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Physics Evidence for God Awana March 17, 2013 Allen Hainline Reasonable Faith UTD www.OriginsDiscussion.info.

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Presentation on theme: "Physics Evidence for God Awana March 17, 2013 Allen Hainline Reasonable Faith UTD www.OriginsDiscussion.info."— Presentation transcript:

1 Physics Evidence for God Awana March 17, 2013 Allen Hainline Reasonable Faith UTD

2 Can Science Disprove God? Suppose that there were no scientific evidence for God, would that disprove His existence? –No! strong evidence for God beyond science Philosophical argument (morality, Leibnizian etc.) Fulfilled prophecies Miracles Religious experience –But some claim science is only source of knowledge

3 Can All Knowledge Be Scientific? What is wrong with these claims? –“Don’t believe in anything you can’t perceive with your 5 senses” –“If you can’t verify something scientifically you can’t know it” They are self-refuting! Like saying “No English sentence is longer than 3 words” These claims cannot be verified by our senses or science Science itself assumes logic and mathematics are valid but these cannot be proven scientifically 3

4 Are science and Christianity at war? –No – historians of science reject warfare metaphor Science birthed out of Christian culture Science studies only nature –Generally assumes nothing supernatural happens –Inability to detect supernatural based primarily on assumptions –Hard in principle to show nothing exists beyond nature by studying nature Do we expect science to detect God creating now? –No, we’re in the 7 th day – the day of rest Is there tension at some points? –Yes, primarily related to statements in Bible

5 Points of Conflict between Bible and Science 5 Science ThenScience NowBible Earth held up by elephants or by the Greek God Atlas Earth surrounded by empty space in its orbit “He hangs the earth on nothing” Job 26:7 Water flows into the ocean only through rivers and rainfall Springs in the ocean were discovered in the 1970’s “Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea?” Job 38:16 Ocean floor assumed flatOcean floor contains deep valleys and mountains Ocean floor contains deep valleys & mountains (2 Sam 22:16, Jonah 2:6) Sick people must be bledBlood brings oxygen and nutrients to sustain cells “Life of the flesh is in the blood” Lev 17:11 Did not understand importance of washing with running water Washing with running water critical to washing off bacteria When dealing with disease, wash hands with running water Lev 15:11 Did not understand need for sanitary practices (e.g. Bubonic plague !) Critical to minimizing spread of diseases Quarantining, burying human waste, hyssop as antibacterial agent Lev. 13:45-6; Deut 23:12-13 Air weightlessAir has weightAir has weight (Job 28:25)

6 Christian View of Origins Even in early 20 th century, many scientists believed universe was eternal and static Even in early 20 th century, many scientists believed universe was eternal and static Bible claimed that: Bible claimed that: – Universe created out of nothing (Gen 1:1, Heb 11:3) – Even time had a beginning Bible claims God existed before time began (Titus 1:2, Jude 24) Bible claims God existed before time began (Titus 1:2, Jude 24) 6

7 Cosmological Argument for God’s Existence 1.Whatever begins to exist has a cause 2.The universe began to exist 3.Therefore, the universe has a cause – Science has shown that even space and time had a beginning Cause must be outside of time, space, matter; extremely powerful Cause must be outside of time, space, matter; extremely powerful – Can anyone think of a being that fits this description? 7

8 Consensus Science: Universe had a beginning – Vilenkin: "All the evidence we have says that the universe had a beginning.“ “With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape, they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning.” “With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape, they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning.” Even time and space cannot be extended into eternal past Even time and space cannot be extended into eternal past – BVG Theorem – Independent of whether or not Big Bang model is accurate

9 Fine-Tuning of Universe “Our universe and its laws appear to have a design that both is tailor-made to support us and, if we are to exist, leaves little room for alteration.” Stephen Hawking "The really amazing thing is not that life on Earth is balanced on a knife-edge, but that the entire universe is balanced on a knife-edge, and would be total chaos if any of the natural 'constants' were off even slightly. - Dr. Paul Davies, Physicist ASU

10 Our Universe is Finely-Tuned – Among possible universes, only a tiny fraction would permit life – Finely-Tuned in 3 Aspects Laws Fundamental constants of laws Initial conditions “If anyone claims not to be surprised by the special features that the universe has, he is hiding his head in the sand. These special features are surprising and unlikely.” David Deutch (Oxford Physicist, Fellow of Royal Society)

11 Fine-Tuning of Gravity If gravity can vary up to strong nuclear force strength: – If stronger by 1 in 10 34, stars burn out too fast for life – If stronger by 1 in 10 36, stars implode – If stronger by 1 in 10 40, universe dominated by black holes not stars – If weaker by 1 in 10 36, stars lose material to radiation pressure – If too weak, no stars or planets possible “It is an unexplained miracle that gravity is as weak as it is” Susskind Multiple finely-tuned life-permitting criteria make it look even more “rigged”

12 1 chance in is equivalent to – Color one tiny grain of sand red – Mix it in sandpile in Eurasia up to 5 times the height of moon – Randomly select the 1 red grain of sand Comprehending the Fine-Tuning

13 Initial Conditions Finely-Tuned Oxford Physicist Roger Penrose computed probability for our universe to begin in such an ordered state – Fine-tuned to 1 in 10 to power of Writing number out requires more 0’s than particles in universe Writing number out requires more 0’s than particles in universe “This number tells us how precise the Creator’s aim must have been” “This number tells us how precise the Creator’s aim must have been” Much more improbable than 1 monkey typing out all writings in human history in a particular order Much more improbable than 1 monkey typing out all writings in human history in a particular order – Otherwise universe dominated by black holes!

14 Argument for God’s Existence Based on Fine-Tuning 1.Fine-tuning due to law, chance or design 2.Not Due to Law 3.Not Due to Chance 4.Therefore the fine-tuning is due to design The most plausible Designer at this fundamental level is God Argument doesn’t require that universe has maximum amount of life

15 Could Life Originate From Non-Life Apart from a Creator? Most scientists admit no plausible naturalistic scenario exists –“A scenario describing the genesis of life on earth by chance and natural causes which can be accepted on the basis of fact and not faith has not been written.“ Hubert Yockey –“The formation of the first life is viewed as a chance process that occurred in spite of minuscule odds such as 1: and which is accepted only because we are here. “ Christian Schwabe –Evolutionist Eugene Koonin puts odds at 1 in –“No one has an adequate materialistic explanation for how life arose“ Dawkins Atheists cannot appeal to biological evolution for the origin of lifeAtheists cannot appeal to biological evolution for the origin of life –“Pre-biological natural selection is a contradiction in terms” Dobzhansky –Simplest organism has at least 400 proteins Odds of finding a single functional protein by chance is 1 in among possible proteins of length 100Odds of finding a single functional protein by chance is 1 in among possible proteins of length 100 –$1,000, is offered to anyone who can provide a plausible theory

16 Evidence for God from Origin of Life “For biological evolution that is governed primarily by natural selection to take off, efficient systems for replication and [making proteins] are required, but even barebones cores of these systems appear to be products of extensive selection.” Eugene Koonin“For biological evolution that is governed primarily by natural selection to take off, efficient systems for replication and [making proteins] are required, but even barebones cores of these systems appear to be products of extensive selection.” Eugene Koonin Koonin describes a “dreary vicious circle: what would be the selective force behind the evolution of [a system making proteins] before there were functional proteins? And, of course, there could be no proteins without [it]”Koonin describes a “dreary vicious circle: what would be the selective force behind the evolution of [a system making proteins] before there were functional proteins? And, of course, there could be no proteins without [it]” Estimates chance of natural processes in our universe producing a self-replicating cell as 1 chance in Estimates chance of natural processes in our universe producing a self-replicating cell as 1 chance in

17 Origin of Life: Evidence for God? A single simple bacteria has the information content of an Encyclopedia –250 billion fit into a single teaspoon (information content of 20 stacks of Encyclopedia copies piled up to the moon) Simplest known organism has at least 400 proteins Ratio of functional to non functional proteins was for one 100 amino acids long (Robert Sauer, MIT) Leading theory (RNA World) still requires enormous complexity to get first self-replicating 17

18 Origin of Life Problems Can’t form long chains of the right kind of molecules “All speculation on the origin of life on Earth by chance cannot survive the first criterion of life: proteins are left- handed, sugars in DNA and RNA are right-handed.” Yockey Right and left-handed versions of amino acids – credit NASA

19 Current leading theory for the origin of life is compared to “a golfer, who having played a golf ball through an 18-hole course, then assumed that the ball could also play itself around the course in his absence. He had demonstrated the possibility of the event; it was only necessary to presume that some combination of natural forces (earthquakes, winds, tornadoes and floods, for example) could produce the same result, given enough time. No physical law need be broken” Robert Shapiro (Origin of Life expert)

20 Questions

21 Origin of Free Will and Consciousness Our scientific knowledge in these areas is more consistent with what is expected if God exists than if atheism is true –Basically science has no clue –Some have argued that these are impossible if naturalism is true Thus they would have to be merely illusions But an illusion is itself a conscious state to be explained –Suppose a naturalistic explanation is found Would at best become yet another case of fine-tuning These properties are extremely rare among possible physics They’re unnecessary for life and wouldn’t be favored by evolution We expect God to bestow these on creatures made in His image What purpose does consciousness serve if there is no free will?

22 Different interpretations of Gen exist –I’m not trying here to argue for a particular interpretation on age but if you become convinced from science of an old universe this should not be seen as evidence against the Bible Not a lot of predictions or details but there are some –Bible aims to teach us about God not science

23 Life’s Minimum Complexity “Of all the problems with the hypothesis that life started as nude replicating RNA molecules, the one I find most insurmountable is the one most rarely talked about: all living things seem to have a minimal complexity below which it is impossible to go.” Stuart Kauffman Life must harness energy, grow and reproduce All life is cellular: no evidence for other life forms Even simplest cell more complex than ever envisioned –Simplest organisms: Non-parasitic (~1500 genes), Parasitic (~470 genes) –A minimum set of cell features is irreducibly complex Replication System Translation System (Manufacture proteins) Cell membrane - critical to selectively allow in nutrients, protect cell Without any of these the cell dies

24 24 Can Science Point to God? What should count as evidence for God? What should count as evidence for God? – Evidence should be based on knowledge not ignorance Avoids “God of the Gaps” Avoids “God of the Gaps” Shouldn’t call it a gap just because science might change Shouldn’t call it a gap just because science might change – It’s not a gap if well supported by current science – Avoid “Naturalism of the Gaps” Minimal details revealed about the supernatural Minimal details revealed about the supernatural Is it still important? Is it still important?

25 Who Made God? Question assumes everything must have a cause Theists claim only that what begins to exist must be caused – Most philosophers historically have accepted this Atheists such as Bertrand Russell posited a self-existent universe that did not need to have been created or explained! Cosmological arguments point by deduction to something eternally existent that brings about the first cause An infinite regress of physical causes is impossible in a finite universe – We now know that matter, space and time are not eternal – So the question is like asking “Who caused the ‘uncaused first cause’ ?” A “created God” is not even a coherent concept 25

26 Has Science Disproven God? Science is not in business of proving things Science studies the natural world –God, if he exists, is beyond nature –Methodological Naturalism limits science to searching for natural causes Leads to a blind spot –Cannot distinguish between a research problem and a paradigm problem Does science intersect with religion at all?

27 Intersection of Science and Christianity Science could show problems with certain interpretations of Scripture –Our ability to interpret the Bible and the natural world is imperfect Some occasional tension is expected –If unambiguous clear scientific error in Bible, at most that would pose a problem for inerrancy At most science could indicate a lack of evidence for God from the natural world –God could have chosen solely to use philosophical arguments, historical evidence, religious experience –Science doesn’t say anything, scientists do Implications beyond science domain is highly subjective is Minimal Science Chr.

28 Genesis may not be teaching a young earth –Hebrew word for day (yom) can also literally mean long time periods “Day of Lord” represents long period of time in other verses –Hebrews 4 indicates God still in the seventh day of rest –Other verses suggest long time period I Chronicles 16:15, Deut 7:9, Psa 105:8 refer to 1000 generations –Genesis account itself points to this interpretation Gen 2:4 “This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made earth and heaven“ –Many Biblical scholars hold to inerrancy and old ages Norm Geisler, Lee Strobel, Chip Ingram, John Piper –Not just a reaction to modern scientific theories Interpretation of many early rabbis and church fathers –Philo, Irenaeus, Origen, Basil, Augustine »Representing 1 st through 5 th century 28

29 Is an Old Earth Biblical? Sailhammer/Piper proposes Gen 1 refers only to setting up Promised Land –After v.1 which refers to the entire creation long before the other verses –Sees day as 24-hours but earth and universe are ancient! –Sees Garden of Eden as being in future promised land Many verses suggestive of an old earth: –“The ancient mountains crumbled and the age-old hills collapsed.” Hab 3:6 –“But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being” 2 Peter 3:5a Does this verse have force if heavens only created a few 24-hour days prior to people? –Word “commanded … to a thousand generations” Psa 105:8b I Chronicles 16:15 and Deut 7:9 also refer to 1000 generations Not that I think this necessarily refers literally to 1000 generations but someone who interprets things in a wooden literal fashion has to deal with these passages Genealogies not intended to provide chronology –Inconsistencies reveal that gaps exist intentionally

30 What about conflict of Evolution? “earth brought forth” in Gen 1 could be taken to imply a natural process involved Evolution – population level so full evol. Would entail no Adam and Eve –Really only the unguided Darwinian version poses any threat to Christianity at all A single act of intervention by God to create Adam and Eve (with a soul) would resolve this I’m personally skeptical of Darwinism but more for scientific than theological reasons

31 “Who alone stretches out the heavens” Job 9:8 “And by His understanding He stretched out the heavens.” Jer 10:12, 51:15 “The LORD who stretches out the heavens” Zech 12:1 Isaiah 40:22, 42:5, 44:24, 45:12, 48:13, 51:13 Most of these verses use the Qal active participle form of the Hebrew verb natah – Form literally means “the stretcher out of them” (the heavens) – Implies continual or ongoing stretching 31 Bible indicates God “Stretches out the heavens”

32 Expansion of the Universe Until 20 th century no science or religious books claimed universe was expanding – Except for the Bible – Einstein added a fudge factor to his equations hoping to maintain a static universe Later called this his greatest blunder – Science now knows the fabric of space is being stretched About 10 years ago scientists learned that the universe is accelerating in its expansion “’Expanding’ isn't really the best word… A more accurate word for what the universe is doing might be ‘stretching’“ Cornell University web site 32

33 What about Conflicts between Science and Naturalism? Origins Issue ScienceNaturalistic Response UniverseUniverse not eternal (BVG + 2 nd Law) - Includes time and space Maybe something can come from nothing after all? (But nothing != Quantum vacuum) Initial conditions of universe Chances universe’s initial conditions would support life (1 in ) Atheist Sean Carroll: Why would God have finely-tuned the universe so beyond what is necessary? (To leave evidence of creation) Fine-tuning of laws and constants Miniscule changes to each of 4 fundamental forces or certain particle masses or other constants would result in a lifeless universe Vast numbers of other universes coupled with widely varying laws (Zero empirical evidence for either) LifeNo plausible naturalistic theory “occurred in spite of minuscule odds such as 1: and which is accepted only because we are here. “ Schwabe (Circular reasoning) Diversity of Life Microevolution + roughly increasing levels of complexity in fossil record over time Evolution is as proven as gravity (To prove naturalistic evolution one has to show whatever happened was not particularly improbable) Consciousness and free will No account for originConsciousness and free will may be illusions; “We just need more time” (Popper: promissory materialism: imagined evidence is not evidence!) Note that Naturalism is falsified unless it accounts for all origins issues

34 Atheist Thomas Nagel’s Honest Appraisal “[D]oubts about the reductionist account of life go against the dominant scientific consensus, but that consensus faces problems of probability that I believe are not taken seriously enough, both with respect to the evolution of life forms through accidental mutation and natural selection and with respect to the formation from dead matter of physical systems capable of such evolution.“ “It is no longer legitimate simply to imagine a sequence of gradually evolving phenotypes, as if their appearance through mutations in the DNA were unproblematic -- as Richard Dawkins does for the evolution of the eye.” From recent book Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo- Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False

35 More Nagel Quotes “I believe the defenders of intelligent design deserve our gratitude for challenging a scientific world view that owes some of the passion displayed by its adherents precisely to the fact that it is thought to liberate us from religion. That worldview is ripe for displacement....” “the problems that these [ID advocates] pose … should be taken seriously. They do not deserve the scorn with which they are commonly met. It is manifestly unfair.” Thomas Nagel in Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly Wrong

36 Can Science Detect the Supernatural? Sober, Dawkins, etc. think yes I don’t think it is a good idea to mix science and religion at all –Different disciplines –Keep religion (and anti-religion) out of science classroom and text books –Philosophy and other avenues can and should critique religion and atheism using science

37 Can Science Detect Design?

38 Scientists routinely infer design –Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (signal or noise?) –Archaeology (rock or artifact?) –Forensics (murder or accident?) Unwritten rule: evaluation of design scientific unless only candidate designer seems to be God Does Design Imply God? –Important to include arguments that go beyond science to make the God vs. E.T. case Would God have done things that way? Which God? Science too narrow of a discipline to evaluate –Need philosophy and theology


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