Wednesday, August 4, 2010

An Atheist believes nothing created everything!

Ray Comfort, the televangelist and cult leader that I refer to on here fairly often, made a knew variant of his argument from ridicule, that atheists must believe nothing created everything, and that makes us stupid. This is the current version.

Still, there are some who deny their God-given common sense and believe the unscientific thought that nothing created everything. Atheists can't have their cake and eat it too. Either something made everything, or nothing made it.


Here is my response
Well yes Ray I am perfectly agreable to the idea that nothing created everything, I just don't follow why you think it is unscientific. "Invisible magic dude that nothing created, made it" is a bit unscientific, but my understanding is based on pretty solid science and logic, so let us begin disecting your premise and why I find it true.

You Say

An Atheist


This I can say is true if you are reffering to me specifically, as to other atheists I can not say. They could believe the universe was licked out of a block of ice by a giant cow and still be atheists as long as they don't think a God did it. By the way that would be just as reasonable as the Christian creation myth.

Believes
I am cool with believes as the appropriate term in this instance. I would prefer "understands" but believe works just fine.

Nothing
Here is a sticky part as I don't believe that nothing exists. If something can be referred to it exists, if only as a concept, so not even "nothing" can actualy be nothing it is something, a concept, a word, and an idea. However outside of the realm of language and concepts there is no true nothing known to exist. We can however refer to a void in which there is no matter, energy, or even quantum particles. I do not know if such a thing existed but if it did it would not be nothing it would be something, a void. So for purpose of discussion I will take nothing as a reference to a void. However as a something even a void has properties, and according to quantum physics these properties may well be creative ones.

Created
The process physics refers to as quantum vaccum friction is one in which in the partial voids possible in the universe as we know, virtual quantum particles are spontaneously created. (some say these particles are actually teleported from elsewhere, and if this is shown to be true that would make my hypothesis much more complicated but I am for this purpose going with the premise that they are created.) If this happens in limited partial voids it seems a certainty that in a universal void, a massive creation of particles would occur, say in a sudden expansion of space including matter and energy. There are mathematical equations that reinforce the idea that a void is inherently unstable and would in fact respond in such a manner. While "creation" may not be the appropriate word for this, it is usually called a singularity, creation works well enough.

Everything
This is perfectly fine with the caveat that we really have no idea what everything actually is, there are certainly a great many things we don't know about this vast universe you call "everything".




Now in truth my case here isn't really even a hypothesis, just conjecture based on my understanding of some studies I have read. I am not a physicist, although I do have a good education in physics and math, and I am certainly not a quantum physicist so I am not going to say my "hypothesis" is an accurate accounting for the big bang. I will say that this account does not conflict with the science or math, it may or may not be well supported by them but I am pretty confident there is no conflict.

Ray Comfort calls the idea of "nothing created everything" unscientific and an intellectual embarrasment. I call it pretty damn reasonable. Much moreso than his contention that invisible magic man did it. Now there are Christians who, not being whackdoodle cultists, have versions of creationism which are better reasoned and less kooky than the Comfortian one and their theories are worth listening to, however I have yet to see one that is based on anything more than speculation so I feel that responding with speculation of my own is a fairly acceptable response. If however actual observable evidence of Gods or "Divine Creation" were presented I would have to respond with something better than this.

22 comments:

Tracy said...
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BeamStalk said...

Yes, he does Tracy.

He conflates the various definitions of nothing also. Sometimes it means that there was nothing present and sometimes it means that no one thing created all that we see.

BeamStalk said...

He also claims that he is not calling anyone a fool or idiot, but the Bible. As to avoid Jesus' admonishment of anyone calling anyone else a fool is in danger of hellfire. But clearly he is violating that.

It is all for the money for Ray.

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Ryk said...

Beamstalk is correct, if you look at his most recent post it is particularly filled with venom. He is practically screaming about atheists being stupid scum.

I actually think his blogging is bad for him. He was already a bit strident and demented, but as more and more of his apologetics are debunked, he becomes more irational.

I think he may be approaching a psychotic break, judging by the increased tension and paranoia in his posts. I dislike the man but I am concerned about him.

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uzza said...

This discussion was on antoher blog, and your comments stood out as not being stupid, so I followed you here :-) I'm in the terrible position of agreeing with Ray Comfort.

Reading your argument, you seem to just replace Comfort's 'nothing' with 'void', which is a something, with properties, which 'nothing' wouldn't have. It doesn't work.

One could even say that your 'void' is a 'god', (which would be a whole lot better than Comfort's god) and that seems to be his point, and it seems valid to me.

If this non-void 'nothing' had no properties at all, we'd have no way to detect it, and science could have nothing to say about it; so yeah, unscientific.

Ryk said...

Uzza
I think you competely missed the point but that is OK. I have a degree in math and quantum physics is beyond me. I can generally make sense of it and base philosophical arguments on what I get from reading papers and equations but I could not defend it mathematically. That is fine because my blog is for the most part about my opinions and interests, not as a scientific resource.



Needless to say in the simplest terms that are actually descriptive.

There can be no "nothing" it is not possible. A void if such ever existed would still be something because it has been demonstrated mathematically that such a thing would still have properties.

Such properties could include gravity and time for example, perhaps other things.

How you got from that, to a void being a God is just a complete mystery to me, but that is also OK.

uzza said...

Comfort sets up an either / or dichotomy, something or nothing. There is no place in that for any "something that is also nothing";
if it has any properties at all it falls into his 'something' category.

He did not use the term 'nothing' as a reference to a void, as you did. What point am I missing?

Ryk said...

Actually I missed your point, having re read your comment I see where I misunderstood. At first look it seemed as if you thought that I was using nothing in the same sense as Comfort and only calling it another name, so I wanted to clarify. I see now there was no need.

However given that I dont see where my argument fails. As I am not using nothing in the same sense as Comfort then there is no problem, and I still fail to see where you find reason to think that you could liken a void to a God. That seems to be nonsense. An entity, a void, which could have the ability to produce particles uncaused, is simply a something with properties. Unless anything that has describable properties is a God I am not sure where yu are coming from with that.

uzza said...

Your argument is fine but it won't work as a rebuttal to Ray's claim that ["nothing created everything" is unscientific]. Since you redefined his term, you're making a different claim.

The term 'god' has not been defined here. All he has to do is apply the label "God" to your [something that created everything]. That doesn't seem to me like much of a leap.

Ryk said...

Not a leap for Comfort perhaps because he is abysmally stupid, but to most people it is a huge leap. To make such a claim, one would need to redefine God to mean "anything that created the universe." Then you have for one rendered God meaningless and second and more importantly negated the value of the creation requires a creation argument(not that it actually had value.)


You say first something created the universe, then say something must be God, then you say whatever created the universe, even a non sentient property of physics must be God. It is viciously circular and just plain dumb.

So yeah, you are right, just what Comfort would say.

uzza said...

As I said, the term “god” was not defined. I hardly make something meaningless by giving it a definition. I have no idea what you mean with the value of creation.

The argument you constructed in your last comment was circular, yes, but you're using the name “god” to refer a referent outside the scope of the argument. With your original argument, you established only that some thing 1) exists, and 2) created the universe. Other properties, such as sentience, were nowhere mentioned.

Comfort could apply the name “god' to your entity, just as he could to his penis or anything else. And he would, because theists regularly describe their God as being the “entity that created the universe”. Then you two could argue over whether it's sentient and what you should call it. My point was, NCE is unscientific, as ray claimed.

Ryk said...

I clearly disagree, whether NCE is factual is beyond my math, but whether it is possible is within the scope of science. As quantum physics shows the plausibility of uncaused causes and provides a framework for confirming or falsifying such a statement the question is a scientific one. Contrarily the Goddidit hypothesis is unfalsifiable and provides no framework for analysis it is by nature unscientific.

Whether NCE is valid is clearly undetermned, more to the point the existence of an ontological nothing as Comfort postulates has no evidence indicating it ever existed. However, "nothing" in the sense that it could have existed ie. a void, could have created everything and determinig the validity of this is within the realm of science.

If Comfort or you wish to define "god" as "whatever caused the universe" I have no real problem with that. If we presume the un iverse had a cause and you define whatever that cause was as God the that is self affirming. However it provides no evidence of an actual divinity. You can call a mindless property of physics "god" if it pleases you but that means no more than calling your penis god or anything else. Barring a more specific definition of god such statements are like masturbating, they may please you but they do nothing for anyone else, and also they are absolutely non scientific.

Tracy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.