Intelligent Design

Where did the laws of nature come from?: Astrophysicist Hugh Ross vs chemist Peter Atkins

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Hugh Ross. Peter Atkins.

From Premier Christian Radio:

Unbelievable? Where did the laws of nature come from? Hugh Ross vs Peter Atkins

Justin is joined by Christian astrophysicist Hugh Ross, founder of Reasons to Believe, and atheist scientist Peter Atkins of Oxford University, to debate whether the laws of nature came from ‘nothing’ or from God.

Peter Atkins’ new book Conjuring The Universe: The Origins of the Laws of Nature’ claims that the Universe and it’s laws reflect the ‘nothing’ from whence they came. Hugh Ross has recently released a 4th edition of ‘The Cosmos and the Creator’ and explains why he believes the scientific evidence is continually growing for a creator of the universe and its life-permitting laws. More.

23 Replies to “Where did the laws of nature come from?: Astrophysicist Hugh Ross vs chemist Peter Atkins

  1. 1

    Love Hugh Ross. Thank you for this post.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    So Krauss thought he could redefine nothing to mean something, and now Atkins thinks he can assign the characteristic of ‘uniformity’ to nothing as well as give causal power to nothing.

    Quite interesting attributes for non-being to have! 🙂

    Moreover, both men think they are being reasonable in their redefinition of nothing to mean something.

    Might I suggest that ‘nothing’, i.e. non-being, more closely resembles their arguments than what they have falsely imagined nothing to be? 🙂

  3. 3
    Origenes says:

    According to Peter Atkins there must be a physical (mechanistic) explanation for everything — to believe otherwise is “intellectually lazy.” Consequently he must hold that this also applies to his own beliefs.

    However, if his beliefs are consequences of physical events and laws of nature in the remote past before Peter was born, as opposed to resulting from his conscious control, he would have no way of knowing if any of his beliefs are true or false.

    Even Peter Atkins has no control over events and laws of nature in the remote past before he was born …

    Dear Peter, if you are unable to account for each step in your reasoning leading up to your beliefs, if you do not encapsulate every step of your reasoning, if a step (or steps) results from beyond your conscious control, if it is a defining feature of your reasoning that a step (or steps) takes place without your informed and conscious consent, beyond your conscious choice, then you cannot vouch for any of your beliefs.

    If you are right Peter, and materialism is true, your reasoning would be tainted by unaccounted steps and consequently you would not know if any of your beliefs are true or false.

    And there would be no way out of this gridlock, since not only would your reasoning be tainted by unaccounted steps, your judgement of your reasoning would be as well.

  4. 4
    kairosfocus says:

    Pulling a cosmos out of a non-existent hat again? (Or is that relabelling a convenient something as nothing?)

  5. 5
    harry says:

    Science perverted by atheism has been reduced to irrationally insisting nothing is something.

  6. 6
    rado says:

    I rather see “nothing” as the fundamental substance which is the basis of reality and all creation.

    I can recommend reading Walter Russell’s “The Secret of Light”, it’s based on a 39 day long revelation he had where God revealed to him all the scientific principles behind creation.

  7. 7
    Seversky says:

    So, basically, in spite of the books, we’re no further forward on the question of origins. The most honest answer is “we still don’t know”.

  8. 8
    Origenes says:

    The most honest answer is that physical causality is not a concept that can explain all of reality.

    It runs into either an ‘infinite regress’ or ‘something from nothing.’ Moreover, as I have argued in #3, physical causality is incompatible with rationality.

  9. 9
    ET says:

    Seversky @ 7-

    If the most honest answer is “we don’t know” then the most honest thing to do is allow ID back on the table and let the students know and understand why.

    But right now we are being hypocrites by not doing so.

  10. 10
    kairosfocus says:

    Folks, it’s back to logic-of-being issues. BA77 is right that a true nothing is non-being. You cannot assign non-being causal capability coherently, that makes nonsense of any orderly cosmos. Science goes poof. The root I suspect is, if there ever were utter non-being, such would forever obtain. So, as a world now is, something always was and so will be independent of other beings for its existence. That is, we are staring at a necessary being world-root. The question is what can that be. Especially when rationally, responsibly free contemplative and en-conscienced creatures like us are in the mix. Our thought life is so inextricably entangled with duties to truth, reason, prudence etc that we cannot coherently assign conscience to delusion. This points to a needed NB world root capable of grounding ought. Where, too, appeal to a beginningless prior chain of contingent temporal-causal stages brims over with difficulties and circular causation seems futile. KF

  11. 11
    Allan Keith says:

    KairosFocus,

    You cannot assign non-being causal capability coherently, that makes nonsense of any orderly cosmos. Science goes poof. The root I suspect is, if there ever were utter non-being, such would forever obtain. So, as a world now is, something always was and so will be independent of other beings for its existence. That is, we are staring at a necessary being world-root.

    Why do you say that? If it is true that something can’t come from nothing (not an unreasonable assumption) then why isn’t the existance of something before the Big Bang the most viable option for the cause of our universe? Why does it have to be a necessary “being”?

  12. 12
    Origenes says:

    Kairosfocus: You cannot assign non-being causal capability coherently, that makes nonsense of any orderly cosmos. Science goes poof.

    Peter Atkins argues, in effect, that we can have free energy from nothing. The only requirement, according to Atkins, is that there must be an equal amount of positive and negative charge. His idea is that the two cancel each other out, so we have, in fact, still “nothing.”
    Question: is there any scientific evidence for Atkins’ free energy?

  13. 13
    vividbleau says:

    Origenes

    Think about it, as soon as someone starts to describe what nothing” is “they have lost the argument.

    Vivid

  14. 14
    kairosfocus says:

    AK, being is used in a very broad sense. If there were, for argument, an infinite quasi-physical causal temporal past, that would be a being in the relevant sense. Remember, many people take various abstract entities to be beings in a relevant sense. Indeed in Math, Platonism is alive and well. KF

  15. 15
    Allan Keith says:

    Kairosfocus,

    AK, being is used in a very broad sense. If there were, for argument, an infinite quasi-physical causal temporal past, that would be a being in the relevant sense.

    Let’s be honest. That is not how you have been using it. Your “necessary being” is god. But if there is an infinite material past, there is no need for god. Or do you disagree?

  16. 16
    ET says:

    Allan:

    But if there is an infinite material past, there is no need for god.

    That doesn’t follow.

  17. 17
    Allan Keith says:

    ET,

    That doesn’t follow.

    How so? If the need for the “necessary being” is because of deriving something from nothing, isn’t it minimized if there is never a time when their is nothing?

  18. 18
    Origenes says:

    AK: If the need for the “necessary being” is because of deriving something from nothing ..

    A “necessary being” is needed because something cannot be derived from nothing.

    … isn’t it minimized if there is never a time when their is nothing?

    Given an infinite material past, matter does not need an explanation. However, it can still be argued that matter does not explain life, consciousness, rationality, morality and so on.

  19. 19
    Allan Keith says:

    Origenes,

    A “necessary being” is needed because something cannot be derived from nothing.

    So you agree, if there was always “something”, god is not needed.

    Given an infinite material past, matter does not need an explanation. However, it can still be argued that matter does not explain life, consciousness, rationality, morality and so on.

    But that is a different argument than the one KF and BA77 we’re presenting. A god is not needed if “something” always existed. And if “something” always existed, the combinatorial exposition argument fails.

  20. 20
    Origenes says:

    AK: So you agree, if there was always “something”, god is not needed.

    Well, God would not be needed to explain that something.

    But that is a different argument than the one KF and BA77 we’re presenting. A god is not needed if “something” always existed.

    True. If something always existed, “something” cannot be used as an argument for God’s existence.

  21. 21
    ET says:

    Allan:

    If the need for the “necessary being” is because of deriving something from nothing, isn’t it minimized if there is never a time when their[sic] is nothing?

    According to Judaism, Christianity and Islam there never was such a time.

    With an infinite material past you would have to explain how we got here from there. And that is something you cannot do.

  22. 22
    rado says:

    Since nothing comes from nothing, something must have existed forever – and that something is called God. And since God has existed forever, no one created him/her.

  23. 23
    rado says:

    Correction/explanation:

    “I rather see “nothing” as the fundamental substance which is the basis of reality and all creation.”

    That substance is not physical in the ordinary sense of physical (time/space reality), so from a materialistic or physical perspective it IS nothing. But not in an absolute sense.

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