Where did the laws of physics come from?


But it does make sense that a supernatural deity created a universe? I don’t see how one is more rational than the other.

So where are the people who are researching how God created the universe?

That seems to be a bare assertion that isn’t supported by evidence

How is Richard Dawkins stopping you from asking questions?


Well, you could argue that theist scientists believe to be doing that. In fact, if God did create the universe, even atheists scientists are studying how he did it, although unaware of that.


Even if they do find an answer, it will be in terms of new brute facts. I.E. if string theory is proven to be right, then we just have to accept the existence of these strings as brute facts, and even if we explain them, it will be in terms of new brute facts. I’m not claiming that God is the explanation immediately after the current laws, what I’m claiming is that no matter how many layers of explanation you uncover, there will always be brute facts sitting at the bottom, and I believe God to be the ultimate one, no matter how many layers there are between God and our everyday reality.

More like “science can’t possibly answer those questions since it is beyond its limits”. I don’t think it is God of the gaps because it is not a claim about a gap in our knowledge, but about the nature of reality as a whole, as Charles Couson said “Either God is in the whole of Nature, with no gaps, or He’s not there at all.”. If I was claiming something like “the reason why the expansion of the universe is accelerating is because God is doing that”, that would be God of the gaps, because I would be filling a gap in our knowledge with God, but what I’m claiming is “the reason why there is a natural world for us to study in the first place is because God created it”. That is a affirmation about the whole reality we live in, not about a particular gap in between two pieces of it. Of course, that is still a extraordinary claim, but all our options are, like saying that reality just popped out of onthological nothingness or that the laws of physics have always been there.


That seems to run counter to the opening post:

“This is a potential point to be made by IDers, in fact, I myself have used the argument in the past, after reading There is a God by Anthony Flew. How can we explain the laws of physics without resorting to God?”

At least in the opening post, and I would suspect in @Relates ’ case as well, there seems to be the idea that finding a “natural” process for producing the laws of physics would run counter to the idea of God creating the universe. I’m not saying that you take this position as well, but it seems that the idea of lacking a fact based explanation necessitating a supernatural explanation is quite common.


Some IDers might use that point to reinforce their belief in God, but not to reinforce ID. As you said yourself, nothing would change in evolution if God created the first life form, much less if he created the universe, which is several steps behind that.

Yeah, I totally reject that idea. If your statements are specifically being made in within that framework, then I don’t disagree with you.


[quote=“T_aquaticus, post:64, topic:39114”]
there seems to be the idea that finding a “natural” process for producing the laws of physicst

But don’t you agree that finding a natural process that produces the laws of physics as we currently understand them would simply be postulating new and more fundamental laws and axioms?

EDIT: Let’s say I prove that all the laws of physics emerge from a fundamental force called “force A”, well, then I’m just establishing “force A” as the new fundamental law of physics, and I could very well ask “where did force A come from?”.


How do you determine what the limits of science are? At one point in history, our galaxy was considered the limits of where science could go. Why couldn’t science uncover processes that start new universes and produce new laws of physics?

That seems much more reasonable to me. What sets off my bovine excrement detectors is arguments that start off with “Science hasn’t figured out X, therefore . . .”. This is the form of argument found in the opening post which is mainly what I am responding to.


If we learned how universes and laws of physics come about, why would we need to resort to a supernatural explanation as suggested in the opening post?

It kind of reminds me of the sign that says “Free Beer Tomorrow”. I understand that there is a belief that God is involved in some way, but at what point in this investigation of physics does that belief become an unavoidable conclusion as suggested in the opening post?


Well, I haven’t read Flew’s work, but from the authors I know, the question about “where did the laws of physics came from” is not like “we don’t understand gravity, therefore God”. It is more like I said: Even if we explain gravity, it will be in terms of a new fundamental law. All that happens in physics is that sometimes things that are considered fundamental turn out to be emergent from a more fundamental thing. We could go on…where does gravity come from? A answer might be “from the curvature of space-time”. Well, then where does space time come from? (this is where my knowledge of physics starts to get very limited, so I’m just making things up for the sake of the argument). From A! Where does A come from? From B! There is no escape to that, there will always be fundamental things that we have to accept as brute facts. And science can’t explain where the brute facts come from, if it does, that just means that the thing we thought was a brute fact was not still the ultimate brute fact.


Because no matter how good and how many layers the explanation has, it will always end up in a brute fact, because the very nature of science is to explain things in terms of other things.


Would it be better if science said, “it just comes from natural processes because we say so”, and be done with it? Would that be a satisfying answer? At least to my ears, that’s what the “Because God does it” answer sounds like. It is more about stopping inquiry than actually answering a question.


Well, but that is precisely what ontological naturalism claims. That is why I claim that both theism and ontological naturalism are matters of faith.


Just to make the discussion more clear. Are you implying that believing that God created the universe/laws of physics somehow requires that we lose interest in trying to pursue scientific questions or more specifically cosmology? I don’t think that follows. Sure, it is not impossible that a theist comes to that conclusion, but I could also claim that some atheists might also come to the conclusion of “well, there is no intrinsic purpose in life and we are all going to die and be engulfed by the second law of thermodynamics as a species anyway, so why bother answering these questions?”. It is also a fact that some big shots in the history of science like Maxwell, Faraday, Boyle, and the like where very devout theists and dramatically advanced our understanding of nature…So I don’t think it is fair to make that statement.


I accidentaly replied myself instead of you in the last post, sorry.


I also suspect that you don’t find ontological naturalism that compelling, even if it is making the same argument that theism is making.

I do think we probably agree on one matter. Neither of us find the following argument very compelling: “Nobody has shown that Y is true, therefore X must be true even though it has no evidence, either”.

As I stated before, I suspect that our views are closer than either of us let on.

Within the YEC/OEC/ID community, how many are trying to figure out how the universe came about? How many are hostile to nearly all research that is published on the subject? I seriously doubt that Jonathan Wells or Casey Luskin are going to make any noteworthy contributions to science anytime in the future. Never did you hear Maxwell saying, “How can we explain magnetism without resorting to God?”. However, you do hear some people saying, “Science will not be able to explain how organisms changed through natural means”. If someone believes that science can’t answer a question, how eager will they be to do science?

I certainly don’t think you share the beliefs I am describing, and that’s why I say that we probably agree on much more than we disagree, at least within this topic. What I am really trying to get back to is the sentiment found in the opening post.


I think it is a valid position that could very well be right, although I think theism more compelling.

If we are talking about scientific evidence, then sure. But I do find the philosophical arguments pretty good, which is why I think theism is more likely, but naturalism could very well be true (2).

I agree with that, I just like discussing ideias. But I do think that our views are probably way closer than my views are to some more fundamentalist theists, for instance.

I agree that these groups are troublesome for science, but I think it is much more due to historical contingencies than to theism itself. I know plenty of atheists which are anti-vaxers and supporters of conspiracy theories like “the pharmaceutical industry killed a guy because he discovered the cure for cancer”, I even know a fair share of atheists who firmly believe in ESP and astrology, believe it or not. I think it is perfectly fair to oppose these groups and even label then anti-science, what I don’t think is fair is to claim that their anti-science nature is inseparable from theism.

But they only say this things because they want to believe it, not because there is an actual case for that. The question of whether science will be able to explain fundamental questions, on the other hand, is seriously debated in philosophy of science, and there are a ton of atheists and even ontological naturalists who firmly argue that it is not possible. It is like comparing climate change deniers to people who say that string theory might be right.

Fine, but some of the arguments you made were very broad and general, those are the ones I questioned. I actually agree with much of what you said. But since I’m already in the discussion, I might as well discuss the ones I disagree with.


I count myself as part of the Science Curmudgeon Club who sees very little value in philosophy, especially when it comes to science. If scientists let philosophers draw the boundaries of what scientists were allowed to discover we wouldn’t be anywhere close to where we are now, at least by my estimation. We certainly wouldn’t have quantum mechanics. Scientists have heard, “It’s impossible to learn how that works”, many times in the past, and scientists have proven them wrong.

I am trying really hard not to get into an “Atheism v. Theism” debate, but sometimes I can’t help myself. Your well spoken and thoughtful disagreements have been noted, and I may get to them at a later time.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #78

Yes, it is rational for God to create the universe, because God is rational and omnipotent. Now the issue is this, you have two possibilities, but only one is rational. the God possibility and the possibility that the universe created itself.

The second is not rational, so the first must right, unless you want to believe that the universe is not rational and God does not exist. Based on science, theology, and esp. philosophy (rationality) these are your choices, God and rationality or no God and no rationality.

The theory of how God created the universe is called the Big Bang Theory. The people who are searching for an alternative to creation by a singularity from nothing are non-believers like Lawrence Kraus and Sean Carroll.

The evidence that rational purposeful universe could not have been self created is found in the book, Chance and Necessity by Jacques Monod, Nobel prize winner.

Richard Dawkins is discouraging people from asking questions because he asserts that the world is not rational, and therefore asking philosophical questions is not a valid exercise.

The fact based explanation is the Big Bang Theory that says that the universe has a true beginning and could not have created itself.


You seem to have skipped a step in your argument. What makes God rational and omnipotent?

I could just as easily say that an invisible pink unicorn is rational and omnipotent because an invisible pink unicorn is rational and omnipotent. Argument by declaration doesn’t work too well.

So how did God cause the Big Bang?

So what is that evidence?

Where did Dawkins say that the world is not rational? Also, do you take orders from Dawkins and refuse to ask questions because he tells you to?

But where is the evidence that the Big Bang was created by God?

(Richard Wright) #80

Hello T,

People don’t believe in God or the supernatural because they don’t have an explanation for a naturally occurring phenomenon. They believe in God/supernatural because of the nature of existence. They then naturally attribute naturally occurring events to God, which is true of course, if God exists, since He would be responsible for the universe in which these events take place. The people 1 or 3 thousand years ago only didn’t understand the details of how their God made it happen.