Cosmology Intelligent Design

Reflections on Harvard astronomer’s intelligent design without God

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He drags in Darwinism, of course:

What if, as the Harvard scientist (not a late-night radio host) suggests, our universe was “created in a laboratory of an advanced technological civilization … Since our universe has a flat geometry with a zero net energy, an advanced civilization could have developed a technology that created a baby universe out of nothing through quantum tunneling.” Such an idea, he concludes, “unifies the religious notion of a creator with the secular notion of quantum gravity.”

Loeb doesn’t speculate on the identity of our universe’s engineer(s), or the location of the “laboratory” where it came to be. But if his proposal sounds familiar, it’s because it is. Specifically, he’s proposing a form of intelligent design, only one with an infinite number of extra steps.

John Stonestreet & G.S. Morris, “Intelligent Design Without God?” at The Stream (November 6, 2021)

Is that how it works? Stonestreet and Morris go on to ask:

If the universe were cooked up through quantum tunneling in a cosmic laboratory by alien scientists, who made the alien scientists who created the universe?

Loeb certainly tries to answer that question by suggesting that there may be countless baby universes, all engineered by “advanced civilizations,” which in turn create more life-sustaining universes, but which are not self-existing or eternal. The process, he writes, may proceed along Darwinian lines, ensuring a selection advantage for life-sustaining universes since they can, in a manner of speaking, “reproduce.”

John Stonestreet & G.S. Morris, “Intelligent Design Without God?” at The Stream (November 6, 2021)

Somebody fetch Occam’s Razor quick:

Hat tip: Ken Francis, co-author with Theodore Dalrymple of The Terror of Existence: From Ecclesiastes to Theatre of the Absurd

17 Replies to “Reflections on Harvard astronomer’s intelligent design without God

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    Creation story: Professors all the way down.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Apparently, the best ‘theories’ of a Harvard Professor nowadays are not so different than the wild-eyed conspiracy theories told by your uncle when he was stoned on pot. 🙂

    Oh well, a lot closer to reality is this recent video by Dr. Meyer:

    One God or Many Universes? Stephen Meyer Explores How Fine-Tuning Points to Intelligent Design
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwa6LfZlGN8

  3. 3
    Seversky says:

    Well, if it’s a choice between professors and pastors …

  4. 4
    ET says:

    seversky:

    Well, if it’s a choice between professors and pastors …

    Georges Lemaître. Gregor Mendel

  5. 5
    Belfast says:

    “What I suggest,” the Professor says, “is that, instead of ONE creator of the universe working on his own, is a COMMITTEE of creators, working as a group.”
    “Yes,’ says Seversky, “I’ll buy that!”

  6. 6
    Seversky says:

    Maybe it’s hive-mind species like the Borg. That’s a possibility. Christianity is already running with a 3-in-1 deity, why not a billions-in-1?

  7. 7
    bornagain77 says:

    Belfast: ““What I suggest,” the Professor says, “is that, instead of ONE creator of the universe working on his own, is a COMMITTEE of creators, working as a group.”
    “Yes,’ says Seversky, “I’ll buy that!””

    Sev:,,, “Maybe it’s hive-mind species like the Borg. That’s a possibility.”,,,

    So let’s get this straight,,, Seversky, an atheist who has fought against ID for years, accepts ID as the explanation for the creation of the universe just so long as it is not the God of Judeo-Christian Theism?

    Perhaps Seversky should think his comments through a bit more carefully before he posts them? 🙂

  8. 8
    hoosfoos says:

    How about a committee of 3 functioning as a single entity?
    Problem solved.

  9. 9
    KRock says:

    So Loeb believes there may be a great many baby universes that were created by some advance race of aliens who, mind you, always existed! Riiiight!

    Question: when should the rest of society seriously commit to abandoning academia?

  10. 10
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    Bornagain77
    So let’s get this straight,,, Seversky, an atheist who has fought against ID for years, accepts ID as the explanation for the creation of the universe just so long as it is not the God of Judeo-Christian Theism?

    Perhaps Seversky should think his comments through a bit more carefully before he posts them?

    A reaction from an annoyed Christian/theist that want to teach him a lesson is his oxygen. 😉

  11. 11
    bornagain77 says:

    LCD, “,,, teach him a lesson is his oxygen.”

    Indeed. Seversky is apparently blissfully unaware that the very ‘intellectual air’ that he breathes is permeated through and through with Christian presuppositions. As one atheist historian put it, “If Western civilization is the fishbowl then the water is Christianity.”

    Atheists in Praise of Christianity? – May 19, 2020
    Excerpt: Historian Tom Holland is known primarily as a storyteller of the ancient world. Thus, his newest book Dominion: How the Christian Revolution Remade the World, came as something of a surprise for several reasons. First, Tom Holland is not a Christian. Second, Holland’s book is one of the most ambitious historical defenses of Christianity in a very long time.
    Attracting Criticism
    Holland’s book-length defense of the belief system the elites love to despise has unsurprisingly attracted some criticism. He faced off with militant atheist and prominent philosopher A.C. Grayling on the question “Did Christianity give us our human values?” Grayling struggled to rebut Holland, sounding more petty than philosophical. Holland, on the other hand, became positively passionate in his defense of Christianity. If Western civilization is the fishbowl, he stated, then the water is Christianity.
    https://stream.org/atheists-in-praise-of-christianity/

    The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism and Western Success – 2006
    Excerpt: Rodney Stark comes out swinging right from the bell in “The Victory of Reason,” his fiercely polemical account of the rise of capitalism. Stark, the author of “The Rise of Christianity” and “One True God: Historical Consequences of Monotheism,” is sick and tired of reading that religion impeded scientific progress and stunted human freedom. To those who say that capitalism and democracy developed only after secular-minded thinkers turned the light of reason on the obscurantism of the Dark Ages, he has a one-word answer: nonsense.
    “The success of the West, including the rise of science, rested entirely on religious foundations, and the people who brought it about were devout Christians,”.,,, Capitalism, and the scientific revolution that powered it, did not emerge in spite of religion but because of it.
    If this sounds paradoxical, it shouldn’t, Stark argues. Despite the prejudiced arguments of anticlerical Enlightenment thinkers, free inquiry and faith in human reason were intrinsic to Christian thought.
    Christianity, alone among the world’s religions, conceived of God as a supremely rational being who created a coherent world whose inner workings could be discovered through the application of reason and logic. Consequently, it was only in the West, rather than in Asia or the Middle East, that alchemy evolved into chemistry, astrology into astronomy.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01.....m-and.html

    How Dark Were the Dark Ages? PragerU – video
    What do we owe to the Middle (“Dark”)Ages:
    1. The University System
    2. Modern Science
    3. Architecture
    4. Art and Literature
    5. Musical Notation
    6. The establishment of schools, orphanages and hospitals.
    “Instead of the Middle Ages being called the ‘Dark Age’ it should instead be called the “Brilliant Age”
    – Anthony Esolen, English Literature professor at Providence College
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cqzq01i2O3U

    Tom Holland | How Christianity Gained Dominion | A Secular Historian Loses His Faith (In Liberalism)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=favILmUsVdg

  12. 12
    Seversky says:

    Bornagain77/7

    So let’s get this straight,,, Seversky, an atheist who has fought against ID for years, accepts ID as the explanation for the creation of the universe just so long as it is not the God of Judeo-Christian Theism?

    I accept that ID is a possible explanation but not a probable one. It’s just as possible that this Universe was created by a Borg-like hive-mind or collective intelligence or is just a Matrix-like simulation running on some giant AI super-computer. They should all satisfy BA77 and all the others that believe that fulfilling someone else’s purpose gives their lives meaning

  13. 13
    Seversky says:

    Bornagain77/11

    Indeed. Seversky is apparently blissfully unaware that the very ‘intellectual air’ that he breathes is permeated through and through with Christian presuppositions. As one atheist historian put it, “If Western civilization is the fishbowl then the water is Christianity.”

    Of course Christianity had a profound and long-lasting influence on Western European culture. But what Christianity are we talking about here, Eastern Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Protestant, Anglican, Quaker, Mormon, Lutheran, Methodist, Pentecostalist, Presbyterian, Unitarian, Evangelical, Prosperity Gospel? There’s a lot to choose from, they don’t all believe in the same thing and Christians have spilled blood over who’s right and who’s wrong. You could certainly argue that Christianity’s influence has been a mixed blessing.

  14. 14
    Origenes says:

    Seversky

    I accept that ID is a possible explanation [for the creation of the universe] but not a probable one.

    Ok so, according to you, it is possible that the universe is the result of intelligent design, but not probable. Obviously because you think other explanations are more probable.

    Seversky: It’s just as possible that this Universe was created by a Borg-like hive-mind or collective intelligence or is just a Matrix-like simulation running on some giant AI super-computer.

    Wait a minute Seversky. All the possibilities you cite here are examples of intelligent design. So, in what sense do you think they make the ID explanation “not a probable one”?

  15. 15
    bornagain77 says:

    Seversky states,

    I accept that ID is a possible explanation [for the creation of the universe] but not a probable one.

    Instead of just stating your personal, and very biased, atheistic opinion, would you care to put some ‘conservative’ estimates as to just how “probable” and/or “unprobable” ID actually is?

    What is Bayes’ Theorem, and What Does It Have to Do with Arguments for God? – by Jonathan McLatchie – November 24, 2019
    Excerpt: Let’s summarise the various ingredients we have looked at and the probabilities on atheism that we assigned to them:
    Pr(Universe [laws etc.] | Atheism) = .001
    Pr(Life-permitting Universe | Universe & Atheism) = .001
    Pr(Origin of life | Life-permitting Universe & Atheism) = .001
    Pr(Origin of life | Life-permitting Universe & Atheism) = .001
    Pr(Molecular machines | Origin of life etc. & Atheism) = .001
    Pr(Multicellularity | Molecular machines etc. & Atheism) = .001
    Pr(Body plans | Multicellularity etc. & Atheism) = .001
    Pr(Consciousness | Body plans etc. & Brains & Atheism) = .001
    Pr(Moral sensibilities | Consciousness etc. & Atheism) = .001,,,,
    Conclusion
    I hope to have shown in this article the power of a cumulative case for God based upon Bayes Theorem. In particular, while assuming outrageously generous estimates for the probabilities of the various preconditions necessary for a moral choice arena, we have accumulated sufficient evidence for the existence of God to overcome even an astronomically small prior probability of 10^-18 and still achieve posterior odds of 0.9999 for the existence of God. In view of how generous we have been with our assignments of the relevant probabilities, the actual posterior probability, based on the available evidence, is in fact much higher than that.
    http://www.answeringmuslims.co.....es-it.html

  16. 16
    zweston says:

    I had to stop and pause a second at Sev’s response (which BA picked up on). So, how probable is this universe forming without an intelligence? Is it as probable as an intelligent source/designer?

  17. 17
    bornagain77 says:

    Further to Seversky claiming, “I accept that ID is a possible explanation [for the creation of the universe] but not a probable one.”

    Besides the fact that our ability to even contemplate the abstract, immaterial, world of mathematics is proof, in and of itself, that man must possess an immaterial mind and/or soul to be able to do so,

    “The difference between man and the other animals is unbridgeable. Mathematics is alone sufficient to prove in man the possession of a faculty unexistent in other creatures. Then you have music and the artistic faculty. No, the soul was a separate creation.”
    – Alfred Russel Wallace – 1910 interview previewing Wallace’s book, “The World of Life,”

    ,,, Besides the fact that man must possess an immaterial mind to even be able to contemplate the abstract, ‘immaterial’, realm of mathematics in the first place, mathematical probability simply is not your friend Seversky.

    GORDON: Hawking irrational arguments
    Theoretical physicist takes leave of his senses
    By Bruce L. Gordon – October 1, 2010
    Excerpt: For instance, we find multiverse cosmologists debating the “Boltzmann Brain” problem: In the most “reasonable” models for a multiverse, it is immeasurably more likely that our consciousness is associated with a brain that has spontaneously fluctuated into existence in the quantum vacuum than it is that we have parents and exist in an orderly universe with a 13.7 billion-year history. This is absurd. The multiverse hypothesis is therefore falsified because it renders false what we know to be true about ourselves. Clearly, embracing the multiverse idea entails a nihilistic irrationality that destroys the very possibility of science.
    https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/oct/1/hawking-irrational-arguments/

    Multiverse and the Design Argument – William Lane Craig
    Excerpt: Or again, if our universe is but one member of a multiverse, then we ought to be observing highly extraordinary events, like horses’ popping into and out of existence by random collisions, or perpetual motion machines, since these are vastly more probable than all of nature’s constants and quantities’ falling by chance into the virtually infinitesimal life-permitting range. Observable universes like those strange worlds are simply much more plenteous in the ensemble of universes than worlds like ours and, therefore, ought to be observed by us if the universe were but a random member of a multiverse of worlds. Since we do not have such observations, that fact strongly disconfirms the multiverse hypothesis. On naturalism, at least, it is therefore highly probable that there is no multiverse. — Penrose puts it bluntly “these world ensemble hypothesis are worse than useless in explaining the anthropic fine-tuning of the universe”.
    http://www.reasonablefaith.org.....n-argument

    Atheist Accepts Multiverse Theory Of Every Possible Universe Except Biblical One – February 9th, 2017
    Excerpt: The ardent Multiverse proponent went on to state that he readily accepts that a universe governed by Mr. T riding a cyborg ostrich is possible. Also, one with floating, flaming bears instead of stars, one that contains planets full of hairy toasters made out of grape-flavored pudding, a universe that is just one humongous chicken in a bikini, and a universe that is literally a zit wearing a chef’s hat with the “@” symbol tattooed on its face.
    “I like to think there is a universe where Richard Dawkins has 20 heads, waffles rain from the sky covered in ice cream, the only plant that grows is pot and weiner dogs are the most socially progressive and advanced animal there is,” Hemsworth said with a cheerful glimmer in his eye. “Also there are only ponies, no horses.”
    When asked if this means that the universe outlined in the Bible might be one of these infinite possibilities, Hemsworth scoffed and said, “I am a scientist. I don’t have the luxury of engaging in that kind of wishful thinking.”
    https://babylonbee.com/news/atheist-accepts-multiverse-theory-every-possible-universe-except-biblical-one

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