April 2nd, 2009
Over the past few years, I’ve been involved in a number of “text” debates on YouTube. Whether in the form of 500-word comments or full-fledged e-mail debates, they often help me discover my own reasons for believing more fully.
After watching a debate between Dr. William Lane Craig and a woefully unprepared professor of philosophy, I read through the comments to look for anything of interest. One particular posted challenged anyone to e-mail him a response to his amazing textual response.
Well, having watched the entire series (12 parts I believe), I decided to clarify the stance of Dr. Craig … and ended up following his arguments to obtain my own reasons to believe. Here, printed below, is the e-mail I received (from my challenge) and my response.
“haha I am not claiming that this is the truth but that it is at worst as equally possible as a creator, can you demonstrate how it is possible for all of these [universal physical] constants to be different and if so how much different can they be? Simply asserting that all these constants could be changed liked turning a dial or knob proves nothing. So we aren’t “going with” multiverse yet we are just looking into it instead of shrugging our shoulders and saying “god did it“
The “anthropic principle” argument, as it is called, isn’t questioning whether the constants of the universe can change. The weak and strong nuclear forces, gravity, and the other constants behave in a consistent way. In doing so, they allow matter to exist, planets to retain atmospheres, and life to exist.
The question isn’t, “Can these constants be changed?”. The question is, “Why do these constants exist in the first place?” The constants of the universe don’t have to exist (there’s no universal law necessitating gravity or the weak nuclear force). However, they do exist. Without them all working together in just the right way, no life could inhabit this universe.
If you take the odds of all the forces working together (like a great refined machine), you get an astronomical number (pardon the pun). Positing a near infinite number of universes, each with different “constants”, is a fair way of justifying this universes existence: We’re just the lucky one who drew all the right straws in just the right order.
However, this is pure imagination. There is no evidence supporting any multiverse theory. Is is pure speculation for which it is impossible, by definition, to find any evidence. This is just a “god” theory in a different package (the mulitverses are in “heaven” and we can’t see them or detect them, but we know, by faith, that they are there). Merely stating a conjecture does not make it more likely than any other.
“The monkey’s writing Shakespeare argument is totally irrelevant for what we are trying to analyze how and why our or any universe could start from non-intelligence not the odds of intelligence creating something written and why would you assume the odds are the same or similar?”
The point of that argument is: If you have semi-intelligent beings failing to create a mildly complex form (a book) and that because of a lack of intelligence, how can you expect something infinitely more complex (life) to form without intelligence?
“I am sorry your god of the gaps is insufficient. We do ask ourselves how was our universe created? This is a gap in our knowledge that will hopefully be filled soon. There have been many natural events in which people thought that could only operate through direct godly control (formation of solar systems, etc) for they were unexplainable otherwise, then science comes a long and shows how natural mindless systems can cause them. So I do not assume that there could not be a natural process of some kind that can create universes”
Indeed, your problem, as I’ve shown in the multiverse argument, is a “science-in-the-gaps” issue. All kinds of speculations are tossed about these days, most without a shred of proof nor the hope of discovering any in the future. Yet, it is somehow more plausible than an intelligent designer merely because it is a naturalistic solution. If you are to claim that our theory is false because we have no evidence, and I absolutely believe we do, then how can a wild conjecture you believe be any more true?
As for things like forming solar systems or forming stars, here is another glaring problem. It is mathematically possible for stars to form, but only in the wake of an exploding supernova. So where did the “population I” (first generation) stars come from? We can’t see any in the universe. As a matter of fact, no matter how far “back” we look all the stars are the same (same composition, same sizes, and same life cycles). On that note, where do elements heavier than iron come from? There is nothing in the known universe capable of creating them. There are many “problems” for modern science for which answers are “invented”, believed, and then extolled as true to the masses.
Science doesn’t “show” us how it did happen, rather it only shows us how it “could have” happened. It’s all about probability.
“how does this god exist? We are told by Craig that it is NOT in time and NOT in space. So now that we know how it does not exist, I would like to know how it does exist and how it is possible. Also are you a deist? For that is all the fine tuning argument addresses.”
Well, the “anthropic principle” and “fine-tuning” arguments both merely assert the existence of an “active, coherent intelligence” causing the universe. They do not address who or what the intelligence is. There are other arguments for that. I think Dr. Gary Habermas is a better reference on that topic.
As for how can a god exist … good question. Unless this intelligence chooses to let us know that, we won’t know. We are aware of other dimensions and planes of existences outside of our own, and we can make a case that a god exists there.
For example, a nice young lady (her story is on Dr. Habermas’s site) was diagnosed with an impending brain aneurysm. The doctor, a brilliant brain surgeon, found that the operation would kill the patient by bursting the artery (causing instant death).
His solution was to … well … kill the patient. The young lady was placed on the table, her blood was drained (to prevent an aneurysm), and her body was chilled to well below normal temperatures. She was a brain dead corpse. The surgeon then proceeded to repair the damaged artery without harming the brain matter (which had begun to solidify in the cold and thus was more resilient).
After the operation, the nice young lady was revived. She started talking about the operation … and how she had watched the entire thing from above: The different colored socks, the strange tools, and even the maneuvers of the doctor’s hands. What happened?
Was she dreaming? No, she was brain dead. Did her mind construct a fantasy during revival? No, she had no brain activity. This event was, by definition, supernatural (not part of a purely naturalistic, scientific world view).
If you’re interested in hearing the evidence of the supernatural (from NDE’s and ADE’s), Gary Habermas does have books, articles, and , fortunately, audio and video.
Look for: Near Death Experiences
or for some video:
Look for: Near Death Experiences as an Argument Against Naturalism