once inflation starts, it doesn’t end the way these simplistic calculations suggest,” he says. “Instead, due to quantum physics it leads to a multiverse where the universe breaks up into an infinite number of patches. The patches explore all conceivable properties as you go from patch to patch. So that means it doesn’t make any sense to say what inflation predicts, except to say it predicts everything. If it’s physically possible, then it happens in the multiverse someplace
    Steinhardt says the point of inflation was to explain a remarkably simple universe. “So the last thing in the world you should be doing is introducing a multiverse of possibilities to explain such a simple thing,” he says. “I think it’s telling us in the clearest possible terms that we should be able to understand this and when we understand it it’s going to come in a model that is extremely simple and compelling. And we thought inflation was it – but it isn’t.”

    A Matter of Considerable Gravity: On the Purported Detection of Gravitational Waves and Cosmic Inflation – Bruce Gordon – April 4, 2014
    Excerpt: Thirdly, at least two paradoxes result from the inflationary multiverse proposal that suggest our place in such a multiverse must be very special: the “Boltzmann Brain Paradox” and the “Youngness Paradox.” In brief, if the inflationary mechanism is autonomously operative in a way that generates a multiverse, then with probability indistinguishable from one (i.e., virtual necessity) the typical observer in such a multiverse is an evanescent thermal fluctuation with memories of a past that never existed (a Boltzmann brain) rather than an observer of the sort we take ourselves to be. Alternatively, by a second measure, post-inflationary universes should overwhelmingly have just been formed, which means that our existence in an old universe like our own has a probability that is effectively zero (i.e., it’s nigh impossible). So if our universe existed as part of such a multiverse, it would not be at all typical, but rather infinitely improbable (fine-tuned) with respect to its age and compatibility with stable life-forms.

    Sean Carroll channels Giordano Bruno – Robert Sheldon – November 2011
    Excerpt: ‘In fact, on Lakatos’ analysis, both String Theory and Inflation are clearly “degenerate science programs”.’,,,
    The sad part about Carroll’s piece, is that it confirms one of Jaki’s hypotheses–that what stopped the science of the golden age of Greece, what stopped the science of the Chinese or the Babylonians or the Caliphate was not politics, not anti-science reactionaries, not an epidemic of stupidity, but bad metaphysics. Bad metaphysics can turn any “progressive science program” into a “degenerate” one, and this infatuation with multiverses is sucking the life of hundreds of grad students, the resources of a hundred tenure-track cosmologists into the impossible task of predicting the unobservable.
    They’d be better off studying theology.

    Moreover, CMBR is proof of creation not inflation:

    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.
    Dr. Arno Penzias, Nobel Laureate in Physics – co-discoverer of the Cosmic Background Radiation – as stated to the New York Times on March 12, 1978

    “Certainly there was something that set it all off,,, I can’t think of a better theory of the origin of the universe to match Genesis”
    Robert Wilson – Nobel laureate – co-discover Cosmic Background Radiation

    “There is no doubt that a parallel exists between the big bang as an event and the Christian notion of creation from nothing.”
    George Smoot – Nobel laureate in 2006 for his work on COBE

    “Now we see how the astronomical evidence supports the biblical view of the origin of the world. The details differ, but the essential elements in the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis are the same: the chain of events leading to man commenced suddenly and sharply at a definite moment in time, in a flash of light and energy.”
    Robert Jastrow – Founder of NASA’s Goddard Institute – Pg.15 ‘God and the Astronomers’

    “The Bible is frequently dismissed as being anti-scientific because it makes no predictions. Oh no, that is incorrect. It makes a brilliant prediction. For centuries it has been saying there was a beginning. And if scientists had taken that a bit more seriously they might have discovered evidence for a beginning a lot earlier than they did.”
    John Lennox

  11. 11
    bornagain77 says:

    Seversky, so when were you first enamored by Krauss’s genius?

    When he redefined nothing?

    Lawrence Krauss vs The Dictionary – video

    Or when he said 2+2=5?

    2+2=5? (Lawrence Krauss vs William Lane Craig) – video


  12. 12
    Me_Think says:

    bornagain77 @ 10,
    So now you are enamoured with Steinhardt’s Colliding barn Big Crunch theory ?!. Do you understand it is derived from String theory?

  13. 13
    bornagain77 says:

    Me_Think, no, I’m pretty much as contemptuous of the non-falsifiability of string theory as I am of the non-falsifiablity of inflation (and Darwinism):

    Theory Bubbles – Peter Woit – April 2012
    Excerpt: With no reality check, a less than rigorous hypothesis such as string theory may linger on,,,, By contrast, a hypothesis such as string theory, which attempts to unify quantum mechanics with Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity, has so far not been tested critically by experimental data, even over a time span equivalent to a physicist’s career.

    String theory landscape picture is an extremely ill-defined conjectural – Oct 25, 2014
    “Are there any plausible alternatives to string/M-theory as a fundamental theory of physics?
    Does string theory make any cosmological predictions? Does it exclude anything?
    As far as I can tell, there’s an odd consensus set of answers to these two questions among string theorists. No, string theory makes no predictions about cosmology, but also no, there are no alternatives.”
    Peter Woit, Professor at Colombia University:

    The part of the book (‘The Trouble With Physics’) I found most interesting was the part which tells how the string theorists were scammed by Nature (or Mathematics). Of course, Smolin doesn’t put it exactly like this, but imagine the following conversation.———
    String theorists: We’ve got the Standard Model, and it works great, but it doesn’t include gravity, and it doesn’t explain lots of other stuff, like why all the elementary particles have the masses they do. We need a new, broader theory.
    Nature: Here’s a great new theory I can sell you. It combines quantum field theory and gravity, and there’s only one adjustable parameter in it, so all you have to do is find the right value of that parameter, and the Standard Model will pop right out.
    String theorists: We’ll take it.
    String theorists (some time later): Wait a minute, Nature, our new theory won’t fit into our driveway. String theory has ten dimensions, and our driveway only has four.
    Nature: I can sell you a Calabi-Yau manifold. These are really neat gadgets, and they’ll fold up string theory into four dimensions, no problem.
    String theorists: We’ll take one of those as well, please.
    Nature: Happy to help.
    String theorists (some time later): Wait a minute, Nature, there’s too many different ways to fold our Calabi-Yao manifold up. And it keeps trying to come unfolded. And string theory is only compatible with a negative cosmological constant, and we own a positive one.
    Nature: No problem. Just let me tie this Calabi-Yao manifold up with some strings and branes, and maybe a little duct tape, and you’ll be all set.
    String theorists: But our beautiful new theory is so ugly now!
    Nature: Ah! But the Anthropic Principle says that all the best theories are ugly.
    String theorists: It does?
    Nature: It does. And once you make it the fashion to be ugly, you’ll ensure that other theories will never beat you in beauty contests.
    String theorists: Hooray! Hooray! Look at our beautiful new theory.
    ———- Okay, I’ve taken a few liberties here. But according to Smolin’s book, string theory did start out looking like a very promising theory. And, like a scam, as it looks less and less promising, it’s hard to resist the temptation to throw good money (or research) after bad in the hope of getting something back for your effort.

    A Capella Science – Bohemian Gravity! – video

    Bohemian Gravity – Rob Sheldon – September 19, 2013
    Excerpt: there’s a large contingent of physicists who believe that string theory is the heroin of theoretical physics. It has absorbed not just millions of dollars, but hundreds if not thousands of grad student lifetimes without delivering what it promised–a unified theory of the universe and life. It is hard, in fact, to find a single contribution from string theory despite 25 years of intense effort by thousands of the very brightest and best minds our society can find.,,
    This negative result is remarkable, and says something that no one wants to hear–that materialism as a philosophy of science, is spent, is toast, is worthless.

  14. 14
    Me_Think says:

    bornagain77 @ 13

    Me_Think, no, I’m pretty much as contemptuous of the non-falsifiability of string theory as I am of the non-falsifiablity of inflation (and Darwinism):

    So you are pretty much contemptuous of ‘God made the universe’ theory too, since it too is non-falsifiable?

  15. 15
    bornagain77 says:

    Me_Think, actually if the universe were to have been discovered to be eternally existent as the atheists had postulated, instead of created as Theists had postulated, that would have falsified Theism. Moreover unlike these desperate attempts by atheists to ‘explain away’ the beginning of the universe, God has been, and still is, doing quite well as the explanation for why the universe was created:

    Logic dictates ‘a decision’ must have been made in order to purposely create a temporal reality with highly specified (i.e. fine-tuned) laws, and irreducible complex parameters from a infinite set of possibilities.

    The First Cause Must Be A Personal Being – William Lane Craig – video

    What Properties Must the Cause of the Universe Have? – William Lane Craig – video

    “There is no ground for supposing that matter and energy existed before and was suddenly galvanized into action. For what could distinguish that moment from all other moments in eternity? It is simpler to postulate creation ex nihilo — Divine will constituting Nature from nothingness.”
    Jastrow – God and The Astronomers

  16. 16
    Seversky says:

    bornagain77 @ 11

    Seversky, so when were you first enamored by Krauss’s genius?

    I think it was after I’d read The Physics of Star Trek

    When he redefined nothing?

    Since you seem to be interested in nothing you should try The Book of Nothing by John D Barrow

  17. 17
    bornagain77 says:

    MMMM, Your link goes to this page.

    and not to belittle Krauss too much (since he seems to do such a fine job himself), but he is philosophically lacking to put it mildly:

    Not Understanding Nothing – A review of A Universe from Nothing – Edward Feser – June 2012
    Excerpt: A critic might reasonably question the arguments for a divine first cause of the cosmos. But to ask “What caused God?” misses the whole reason classical philosophers thought his existence necessary in the first place. So when physicist Lawrence Krauss begins his new book by suggesting that to ask “Who created the creator?” suffices to dispatch traditional philosophical theology, we know it isn’t going to end well. ,,,
    ,,, But Krauss simply can’t see the “difference between arguing in favor of an eternally existing creator versus an eternally existing universe without one.” The difference, as the reader of Aristotle or Aquinas knows, is that the universe changes while the unmoved mover does not, or, as the Neoplatonist can tell you, that the universe is made up of parts while its source is absolutely one; or, as Leibniz could tell you, that the universe is contingent and God absolutely necessary. There is thus a principled reason for regarding God rather than the universe as the terminus of explanation.

  18. 18
    Mapou says:


    Let’s see now, on questions of science am I going to give greater weight to the opinions of an “author, speaker, and TV host” or an eminent physicist with a distinguished track record of research in his field? Hmmm, difficult one. Not.

    And we should care about your opinion because of what again? By the way, did you know that Stephen Hawking, one of your most admired cosmologists I’m sure, is a believer in time travel? ahahaha…AHAHAHA…ahahaha…

  19. 19
    rvb8 says:

    Well Mapou time travel is within the bounds of human imagination; God isn’t, s/he or it, is just too outrageous.

  20. 20
    bornagain77 says:

    as to: “Well Mapou time travel is within the bounds of human imagination; God isn’t, s/he or it, is just too outrageous.”

    Actually God is far more rational, and even ‘natural’, for human thinking than atheism is:

    “Another interesting argument comes from the leading philosopher and Christian, Alvin Plantinga—he asked, what evidence does anyone have for the existence of other people’s minds? He argued cogently that the evidence for God is just as good as the evidence for other minds; and conversely, if there isn’t any evidence for God, then there is also no evidence that other minds exist—see God and Other Minds, Cornell University Press, repr. 1990.”

    Belief in God is a Properly Basic Belief (Alvin Plantinga) – video

    In fact Children have been shown to have a predisposition to believe in God:

    More Studies Show Children Are Wired for Religious Belief: A Brief Literature Review – Casey Luskin August 7, 2014
    Excerpt: We see, then, multiple studies converging on a single conclusion: the innate predisposition of the human mind to believe that there is some kind of an intelligent creator God. Perhaps as we get older we may override this programming, but our fundamental constitution appears oriented to religious belief.

    Children are born believers in God, academic claims – 24 Nov 2008
    Excerpt: “Dr Justin Barrett, a senior researcher at the University of Oxford’s Centre for Anthropology and Mind, claims that young people have a predisposition to believe in a supreme being because they assume that everything in the world was created with a purpose.”

    Out of the mouths of babes – Do children believe (in God) because they’re told to by adults? The evidence suggests otherwise – Justin Barrett – 2008
    Excerpt: • Children tend to see natural objects as designed or purposeful in ways that go beyond what their parents teach, as Deborah Kelemen has demonstrated. Rivers exist so that we can go fishing on them, and birds are here to look pretty.
    • Children doubt that impersonal processes can create order or purpose. Studies with children show that they expect that someone not something is behind natural order. No wonder that Margaret Evans found that children younger than 10 favoured creationist accounts of the origins of animals over evolutionary accounts even when their parents and teachers endorsed evolution. Authorities’ testimony didn’t carry enough weight to over-ride a natural tendency.
    • Children know humans are not behind the order so the idea of a creating god (or gods) makes sense to them. Children just need adults to specify which one.
    • Experimental evidence, including cross-cultural studies, suggests that three-year-olds attribute super, god-like qualities to lots of different beings. Super-power, super-knowledge and super-perception seem to be default assumptions. Children then have to learn that mother is fallible, and dad is not all powerful, and that people will die. So children may be particularly receptive to the idea of a super creator-god. It fits their predilections.
    • Recent research by Paul Bloom, Jesse Bering, and Emma Cohen suggests that children may also be predisposed to believe in a soul that persists beyond death.

    Justin Barrett – Why Would Anyone Believe in God? – Veritas at UC Davis – video

    People Are Born with Religious Belief Argues New Book – By Jesse Singal
    Excerpt: “A controversial new book contends that we are all born predisposed to religious belief. Justin L. Barrett discusses his research, his feud with Richard Dawkins—and why he’s a believer himself.”

  21. 21
    bornagain77 says:

    Moreover, it is not that Atheists do not see purpose in nature, (in fact science is impossible without presupposing teleology/purpose on some level), it is that Atheists, for whatever severely misguided reason, live in denial of the purpose they see in nature.

    Design Thinking Is Hardwired in the Human Brain. How Come? – October 17, 2012
    Excerpt: “Even Professional Scientists Are Compelled to See Purpose in Nature, Psychologists Find.” The article describes a test by Boston University’s psychology department, in which researchers found that “despite years of scientific training, even professional chemists, geologists, and physicists from major universities such as Harvard, MIT, and Yale cannot escape a deep-seated belief that natural phenomena exist for a purpose” ,,,
    Most interesting, though, are the questions begged by this research. One is whether it is even possible to purge teleology from explanation.

    Scientists discover that atheists might not exist, and that’s not a joke By Nury Vittachi | July 6th 2014
    Excerpt: “atheism is psychologically impossible because of the way humans think,” says Graham Lawton, an avowed atheist himself, writing in the New Scientist. “They point to studies showing, for example, that even people who claim to be committed atheists tacitly hold religious beliefs, such as the existence of an immortal soul.”
    This shouldn’t come as a surprise, since we are born believers, not atheists, scientists say.,,,
    This feeling of having an awareness of another consciousness might simply be the way our natural operating system works.,,,
    Of course these findings do not prove that it is impossible to stop believing in God. What they do indicate, quite powerfully, is that we may be fooling ourselves if we think that we are making the key decisions about what we believe, and if we think we know how deeply our views pervade our consciousnesses. It further suggests that the difference between the atheist and the non-atheist viewpoint is much smaller than probably either side perceives.,,,
    In the meantime, it might be wise for religious folks to refrain from teasing atheist friends who accidentally say something about their souls. And it might be equally smart for the more militant of today’s atheists to stop teasing religious people at all.
    We might all be a little more spiritual than we think.

    Are atheists mentally ill? – August 14th, 2013 – Sean Thomas
    Excerpt: “Let’s dispense with the crude metric of IQ and look at the actual lives led by atheists, and believers, and see how they measure up. In other words: let’s see who is living more intelligently. And guess what: it’s the believers. A vast body of research, amassed over recent decades, shows that religious belief is physically and psychologically beneficial – to a remarkable degree.,,,
    [I hope this next part doesn’t upset too many people, but…] the evidence today implies that atheism is a form of mental illness. And this is because science is showing that the human mind is hard-wired for faith… religious people have all their faculties intact, they are fully functioning humans. Therefore, being an atheist – lacking the vital faculty of faith – should be seen as an affliction, and a tragic deficiency: something akin to blindness. Which makes Richard Dawkins the intellectual equivalent of an amputee, furiously waving his stumps in the air, boasting that he has no hands.”

    Study explores whether atheism is rooted in reason or emotion – Jan. 2015
    Excerpt: “A new set of studies in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology finds that atheists and agnostics report anger toward God either in the past or anger focused on a hypothetical image of what they imagine God must be like. Julie Exline, a psychologist at Case Western Reserve University and the lead author of this recent study, has examined other data on this subject with identical results. Exline explains that her interest was first piqued when an early study of anger toward God revealed a counterintuitive finding: Those who reported no belief in God reported more grudges toward him than believers.”


    Romans 1:19
    because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.

  22. 22
    bornagain77 says:

    Richard Dawkins wants to fight Islamism with erotica. Celebrity atheism has lost it
    A tweet from Richard Dawkins’ account suggests beaming porn all over the Middle East. And Stephen Fry is angry with God. Who cares anymore? – 31 Jan 2015

Leave a Reply