Thursday, October 1, 2015

Pensmore Dialog on Science & Faith - Session 3 - New Evidence for the Existence of God

This post is part of a series discussing the Pensmore Dialog on Science & Faith from College of the Ozarks. 

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Session 3
Topic:  New Evidence (from Physics) for the Existence of God
Speaker:  Robert Spitzer


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What Spitzer discussed in this topic is the physical evidence for the existence of God.

He said the evidence for the existence of God in physics can be described as a triangle of three topics: Entropy, Spacetime Geometry, and Anthropic Coincidences (Fine-Tuning). It is a triangle because each supports the other two categories.

Spitzer then described relatively new findings in physics, which should be trumpeted as evidence by creationists.


1.  Spacetime Geometry - the B-V-G Proof

It has long been argued by Christians--and I have done spoken of this before a couple of times (see here and here)--that the fine-tuning of the universe simply cannot be coincidental. It was one of the first things that led me to believe in the faith, in fact--and frankly no one even argues otherwise in the world of atheistic naturalism.

The way that guys like Stephen Hawking deal with fine-tuning is that they argue for a multiverse. It is absolutely statistically impossible that our universe could just happen to be so properly fine-tuned, so maybe there is a multitude of universes (a multiverse) so that at least one of them (ours) would happen to be fine-tuned.

This also allows them to deal with another issue. Physicist Lawrence Krauss has written a book titled A Universe from Nothing, in which he argues that the multiverse pops up out of nothingness. 

Spitzer quickly stated that Krauss was being duplicitous--when he says "nothing" he means "every force cancels out each other"...but that isn't nothing. When I stand, my weight force is cancelled/opposed by the normal force of the floor...that is not nothing, it is equal-but-opposite forces. It is two somethings, not nothing. I haven't read Krauss' book, but if Spitzer is right and that is his argument, then Krauss is a huge fraud and is deliberately misleading people. Anyone who has taken Physics I at college should be able to see through that. 

(Aside:  Stephen Colbert destroyed this argument beautifully on his show, see here for the link, go to 13:50; Krauss ends up coming across as a total quack, trying to argue that if you leave nothingness alone for a while something will always pop out of it.)

What this type of thinking does is it allows physicists to avoid a very difficult argument--the Kalam Argument (see link here). With multiverses popping in and out of existence randomly, then you no longer need worry about a true "beginning" to the universe.

Well, the B-V-G proof has now destroyed that (Borde-Vilenkin-Guth Proof)...and they REALLY want to avoid this, because this is strong evidence for the Kalam Argument.

The BVG proof goes like this:

1. As distance between two points increases, recessional velocity increases.  (proposal)

This is the basic assumption. If this is true and the logic afterward holds then our conclusion will hold.

This is based upon years of experimentation, much from Hubble and Einstein (see the link to the Kalam Argument above). All our evidence shows that our universe is expanding like the skin of a balloon being blown up...and the further apart two points are on the balloon, the faster they will move away from each other as you blow it up.


2.  As recessional velocity increases, relative velocity decreases.

This is very easily demonstrated. Imagine point B is receding from point A by 20 km/s. Now imagine a spaceship comes shooting by us at 100 km/s. We keep watching it while it catches up to point A. By the time it catches up to point A, it will look like it is going 100 km/s - 20 km/s = 80 km/s (because the space it is going through is also going 20km/s). 

Now imagine that the recessional velocity (the speed of point B moving) is doubled to 40 km/s. When the rocket arrives, what speed will it appear to be going? 100 km/s - 40 km/s = 60 km/s. 

So you see that the faster space is expanding away from us, the slower an object that has zoomed past us will appear to be going once it reaches that location.


3.  Recessional velocity increases into the future.

This is not really a second point, but a result of #1. Because the universe is expanding, the distance between them is growing and therefore recessional velocity is increasing as measured by an objective time-clock.



4. There is some maximum limit that things can move (currently believed to be the speed of light, c).

Einstein places the speed of light as the highest possible speed in the universe, but regardless there is some finite, speed limit beyond which things cannot go.


5. THEREFORE:

  • #1 & #3 - recessional velocity increases into the future
  • #2 - therefore, relative velocity is decreasing into the future
  • Logic - relative velocity was higher in the past than it is now
  • #4 - it can't have been infinitely high
  • Logical conclusion - therefore, there must have been a point in the past where relative velocity was the fastest it could be, and the "clock" can't go earlier than that.

Therefore, the universe has a beginning.

The interesting thing about this proof is that it also works for any theoretical universe, any theoretical multiverse. No matter what a physicist can come up with, IF any universe is expanding at any point THEN there must have been a beginning of time and space for that universe.


This means the Kalam Cosmological Argument is always on the table.


2. Entropy


The entropy argument is also powerful. I discuss this in my book, Rise of the Time Lords in some depth.

The idea is this: the universe is always moving from order to disorder, from "more available work" to "less available work." This is where we get the 'arrow' for time--we know intuitively that if we see two photos, one of which has a sandcastle and one of which has loose sand, and we are told that no human interfered, then we know that the sandcastle came first--higher order under natural conditions without external influence always degrades.

This is the Second Law of Thermodynamics--in an overall system the total net complexity is always decreasing and less energy is available in useful forms to do work. Einstein once said this was the one law which would stand even if all other laws of science were disproved.

Now this has a key point. 

Our universe is still pretty low entropy--that is, highly ordered. As Spitzer put it, "Stars are still burning and physicists are still thinking about them."

If entropy holds, and our universe was infinitely old, then what would we have? In an infinitely old universe we would have ZERO available energy for work. No stars, no life, no nothing. "Heat death" is the physical term--the point where everything in the universe is exactly the same heat and energy and therefore nothing can be done with it. Complete equilibrium. 

But that ISN'T the state of today. Therefore we CAN'T be infinitely old, because we haven't run out of power yet. Therefore...there was a beginning.


3.  Anthropic Coincidences


So, if we have a universe with a beginning (and we do, as entropy shows; and no matter what they discover we always will--even in multiverses, as BVG shows) then we must ask ourselves why the universe is so perfectly designed for life to exist. Spitzer again ran out of time and didn't get to get into it much, so go here, where I discuss this in detail as part of my sermon.



Conclusion

Spitzer concludes with a tongue-in-cheek question. When Stephen Hawking recently co-wrote a book in which he claimed that the universe does not require God, isn't it odd that he forgot the most powerful and conclusive argument and cutting edge science? What a coincidence! Why, if I didn't know better, I'd think he had a philosophical presupposition that was causing him to ignore evidence to the contrary....hm.






2 comments:

  1. "The way that guys like Stephen Hawking deal with fine-tuning is that they argue for a multiverse."

    As William Lane Craig has pointed out, even a multiverse doesn't solve the problem of fine-tuning because the multiverse itself would probably have to be fine-tuned. On his website he states, "The most popular candidate for a World Ensemble today, the inflationary multiverse, does appear to require fine-tuning. For example, M-theory, the theory which supposedly governs the multiverse, works only if there are exactly eleven dimensions—but it does nothing to explain why precisely that number of dimensions should exist." So even with that explanation, the problem persists.

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  2. There's an anecdote that i've heard was included in one of Stephen Hawkings books. In it, a scientist gives a lecture about the origins of the universe. At the end, a woman comes up to him and tells him he sounds very smart, but that everyone knows the universe is on the back of a turtle. The scientist then asks where that turtle came from and the woman says "it's on the back of another larger turtle." So the scientist says what about THAT turtle. And the woman replies, "Sir, it's turtles all the way down."

    The point, i think, is supposed to be the ridiculousness of the belief in infinite regression. Maybe i'm not understanding the Many Worlds/Multiverse theory that Stephen Hawking is touting, but i always imagine the scientist in that anecdote as Stephen Hawking, and at the end the woman says, "So where do you think the universe came from?" And he replies "it's a bubble from a mother universe." To which the woman replies "And where did that universe come from?" And he would of course answer with, "It's another bubble from an even larger mother universe." And the woman would then say, "Yes, but where did THAT bubble come from?" And then Stephen Hawking would of course reply with, "Ma'am, it's bubbles all the way up!"

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