The Beginning of the Universe and God
I am honored to have Dr. Kirk Durston do a guest blog for me. I think I am a reasonably intelligent person, but have you ever met someone who you know is smarter than you? Well for me that is my friend and colleague Kirk Durston. With a PhD in Biophysics and an MA in Philosophy, Kirk is a prolific speaker, writer and debater at both scholarly and popular levels. Enjoy his recent foray into blogging and be sure to ask him some tough questions!
Below is Kirk’s brief video presentation on the beginning of the universe and God followed by a written summary of his argument. Discussion is welcome!
What I would like to question today are two modern beliefs: the belief that science can explain everything, and that the supernatural does not exist. I will define ‘supernatural’ as simply ‘not-natural’, not defined by space-time, matter and energy nor the laws of physics. The short video below presents the argument in a creative way.
An article published just over a year ago in the journal New Scientist, stated that the growing consensus among cosmologists (those scientists who specialize in studying the cosmos, including theories on its origin) is that the universe had a beginning and there seems to be no way out of it, even if one invokes one of the several different multiverse theories. In that same article, Stephen Hawking expresses his discomfort with these findings, stating, “A point of creation would be a place where science broke down. One would have to appeal to religion and the hand of God.” Is Hawking mistaken?
I am finding that a lot of people are not understanding what a circular fallacy is, so I want to present an example ….
A Circular Argument
1. Everything can be explained by natural processes
2. If everything can be explained by natural processes, then the origin of natural processes can be explained through natural processes.
Therefore, the origin of natural processes can be explained through natural processes.
I think most people will sense that there is something wrong with the above argument. It is what might be called, ‘circular’; the conclusion is assumed to be true in the opening premise so that we can ‘prove’ the conclusion is true. This is known as a circular fallacy. One may not know exactly what caused the origin of nature, but one thing we do know is that cold hard logic dictates it won’t be natural. So here is a summary of the argument presented in the video:
1. The cause of nature is either natural or supernatural. (a true dichotomy)
3. Therefore, the cause of nature must be supernatural.
4. The cause of time must be either timeless or time-dependent (a true dichotomy)
5. The cause of time cannot be time-dependent (to avoid the circular fallacy)
6. Therefore, the cause of time is timeless.
7. It is logically impossible for a timeless entity to be caused by something
Therefore, the cause of time is supernatural, timeless and uncaused
So, cold hard logic suggests that the supernatural exists and is actually the very foundation of the natural cosmos. This is why Hawking said what he did. Is he wrong about his concern? The only way out is to show that one of the premises is false. What say ye?
Reference: Grossman, L., New Scientist; 1/14/2012, Vol. 213 Issue 2847, p6-7, 2p
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