Why Can't Theists See That The Universe Came From Nothing?

Thanks to Quantum Mechanics we know for a fact that the existence of the universe is the result of inflation from quantum randomness. The existence of virtual particles that randomly pop in and out of existence from nothingness firmly buttresses a wholly naturalistic explanation for the origin of our space-time universe 13,70 billion years ago.

Why Theists can't see this is just beyond me. I mean how absolutely obtuse do they have to be to refuse to accept such clear evidence?

One small, teeny-tiny, isty-bitsy detail. Virtual particles don't actually come from nothing. They exist in a quantum vacuum - a roiling sea of energy governed by physical laws.

Hmm ....

Ok so virtual particles don't actually come from nothing ...

Could this be the reason why vacuum fluctuation models are incompatible with observational cosmology? "As C. J. Isham points out there is in such models simply no way in which the mathematics can select one particular moment within the pre-existent, infinite, and homogeneous time at which a fluctuation should occur which will spawn a universe. Similarly, no way exists for specifying a certain point in space at which such a creation event should occur. Rather vacuum fluctuation theories tend to predict a creation event at every time t, or more precisely, as quantum theories they predict a non-zero probability of a creation event within any finite time interval, with an infinite number of creation points distributed evenly throughout space. This leads at once to an infinite number of creation events within the wider spacetime. But then the fluctuation-formed universes would inevitably collide with each other as they expand, which contradicts the findings of observational cosmology, since we do not see such "worlds in collision," to borrow a phrase." (http://bit.ly/TMk5XC)

Hmmm ...

Quentin Smith, a philosopher of science at the University of Western Michigan, adds: "It belongs analytically to the concept of the cosmological singularity that it is not the effect of prior physical events. The definition of a singularity entails that it is impossible to extend the spacetime manifold beyond the singularity. This effectively rules out the idea that the singularity is the effect of some prior natural process." ("Theism, Atheism, and Big Bang Cosmology" (1993))

Waitaminute! No natural process caused our spacetime universe to come into existence 13.70 billion years ago?

If the universe didn't come from nothing, where did the subatomic singularity which birthed our space-time universe come from?

Uh oh ....
maxximiliann maxximiliann
36-40, M
3 Responses Dec 7, 2012


I have no problem with the Scientific Method or the philosophy underpinning it. All I've been saying is that “if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” -Maslow

Why are you so hostile to adding other tools to your tool box?

There are many tools in my tool box, but I choose the right tool for the task.

What reaction would you expect of a construction worker if you walked up and said, "Hey, I'm into construction too. But not really. I snuck in. Why don't you use this rock instead of whatever that tool is that you're using. What is that thing, anyway? I don't understand it, which probably means it can't be very useful if it's not understandable. People were using rocks as tools thousands of years ago and I've gotten quite good at it. Would you like to see? You should use this rock. I have more if you want. E pluribus unum."

I don't follow. How does this relate to our discussion?

To try and put things in your terms, there are many types of truths, and just as many ways of searching for those truths. I see the universe and see physics. You see the universe and see divinity. The proven method for discovering truth as it relates to physics is the scientific method, so that is the tool I prefer to use. You find this unsatisfying because it does not allow you to relate to your God and it does not allow one to study questions of divinity that cannot be examined by observation.

The two must necessarily collide, though. You can't think about your God entirely in the abstract. You choose to attribute physical phenomena to His hand. You have to make claims about *physics* in order to integrate your beliefs on divinity with the real world.

And so, we start speaking different languages. For me, the best tool for studying physics remains the scientific method. But you're not here to study physics, you're here to examine God's work. The tools you use for this are the tools used by people thousands of years ago: your gut. You're asking me to use my gut to answer questions about physics, in the hopes that I will "discover God".

And then, I'm assuming, you'd be able to write a report to your elders, at which time they'll promote you to Proselytizer Third Class and you'll get your merit badge. That's what all of this is about, right?

You're still missing the point. Physics can tell us how but can it tell us why?

What evidence exists, of any kind, that a "greater purpose" exists to make that question answerable?

I, starting from the default position of a lack of any belief, see no evidence of a greater purpose, and so I find the question unanswerable and meaningless to pursue.

You, starting from the position that God exists, see the question of a greater purpose as one that logically follows from your pre-existing belief. Science cannot answer your question, so you embrace other types of truth and other methods of searching for it and develop a strong sense that "science can't answer everything" because you have clear and ubiquitous counter-examples of things that are clearly true but not supported by science.

So far, nothing is wrong with this. Where we get into trouble is when you try to *rationalize* your approach and make claims that science *does* support your beliefs that God exists. Part of you accepts that, deep down, science and reason ought to lead people to truth one way or the other. And since you already know the truth, you just need to figure out the right line of reasoning that will connect your true beliefs to the non-believers. But this will never work. There is always that one last leap that must be a leap of faith. You can construct an amazingly detailed, accurate, complete *valid* line of reasoning connecting the entirety of your belief system together, but you will always, at the top of your argument, have that one axiom, that one assumption, that must be accepted as true a priori, before the argument can be accepted as *sound*.

And no matter how much you try, no matter what rational argument you attempt to present, no matter how much you choose to appeal to incredulity, popularity or authority, this last bit will never truly be justifiable rationally and will never be accepted by those that aren't interested in making this leap of faith. I really think you need to focus more on what it will take to get this assumption accepted, and less on the rational framework that you can construct once that assumption is accepted as true.

I think you actually know what I'm talking about at this point, and you know that you can't get people to make that last leap of faith, and so what you seem to try and do is factor that assumption out of your rational arguments. And that is why you stumble repeatedly onto logical fallacy after logical fallacy, and your arguments become circular or end up presuming something else that ends up being a proxy for the assumption you're trying to avoid saying out loud. I really think your life would be much easier if you just make your assumptions explicit and stopped trying to work around them in your rationalizations.

And just what precisely is that "one last leap that must be a leap of faith"?

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My search for truth is hardly over. As a growing and reasoning human being I'm constantly learning new things, looking to understand the significance of my experiences and seeking out new and more effective ways to make a valuable and permanent difference in the life of my fellow man.

None of this, though, would be possible if I had not already understood WHERE we came from, WHY we're here and WHAT the future has in store for mankind ... which is what I share with all those who, like me, hunger for truth.

Are you succeeding in your goals on this site?

Jehovah God continually blesses my efforts, yes :)

How? Does he whisper to you in the dark at night? Do you report back to your JW elders who then whisper to an unseen being behind them before turning back to you and saying, "Hi, Jehovah God says your report is mooost excellent and that he blesses you."

Because of the positive feedback I keep getting PM'd to me both here and the other forums where I hold these types of discussions.

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it is because of the laws of thermodynamics

I don't follow. Please elaborate.

Something can't come from nothing

And just how precisely does this change the reality that "an infinite number of creation events within the wider spacetime [] would inevitably collide with each other as they expand which contradicts the findings of observational cosmology , since we do not see such "worlds in collision"" ?

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Specifically, the claim that we must be able to observe a collision requires that the events are occurring with a sufficient density (in space and in time) for a collision to be observable. Since we know nothing about the probabilities of such an event, that means we know nothing about the frequency and density of them. A lack of observation says nothing about whether the hypothesis is correct or not.

There is no "contradiction" here except in the mind of someone that does not understand what science means.

Further, without actually understanding the nature of our own spacetime as it pertains to the creation event, we don't actually know whether other creation events would impinge in any way within our own observable universe. The very idea that these events would collide with our own universe requires accepting certain assumptions about how universes would affect each other that have no basis in "observational cosmology" either. In short, your conclusion is based entirely on speculation that isn't, in any way, corroborated or refuted by observation. But that's probably what you get when you start quoting philosophers on the origins of the universe instead of actual cosmological scientists.

If that's really what you accept as true, why is it you readily make use of this kind of reasoning to presume God absolutely does not nor could not exist?

Could you point me to where I've made any claims suggesting "God absolutely does not nor could not exist"?

That's unmistakably the impression you've persuaded upon me over these many months. Until you finally discover God Almighty in a laboratory , he does not nor cannot exist .

We've had many conversations about what atheism means, and countless discussions where I've attempted to correct this fundamental misconception that you seem to be unable to shake about what science can or can not say about gods, and what conclusions one can rationally justify from that information. The fact that you continue to make claims such as this about my own views or the views of atheists generally is truly baffling to me. It's as if you are struck with amnesia after ever conversation, and you begin again to invent claims and put them in the mouths of others. "Unmistakable" indeed.

I'd normally just attribute this to your tendency to redefine words to suit your beliefs, but I'm beginning to think this particular problems is more than that. It's almost like you prefer to believe the wrong thing, because it gives you the opportunity to attack claims that you know how to attack, and divert attention from conversations that you don't know how to respond to.

What you've done is persuade me to believe you're an Antitheist who will not accept any evidence for God's existence until it's published in a peer-reviewed study based on laboratory results. That's the only dimension you seem to be able to think in.

The fact still remains, nonetheless, that reality doesn't work that way (primarily because Science is neither omniscient or infallible).

I can't tell if you're acknowledging my point or if you're still conflating "lack of a belief" with "anti-belief". When you say "will not accept any evidence" you seem to understand, but then you say things like "Antitheist", which suggests you don't.

Do you, in fact, understand the difference between a *lack* of something, and the *presence* of that something's opposite?

A lack of a positive electric charge is (a) no electric charge; or (b) a negative electric charge?

A lack of $100 is (a) $0; or (b) a $100 debt?

Someone that isn't your friend is (a) just some person; or (b) your enemy?

An atheistic belief is fundamentally (a) lacking any belief in Gods; or (b) believing that Gods can not exist?

I know this one can get confusing because (b) usually does imply (a), but (a) does not imply (b). Do you understand that?

We both are after "truth". The difference between us is that I actually know what the word "science" means, what the "scientific method" is, and why these things were invented in the first place. When you understand what problems the scientific method was created to solve, you will understand why I reject evidence for gods that you seem willing to accept. Your search for truth is largely over and you now seek to discourage others from their own search because, hey, you've found it, and now you just need to make people believe the way you do. Why are you so intent on visiting Internet forums and stirring up conflict? Is that what JW teaches you? How do you reconcile this with your claims that your religion is all about love and harmony? What are your goals on this site? Are you succeeding in them?

You're absolutely right! This is the reason why the Atheists' insistence that the universe originated from nothing by nothing for nothing is unqualified folderol.

Thank you I'll take a look at that

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