Monday, July 21, 2014

This Video Is Not Dangerous To My Atheism

The other day I was checking up on my Klout score(something I'm finding to be a fairly useless measure of social media influence), and I seen this blog post listed in the create tab: "Warning: This Video May Be Dangerous To Your Atheism".

Oh, joy. A blog post from the original writer of "God's Not Dead", Rice Broocks. Let's see if we can analyse this blog post, paragraph by paragraph:

"The discovery that the universe had a beginning is a relatively recent realization in the scientific community. The implication of this discovery is that in one moment, all of space and time came into being. In fact, one such scientist named the event the "Big Bang" as a derogatory term, since he feared that the idea was allowing "the divine foot in the door""[emphasis Broocks'].

The last sentence is the first mislead in the blog post. Georges LemaƮtre, the scientist who first proposed the Big Bang model, described it as the "the Cosmic Egg exploding at the moment of the creation". Fred Hoyle, who was the one who coined the theory "the Big Bang", criticized it mainly because it competed with his favorite, but now obsolete, "Steady State" theory. While Hoyle did fear the "divine foot in the door", his fear was unnecessary. The Big Bang theory does not imply an intelligent or supernatural cause, despite Broocks obviously trying to paint it as such. It may allow for a possibility of such a cause, but then such a cause must first be proven before plugging it as anything beyond a hypothesis.

"Further, the notion of a beginning for everything was resisted by certain scientists due to the fact that it pointed people toward a Creator. The fundamental laws of physics appear to have been carefully designed to allow for a life-permitting universe. This evidence of “fine-tuning” further points to a personal, super-intellect creating the universe with life in mind."

Again, this fear was totally unnecessary. And in this paragraph is an appeal to the long debunked "fine-tuning" argument for the existence of God. Unfortunately for Broocks, as the previous link shows, "fine-tuning" can actually be a great argument for the non-existence of God. Consider that we live in a universe that is estimated to be only 2% baryonic matter, and just on Earth biomass is only .00000000117% of Earth's total mass. This seems more like a universe fine-tuned for black holes and dark matter than for life. Moving on:

"The naturalist (one who believes nature is all that exists) asserts that the universe came into being from nothing, by nothing, for nothing. The theist believes the universe came from nothing, by Someone, for something. Naturalists attempt to explain away this evidence by appealing to the existence of multiple universes (the multiverse). However, such claims are based mainly on wild speculation and blind faith, so they are not as reasonable as an eternal, uncreated, personal Creator."
And here is where Broocks engages in projection and metaphysical cherry-picking. Broocks projects that naturalists believe the universe was created ex nihilo(from nothing) without an effective cause. However, all of humanity's experience shows that things that exist within the universe are created ex materia(from materials) with some sort of effective cause. Yet Broocks clearly states that theists believe the universe came into being ex nihilo by a supernatural sentient creator being, based on the same blind faith and wild speculation he accuses naturalists of having. Broocks can't demonstrate or point to an act of creation ex nihilo within the universe, and we certainly haven't found a way to observe anything outside the universe, so ex nihilo itself is nothing more than a hypothesis at best.

But scientists aren't dogmatically naturalists. Scientists are bottom-up evidentialists and empiricists. Until evidence can reasonably show otherwise, Broocks' argument can't advance any further than a hypothesis. And let's be clear, Broocks does not have any evidence to support his claim, just his religious beliefs. He's working top-down by starting with his conclusion and cherry-picking what he can use and ignore what breaks his conclusion. If it were discovered that Big Bang was caused, say for the sake of argument, by an act of virtual particles, would he call those particles "God"? I highly doubt it. He'd probably just move the goalposts and claim "God" made the virtual particles that caused the Big Bang.

The last paragraph of Broocks' piece doesn't really matter, so I'll just say this about the video in the article which was supposed to be "dangerous" to my atheism: The Kalam cosmological argument is not an argument for God at all. It can only claim at best that the universe had a cause. Religious apologists merely jump to "God" from Kalam without any reasoning or evidence to bridge that gap. The most honest answer that can be given at this moment is simply: "We don't know what caused the Big Bang yet, but it seems it will be something that is very crazy to our minds". For a more in-depth refutation of the Kalam argument, I leave you to watch philosophy buff, soap actor and YouTube atheist Scott Clifton do so with ease: