Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Science Demonstrates the Existence of God (Provisionally)

arroba Email

There are two and only two options with respect to the origin of the universe.

1.  An infinite regress of dependent existence.

2.  The universe was caused by “that beyond which nothing can be reduced,” to use Dr. Roy Clouser’s definition of God.

More familiar terms for these categories are (1) an infinite regress of contingent causes; and (2) one necessary cause.

Science demonstrates that option 1 is false.  The universe had a discrete beginning at the event popularly known as the “big bang.” 

Since option 1 is false, it follows that option 2 is true.

All scientific conclusions are provisional.  Therefore, this proof does not work to demonstrate the existence of God as a logical certainty.  It does demonstrate, however, that if the standard model of cosmology is true, it follows from that truth that God exists.

What about Stephen Hawking’s recent proclamation that we can do without God, you might ask.  To which I respond that I can imagine a conversation between God and Dr. Hawking that goes something like this:

Hawking:  “I can demonstrate that the big bang happened without you.

God:  OK; take your best shot.

Hawking:  “Because we have gravity . . .

God:  Wait!

Hawking:  What?

God:   Get your own gravity.

Petrushka, the claim that "not knowing how is the default state of human knowledge" is clearly false. It contains an internal contradiction, for one thing since the assertion that "not knowing how" is a claim to know. So the default state of human knowledge is to know some things indubitably, and these things are the first principles of logic or reason. There are others, but EVERYONE knows that he exists and that he is what he is. No? tgpeeler
p.s. I really like the way Querius makes this argument. tgpeeler
Petrushka, I think you are missing the point. We are starting from what we KNOW. We know that we exist. We are changing. We are finite. We are what we are. We are contingent. That is, there was/is a cause of our existence. We KNOW these things. We cannot deny that we exist because we would have to exist to deny anything. Do you see this? Now, from what we KNOW, we use the laws of rational thought, or First Principles of reason, or whatever term you might use for Identity, Non-contradiction, Excluded Middle, and Causality, and reason back to understand the FIRST CAUSE. We can do this confidently because we understand, even if we don't always acknowledge, that reason is sovereign in matters of truth. This is also literally undeniable. If you object to that statement you must argue for why you object for your objection to have any force and when you do that you are using reason to argue that reason isn't enough. I hope you see this. I have always been amused by Kant's work "Critique of Pure Reason." I wondered, did he critique pure reason with impure reason???? This is a "scientific" endeavor in the sense that we are attempting to understand a cause and effect relationship. That's ultimately what science alleges to do, explain cause and effect in the physical world, no? It is a non-scientific endeavor in the sense that it does not involve empirical/sensory data. We reason FROM sense data but our conclusion necessarily takes us beyond sense data. As we will see. There are many different angles or nuances to this, but let's take the idea of change. If something is changing (let's call that an effect) then something was responsible for that change (let's call that a cause). So if we want to trace back along the antecedent chain of causes that started things off we have two and only two possibilities. The chain of causes is infinite or it is finite. The law of excluded middle tells us this. The law of non-contradiction tells us that the chain cannot be both infinite or finite. Let's look at both possibilities. If the chain of causes is infinite, that is, eternal and uncaused, then what we are saying is that the chain of causes never began. Because that's what eternal and uncaused means. But the chain of causes obviously began because we are here. There can be no real infinities in a finite universe. The set of all integers, for example, is an infinite set but only as long as it remains an abstract concept. Once you write one down it is no longer infinite because no matter how many you write down there will always be more. See Hilbert's Hotel for the absurdities resulting from the assumption of a real number of infinite things. So let's look at the possibility, now the certainty, that the universe, the finite, contingent, changing, universe, was caused. If there is a string of causes that precedes right now, and there is, then that string of causes had a beginning so there was a FIRST cause. Well, what about this FIRST cause? Can it be like every other cause in the chain of causes? No. It cannot. Here's why. Every other cause in the chain had a prior cause but the first cause can't have a prior cause because then it wouldn't be first. But we have to have a first cause. So the only possible answer is that the first cause is uncaused. That is, eternal. And from a previous post, immaterial, and so on. So as an exercise in pure (I hope) reason, starting with what we KNOW, we can come to a certain conclusion that there was a First Cause and that the First Cause has certain characteristics. (Coincidentally?) The God of the Bible reveals Himself as a Being that has all of these attributes, plus others, of course, that are beyond a rational exercise (Love, for example). tgpeeler
Petrushka, Certain things logically follow from the First Cause being eternal (uncaused). The FC is infinite. (no beginning, always existing, uncaused) Therefore, the FC is a "spirit" or immaterial Being. If it was material, it wouldn't be infinite (we could count it). The FC acted. There wasn't a universe and now there is. In our experience, only living things act. Therefore, the FC is alive. I think it is safe to say that the FC is immensely powerful. One may say omnipotent. The FC had to violate the first law of thermodynamics, after all. Energy can neither be created or destroyed... yet here we are. We can infer great intelligence from the Anthropic Principle. To organize a universe compatible with carbon based life isn't, apparently, such an easy thing to arrange. So many moving parts, moving according to laws, all within strict tolerances and precise inter-relationships, etc... So one can infer many things from the logically necessary truth that the First Cause is uncaused. Does this PROVE that the FC is all of these things? Maybe not. But it gives good reason for thinking that He is. tgpeeler
Existence begins from non-existence. Same logic. You cannot assume that this is impossible. Just that you don’t know how. Not knowing how is the default state of human knowledge.
Ok, the Easter bunny is an example of something that doesn't exist. Please explain how anything tangible can possibly begin to exist from the Easter bunny. Yes, it sounds impossible to me, but I'm willing to give old EB a chance to prove itself. ;-) Querius
Hi Elizabeth: I wouldn't know how to compare plausibilities. I'd guess I'd say that theories requiring infinite regressions are mathematically interesting, but not good science. The only other example of an infinite regression that I can think of involves a way of trying to rationalize Olber's paradox using a hierarchical fractal cosmology. Regarding the plausibility of God, I'd say that there's no scientific way of evaluating the plausibility of anything except in our own universe. To your final point, I think you might be getting tripped up by imagining a "timeless spaceless universe" as you put it. Such a thing cannot exist. Instead, imagine that each change in the universe is an Event, and each Event is preceded by its corresponding Cause. Without Events and their Causes, the universe would never change. The very First Event in this chain of Events must have been the instant ex nihilo existence of our universe (which would be a spectacularly miraculous event if it lacked a Cause). - This First Event obviously cannot have been caused by anything within the not-yet-existing universe. - Non-existence cannot be a spontaneous Cause for the existence of the entire universe any more than the Easter bunny can. (People have trouble imagining non-existence, which is why I refer to the non-existent Easter bunny). Thus, the First Cause must have originated outside our universe. Querius
Charles: I must apologize for having repeated (more or less) some of the things you has already said in your post I had not read it (I really get lost in this system of hyerarchies!). Anyway, I am happy and honored that we seem to share some concepts. gpuccio
Elizabeth: The facts itself that the big bang is considered the origin of the universe form some original singularity, or rtaher from quantum vacuum, is proof enough that we van concieve causality independently from space and time, because space and time would not be present in that original singularity, or in the quantum vacuum, if I understand well (I am not a physicist). The fact is, the phenomenal world seems to have an origin. Space seem to have an origin. Time seems to have an origin. The same things could well have an end, too. It's perfectly natural to hypothesize that they have an origin from some other reality. We may not be able to apply those thought categories to that "original reality". But the facts remains that, if it exists, it was the origin of what we observe. Maybe this is not the usual causality we apply to phenomenal events. But it is definitely something. gpuccio
"assuming cosmologists are right about Big Bang being the origin of space-time, which they may not be" wow junkdnaforlife
rhampton7: That a Big Bang occurred is not the issue, but that it must be a point of origin. The Big Bang is a point of origin. Get over it. Much of the effort and difficulty in quantum cosmology is to explain how it began (originated) from whatever and became what we observe. Susskind favors a megaverse interpretation of string theory that does not need a first cause other than itself I would like to see a specific quote and citation of Susskind's explanation of a self-caused universe. Otherwise, even theoretically, his interpretation again depends upon preexisting complex 'vacua' which are not "nothing". The point being that the origin of the universe – if it even has one – is an open question and one not easily resolved. Not easily resolved as to cause and mechanism, yes. But not that it had an origin. Hawking and Hartle in their no boundary proposal stated "In other words, the ground state is the amplitude for the Universe to appear from nothing." Susskind theorizes "initial states". An "appearance from nothing" or an "initial state" is an origin, a beginning. Whether called a "ground state at t=0", "initial conditions", "quantum origin", "quantum birth of the Universe" or "singularity", etc. they all refer to an origin. Charles
Well, many physicist would disagree with you, Barry, and it's pretty difficult to see how causality could exist outside space-time. Try defining "cauality" without resorting to temporal-spatial concepts. Elizabeth Liddle
Prove that causality exists apart of space-time. You can't. It's a metaphysical assumption. Logic simply can not be reveal truth when there is no way to determine the laws/properties of what might exist outside our universe. rhampton7
"Aren't we in fact talking about the beginning of causality?" No, we are not. Causality is a construct of logic. It exists apart from space-time and therefore did not "begin" with space time any more than 1+1=2 "began" with space-time. Barry Arrington
That a Big Bang occurred is not the issue, but that it must be a point of origin. And models like Hawkin-Moss, Hawking-Turok, et. al. describe open systems without a true "beginning" much like the Hawking-Hartle closed system. Susskind favors a megaverse interpretation of string theory that does not need a first cause other than itself (in which case, you could describe it as a pantheist argrument, but that is not what Susskind believes). The point being that the origin of the universe - if it even has one - is an open question and one not easily resolved. You can claim otherwise, but Science has not yet provided a definitive answer. rhampton7
rhampton7: There were a number problems with Hartle-Hawkings "no boundary" universe when they first proposed it, and I'm not aware that any of those problems have diminished. The Hartle-Hawkings Wave Function of the Universe ground state: - presumes imaginary time in a closed universe, whereas all the recent observations are our universe is open and time is real - should become a very nearly empty de Sitter spacetime, which it isn't - still presumes quantum gravity, which as Barry joked, is not literally "from nothing". Hartle and Hawking concluded: "The ground-state wave function in the simple minisuperspace model that we have considered with a conformally invariant field does not correspond to the quantum state of the Universe that we live in because the matter wave function does not oscillate." Hawking himself later admits in "A Brief History of Time" that when his mathematical artifice of using imaginary numbers for time (in a Wave Function of the Universe) is converted back into real time, the singularity he sought to avoid reappears. It would seem that as recently as Dec 2006, Don N. Page in Susskind’s Challenge to the Hartle-Hawking No-Boundary Proposal and Possible Resolutions further concluded:
In summary, Susskind has raised a serious challenge to the Hartle-Hawking noboundary proposal for the quantum state of the universe. There are several potential resolutions of this challenge, but it is not yet clear whether any of them is satisfactory. If no resolutions can be found, the challenge leaves us with the mystery of what the quantum state might be to be consistent with our observations.
BTW, Don N. Page is the same author of the "Boundary Condition" paper you cited, so I presume you find him equally credible when sustaining Susskind's challenges to Hartle-Hawkings flawed quantum gravity cosmology. As for your suggestion that string theory holds possible answers, it remains challenged by what appears to be an increasing acceleration in the observed universe, not to mention its reliance on supersymmetry which itself is increasingly challenged by lack of evidence from the LHC. Charles
I lasted two minutes into the first one. If Craig can't see the difference in causal assumption between a Bengal tiger popping into existence fully formed, and an undifferentiated hot 'soup' of fundamental particles - even a huge, huge number of fundamental particles - he really ain't worth listening to. Chas D
Just saying you have a supernatural cause doesn't add to knowledge. It's just another form of "I don't know," but lacking in humility. Calling something God doesn't assign any attributes. It just pretends to be an explanation. Petrushka
Querius: why is an infinite regress of causes any less plausible than an infinite God? Indeed, when we talk about the beginning of space-time (assuming cosmologists are right about Big Bang being the origin of space-time, which they may not be), aren't we in fact talking about the beginning of causality? What would causality mean in a timeless, spaceless universe? Isn't right question therefore: "what causes causality"? In which case, doesn't it answer itself? Causality by definition cannot be caused. Ergo, the universe is uncaused. Elizabeth Liddle
You cannot get around the thermodynamics limitations. The universe is not eternal. It began. It is finite. Therefore, it has a cause. I know it's hard to follow reason and evidence wherever it leads, particularly when it leads to God. But there you have it. tgpeeler
Petrushka: thank you for the interesting proposals. I fully endorse #1, that can be a good description of a god. I appreciate the other three, but personally I would not consider them good explanations. But you know, it's personal. gpuccio
1. No creation of existence. Once you have admitted the possibility of the existence of an uncreated entity, you can't logically assert that everything that exists must have a beginning. The word beginning suggests time, and existence without time appears to be possible, and even likely. 2. Existence begins from non-existence. Same logic. You cannot assume that this is impossible. Just that you don't know how. Not knowing how is the default state of human knowledge. 3. A infinite regress of creator gods. 4. An infinite number of creator gods. 5. Any of a number of things I haven't thought of. Most of what we know about physics would have made no sense to an educated person a thousand years ago. The fact that we haven't thought of something doesn't restrict possible explanations. Petrushka
Petrushka: Just give the third, and fourth, and fifth... We are here to listen. gpuccio
Petrushka: You can assign another word, obviously. Another name. Whatever you want. But the concept that there was a first cause is important, and it opens the way to much philosophical reasoning about the possible relationship between this cause and its effects (including us). I don't know if that is information (it probably is), but it certanly is knowledge. You know, that strange habit of humans of creating maps of reality, maps that, while never being the same as reality, are often useful (if they are good maps!). gpuccio
I'm rather curious how much information is generated by assigning the word God to the first cause. Other than having a label, what do you know that you didn't know before? Petrushka
There are two and only two options with respect to the origin of the universe.
Right away the essay is off on the wrong foot. Petrushka
"Eternal. Like God..." Surely the universe is finite, that is, had a beginning, and therefore is not eternal. The 1st and 2nd laws of thermodynamics (as I understand it, the laws of thermodynamics are the most certain in science so good luck arguing with them) tell us this is so. The first law says that energy can neither be created or destroyed so whatever exists is limited. Nothing more is being made and nothing is being destroyed. This tells us that the universe is finite. We have a certain number of "marbles" and that's it. No more, no less. The second law says that entropy is increasing and in any closed system, which the universe is, (see 1st law) the usable energy will eventually be gone. That is, we have a certain number of marbles and we can only move them around for so long. Let me illustrate with a thought experiment. Let's say that we walk into a parking lot and there is a car running. You say, I wonder how long that car has been running? If I said, it's been running forever, you'd look at me as if I'd lost my mind. For one thing, you'd immediately say something like, look, the car can't have been running forever because someone had to start it. And I know that because if it had been running "forever" then it would have been out of gas long ago. But it isn't. So it's been running for a finite amount of time and someone started it. You would also realize, upon reflection, that the car could not account for itself. Someone had to manufacture it. Now think universe instead of car and you're there. The laws of logic or reason are not "philosophical opinion." They are undeniably true and they are the foundation for all rational thought. For Christians, it's an extra bonus that God describes Himself in that way as "I AM" and "I am." The law of identity, in other words. So we understand that rational thought is grounded in God because it is an attribute of God. I hope this makes sense. I hope this helps. tgpeeler
Oh yeah. For anyone not familiar with the Kalam Cosmological argument, here's my version: 1. Do you believe that the universe (mass-energy, time, and space) had a beginning, or do you believe that it always existed? Most scientists believe it had a beginning, otherwise the universe would have had to traverse an infinite amount of time to get to the present, and the universe would now have an infinite amount of entropy (disorder), which it doesn't now have. 2. Do you believe that the beginning of the universe (mass-energy, time, and space) was caused, or was it uncaused? Scientists believe that everything that exists or that occurs has a cause, and that without causality, nothing in science can be known. 3. Do you believe that the cause of the universe was natural (according to the laws of physics), or was it outside of nature (supernatural)? It’s difficult to argue that the cause of the universe was due to a natural agent within the universe if the universe didn’t even exist then. The non-existent universe would have had to cause itself. 4. Do you believe that the cause of the universe (mass-energy, time, and space), whatever it was, itself had a cause, or was it uncaused? If the agent that caused the universe had a cause, what was its cause, and what was the cause of that cause, and so on. Thus, at some point, you have to have an uncaused agent. 5. What is an agent that can bring into existence the entire universe (mass-energy, time, and space), exists outside of nature (the laws of physics), and that has no cause for its own existence (timeless)? God. Querius
Bornagain77, I watched both videos. The virtual particles associated with quantum effects occur *only* in space and time. It is a mistake to assume that these fluctuations can occur spontaneously in something that doesn't exist such as was the case before the universe was created. Thus, universes also cannot generate spontaneously out of non-existence any more than they can generate spontaneously out of phlogiston, aether, chicken lips, the Easter bunny, or Kosher ham. ;-) There's no escaping a supernatural cause. Querius
To me there is a reason to reject #1 (Infinite regress) on the basis of logical absurdities that follow from an actual infinite causal regress. The logically sound answer to someone contemplating this kind of causal regress is to remind him/her that, if it were true & the existence of consciousness is true, then the existence of The Ultimate Being* is certain to the extent that the need for an infinite regress would succumb to this Being's necessity, purely based on the way things would have had to progressed in this hypothetical causal state without a beginning. I call this "the trap of progress** in an infinite causal past". *(...that is the only truly necessary Thing that can only be so because you it has no cause, because if it has a cause it is not necessary but the cause.) **(... progress in this sense is any state of causal progression. It has to include any possible state accept nothing.) mullerpr
The universe has an origin as proven and evidenced by the “Big Bang” ... The universe can not cause itself
See Quantum Cosmology for why this may be possible, including a Big Bang that is not an origin (boundary conditions). Some variations of String Theory also address the causation problem without restorting to a god-like entity (String Cosmology). rhampton7
tjguy, the points you make are important. I would always caution people not to allow their faith to rest on the latest scientific model. That is why I emphasized the provisional nature of scientific conclusions in the OP. Barry Arrington
rhampton7: So while the origin problem is left unanswered, that should not be mistaken as proof or evidence for said origin. No, it is the "cause problem" you have left unanswered. The universe has an origin as proven and evidenced by the "Big Bang". Its origin is not the problem, rather what caused that origin is the unanswered problem. Further, extrapolating our universe’s causality to a supra-universal causality (if such a thing even exists) is an a priori assumption. The universe can not cause itself and since it irrefutably had an origin its cause must of necessity be a supra-universal cause. Every effect has its cause (that is not extrapolation, that is consequent antecedence), hence whatever caused the universe's origin is by definition supra-universal. There is only one a priori assumption, and it must be admitted by everyone, which is the origin (however caused) begins from literally nothing, because the evidence of the Big Bang is that everything came into existence with it, nothing existed before it: not matter, energy, time, space, not even dimensions preceeded it. While conceivable that the "laws of nature" were always implicit, such laws were regardless uninstantiated without any "nature" to regulate, but then laws per se are immaterial as it is only their regulatory effects upon nature that manifest materially. Barry's paraphrased joke is very apropos: assume (a priori) that nothing exists and then cause an origin therefrom, a constraint that Hawking overlooked. Even assuming a law of gravity, without space-time or matter, gravity is without effect. Hawking illogically assumed, a priori, that the law of gravity was creative; that the law of gravity somehow simultaneously created infinite density mass within infinitessimal space-time. Charles
"It does demonstrate, however, that if the standard model of cosmology is true, it follows from that truth that God exists." Don't you think the universe could have had a beginning even if the Big Bang is not true? I mean, even if the standard model of cosmology is NOT true, we still "know" the universe had a beginning. Science still points to a beginning and, even more importantly, God's Word makes it clear that there was a beginning. There are Big Bang doubters out there and they are not all creationists. There are many secular doubters as well. The Big Bang explains some things, but not others. It still doesn't really work scientifically without lots of fudge factors, which is why there are so many versions of the Big Bang out there. The Big Bang is simply the best guess we humans have right now, when we leave God out of the picture. We were not there to see it happen so lots of interpretation is involved in coming up with this theory so chances are it is wrong. Even though it is outside the realm of science, creation ex-nihilo would also shows that there is a beginning to the universe, would it not? Another important question here is how do we know anything? Is science the only reliable means we have of "knowing" things? No, especially when it comes to the distand unobservable past. In fact, this type of science is probably not very reliable. Even this writer admitted that all scientific conclusions are provisional. Science is not really the way to knowledge. This is where we need to come back to the true foundation for truth. Jesus said "Thy Word is truth." This is the most reliable way we have of knowing anything. If there is no God, truth doesn't really even matter! tjguy
Towards the latter part of this video, Dr. Hugh Ross speaks a little about our very unique, indeed 'privileged', position of observation within space-time, as well as speaking a little about some very provocative implications from the 'folding up' of space time: Hugh Ross on CBN: Hidden Treasures in The Book of Job - video http://www.cbn.com/media/player/index.aspx?s=/mp4/HughRoss_101911v2_WS bornagain77
Querius, this may interest you:
Virtual Particles, & Special Relativity - Michael Strauss PhD. Particle Physics - video http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4554674
Querius: Very true. I have often wondered if the concept of quantum vacuum is only a modern way to reintroduce the concept of a transcendent God. gpuccio
Gravity, quantum effects, dark matter, dark energy, probabilities of brightly colored machine tools spontaneously flashing into existence, black holes, event horizons, radiation, plasma, atomic orbitals, space quantization within the atom, the double-slit experiment, you name it . . . all occur in that roiling soup that's misnamed "empty" space. Without the creation of the "fabric of space," none of this is possible or relevant. There are no quantum effects possible in something that doesn't exist. For example, there are no quantum effects in or caused by phlogiston, aether, or chicken lips. And something that doesn't exist cannot create itself through its own non-existent power. Naturally, someone is bound to say, "Yeah, but what about universes outside our own?" Really, and where do they come from? "From other universes outside them as well." And now we're back to infinite regressions. Querius
"Get your own gravity!" LOL. I believe in a a Great Architect because I think scientifically speaking it is the soundest hypothesis. It is either that or you end up with something ridiculous like "spacetime did not exist at the origin of the universe, therefore the speak of causes is meaningless." Is science's best answer that our universe exists "just because" ? Because that is what it comes down to if there is no Designer. That or an infinite regress. Or we could just posit a single infinite entity... And call it God. ThoughtSpark
Actually we do have abundant evidence of non-local, beyond space-time, matter-energy, causation from quantum mechanics. 1. John Wheeler's Delayed choice
Wheeler's Classic Delayed Choice Experiment: Excerpt: Now, for many billions of years the photon is in transit in region 3. Yet we can choose (many billions of years later) which experimental set up to employ – the single wide-focus, or the two narrowly focused instruments. We have chosen whether to know which side of the galaxy the photon passed by (by choosing whether to use the two-telescope set up or not, which are the instruments that would give us the information about which side of the galaxy the photon passed). We have delayed this choice until a time long after the particles "have passed by one side of the galaxy, or the other side of the galaxy, or both sides of the galaxy," so to speak. Yet, it seems paradoxically that our later choice of whether to obtain this information determines which side of the galaxy the light passed, so to speak, billions of years ago. So it seems that time has nothing to do with effects of quantum mechanics. And, indeed, the original thought experiment was not based on any analysis of how particles evolve and behave over time – it was based on the mathematics. This is what the mathematics predicted for a result, and this is exactly the result obtained in the laboratory. http://www.bottomlayer.com/bottom/basic_delayed_choice.htm
2. Alain Aspect's refutation of Einstein's postulated hidden variables;
Quantum Entanglement – The Failure Of Local Realism - Materialism - Alain Aspect - video http://www.metacafe.com/w/4744145
3. Anton Zeilinger's recent establishment of the fact that mass-energy is not 'locally' sustaining, but must have non-local cause to explain its continued existence within space-time;
'Quantum Magic' Without Any 'Spooky Action at a Distance' - June 2011 Excerpt: A team of researchers led by Anton Zeilinger at the University of Vienna and the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information of the Austrian Academy of Sciences used a system which does not allow for entanglement, and still found results which cannot be interpreted classically. Their findings were published in the latest issue of the journal Nature. Asher Peres, a pioneer of quantum information theory, once remarked jokingly in a letter to a colleague (Dagmar Bruß): Entanglement is a trick 'quantum magicians' use to produce phenomena that cannot be imitated by 'classical magicians'. When two particles are entangled, measurements performed on one of them immediately affect the other, no matter how far apart the particles are. What if, in an experiment, one considers a system that does not allow for entanglement? Will the quantum magicians still have an advantage over the classical magicians? Quantum physics beyond magic This is the question the team of quantum physicists led by Anton Zeilinger from the Faculty of Physics at the University of Vienna and from the IQOQI of the Austrian Academy of Sciences addressed in their experiment. The physicists used a "qutrit" -- a quantum system consisting of a single photon that can assume three distinguishable states. "We were able to demonstrate experimentally that quantum mechanical measurements cannot be interpreted in a classical way even when no entanglement is involved," Radek Lapkiewicz explains. The findings relate to the theoretical predictions by John Stewart Bell, Simon B. Kochen, and Ernst Specker. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110624111942.htm
Moreover we even have experimental evidence that none of the preceding experiments will ever be overturned:
An experimental test of all theories with predictive power beyond quantum theory - May 2011 Excerpt: Hence, we can immediately refute any already considered or yet-to-be-proposed alternative model with more predictive power than this (quantum theory). http://arxiv.org/abs/1105.0133
Alain Aspect and Anton Zeilinger by Richard Conn Henry - Physics Professor - John Hopkins University Excerpt: Why do people cling with such ferocity to belief in a mind-independent reality? It is surely because if there is no such reality, then ultimately (as far as we can know) mind alone exists. And if mind is not a product of real matter, but rather is the creator of the "illusion" of material reality (which has, in fact, despite the materialists, been known to be the case, since the discovery of quantum mechanics in 1925), then a theistic view of our existence becomes the only rational alternative to solipsism (solipsism is the philosophical idea that only one's own mind is sure to exist). (Dr. Henry's referenced experiment and paper - “An experimental test of non-local realism” by S. Gröblacher et. al., Nature 446, 871, April 2007 - “To be or not to be local” by Alain Aspect, Nature 446, 866, April 2007 http://henry.pha.jhu.edu/aspect.html
Music and verse:
ROYAL TAILOR - HOLD ME TOGETHER http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbpJ2FeeJgw Revelation 4:11 "You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being."
No, it's not an a priori assumption. As Charles implied, it's the only conclusion that avoids an infinite regression of causes. Querius
The Kalam argues the existence of God, the result of which is nature as we experience it. Although Occam would argue that you need only one God, whether Deity is singular, multi-faceted, or multiple cannot be discovered, only revealed by Diety, which many believe has been done. An independent, multi-directional, two-dimensional closed manifold of time is fanciful, but wildly speculative along the lines of elephants standing on the back of a giant celestial turtle. How could anyone, even Hawking, measure the passage of time without invoking space and mass-energy? It doesn't work. Finally, I did not say anything about "our universe's version of nothingness" nor whether it's known or unknown. Nothing is simply non-existence. And non-existence has no laws, no information, and no potential for anything. As such, it can be understood perfectly. It is not unknown. Querius
True, but we can not conduct experiments nor collect data from outside our universe. So while the origin problem is left unanswered, that should not be mistaken as proof or evidence for said origin. Further, extrapolating our universe's causality to a supra-universal causality (if such a thing even exists) is an a priori assumption. rhampton7
God: Get your own gravity. [offstage: drum riff and ... rim shot] But seriously folks, any explanation for the origins of the universe must begin ex nihilo, otherwise it simply begs the question of how any presumed initial conditions were established. To presume either forces, energy, time, space, dimensions, or even a vaccum merely shifts the problem to how those originated. Charles
It can not be disproved that multiple Gods co-exist, and thus are responsible for our reality. Nor can it be disproved that the big bang is not a definitive end-point but rather a location on a sphere of time (to use Hawking's anology) - a topology without beginning or end. Eternal. Like God, a self-referential paradox to the human mind. And as Querius mentioned what is or is not possible in a nothing of true nothingness is unknown. Our universe's version of nothingness may lead us to incorrect assumptions. Lastly, there is the concept of unknown unknowns. By categorically stating that there are only two possibilities, you have essentially claimed that all unknowns about existence outside our universe are known, and that is strictly a matter of philosophical opinion. rhampton7
One problem that many people have with understanding the Kalam, is that "nothing" is not the same as empty space. There are no "Laws of Nothing." Many people also have trouble understanding that time does not exist when there is nothing. There are no billions of years and no events for probability to function. Also, pantheists don't realize that by definition, their god must have had a beginning, and thus their god was created by mine. ;-) Querius
Here is a video playlist, of 57 videos, of William Lane Craig defending the Kalam cosmological argument against the many various attempted refutations of it:
Dr. William Lane Craig defends the Kalam Cosmological argument for the existence of God against various attempted refutations - video playlist http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=916E17EE70E98A68
Further notes and quotes:
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 “,,,the astronomical evidence leads to a biblical view of the origin of the world,,, the essential element in the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis is the same.” Robert Jastrow – Founder of NASA’s Goddard Institute – Pg.15 ‘God and the Astronomers’ ,,, 'And if your curious about how Genesis 1, in particular, fairs. Hey, we look at the Days in Genesis as being long time periods, which is what they must be if you read the Bible consistently, and the Bible scores 4 for 4 in Initial Conditions and 10 for 10 on the Creation Events' Hugh Ross - Evidence For Intelligent Design Is Everywhere; video "The Big Bang represents an immensely powerful, yet carefully planned and controlled release of matter, energy, space and time. All this is accomplished within the strict confines of very carefully fine-tuned physical constants and laws. The power and care this explosion reveals exceeds human mental capacity by multiple orders of magnitude." Prof. Henry F. Schaefer - Hugh Ross PhD. - Evidence For The Transcendent Origin Of The Universe - video http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4347185 The Scientific Evidence For The Big Bang - Michael Strauss PhD. - video http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4323668 Beyond The Big Bang: William Lane Craig Templeton Foundation Lecture (HQ) 1/6 - video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esqGaLSWgNc Evidence For the Existence of God - William Lane Craig - video lecture http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hW3ceQYxic Formal Proof For The Transcendent Origin Of the Universe - William Lane Craig - video http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4170233 "The prediction of the standard model that the universe began to exist remains today as secure as ever—indeed, more secure, in light of the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem and that prediction’s corroboration by the repeated and often imaginative attempts to falsify it. The person who believes that the universe began to exist remains solidly and comfortably within mainstream science." - William Lane Craig http://www.reasonablefaith.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=6115 Inflationary spacetimes are not past-complete - Borde-Guth-Vilenkin - 2003 Excerpt: inflationary models require physics other than inflation to describe the past boundary of the inflating region of spacetime. http://arxiv.org/abs/gr-qc/0110012 "It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can long longer hide behind the possibility of a past eternal universe. There is no escape, they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning." Alexander Vilenkin - Many Worlds In One - Pg. 176 "The conclusion is that past-eternal inflation is impossible without a beginning." Alexander Vilenkin - from pg. 35 'New Proofs for the Existence of God' by Robert J. Spitzer (of note: A elegant thought experiment of a space traveler traveling to another galaxy, that Borde, Guth, and Vilenkin, used to illustrate the validity of the proof, is on pg. 35 of the book as well.) "Every solution to the equations of general relativity guarantees the existence of a singular boundary for space and time in the past." (Hawking, Penrose, Ellis) - 1970
Verse and music:
Genesis 1:1-3 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light. Carrie Underwood with Vince Gill How Great thou Art - 720P HD - Standing Ovation! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLLMzr3PFgk
As a mere layman, I frequently like to befuddle myself with speculations about origins. I believe it was Stephen Hawking who asked, "Why does the Universe bother to exist?" I had come up with a similar two-part question. Why is there anything at all? What would there be if there were nothing? I have trouble with that because my mind wants to envision "physical space" with nothing in it. Yet when I read about the Big Bang and learn that "space" did not exist outside the Big Bang but was contained within it as the new universe expanded, I become even more befuddled. Then there is the Kalam Comological Argument. What begins to exist has to have a cause. The universe began to exist, therefore it had a cause. Of course, the naive question is what caused the cause... and this leads to the infinite regress. That leaves us with an uncaused first cause, an entity that has to exist beyond time and space, since time and space did not come into existence until after the Big Bang. I cannot wrap my mind around the fact that the uncaused first cause - God - exists (if that word even has meaning in this context) beyond time and space. I hope you will forgive the ramblings of a layman, but can anyone truly understand "ultimate reality?" NeilBJ

Leave a Reply