Why I changed my mind

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #201


I cannot help it if you are skewered by your own definition. A casual reading of these pages clearly demonstrates that God the Father is not an assumption.


I have made an in-depth reading of these pages and I don’t see what you are referring to.

(Richard Wright) #203

Hello again T,

In space-time, we have discovered that, “nothing” cannot produce, “something”. Everything in this universe must have a cause, as far was he have seen. So, to extrapolate, it would make just as much sense that ontological nothingness also cannot create anything, since even in space-time something cannot come from nothing. It is not a, “proof” that nothing cannot create something, only an acknowledgement that in the history of humankind nobody has demonstrated, “nothing” creating, “something”.

If that’s where you rest your case, then you have some serious problems. Where did this, “unidentified physical entity” (UPE) come from? How can this UPE exist outside of spacetime? And how did it have the properties to create a universe that produced life? As above, in this universe something can only come from something. And this only shows to illustrate that even, “weak atheists” have faith in something. In your case, you have faith that there is something out there besides God (or ontological nothingness, but it doesn’t seem you want to go that route) that can create a life-creating universe. But we have no precedent for any such an UPE.

What examples can you show where, “something” came from, “nothing”? If you don’t have any, then the UPEs that somehow exist outside of spacetime must have a cause. So when you say that an UPE besides God created the universe, you in fact are offering an alternative that is no more logical than God.

Again, I never said that the vast humanity feeling and/or recognizing the spiritual proves anything. It is another evidence that points to God. But my whole point in this debate is that deciding, “God or no God” is not strictly a decision from a, “logical” analysis of the evidence. There is evidence of a God, and that is we exist an intelligent life producing universe. That is not proof. The alternatives to God are nothing and an UPE. However, we have no precedent for UPEs, as Ellis stated when he ridiculed the, “science” of Kraus. You seem to think that the, “weak atheist” position of, “I don’t know” is s more logical choice than choosing an option, but it isn’t, becuase the vast majority in history don’t experience existence in a way that not having an explanation is in any way, “logical”. Below are the evidences that a prompt a theist to his/her conclusion:

  1. A 100 billion light-year entity we call, “the universe” that has evolved conscious, intelligent life.

  2. We seem to be, “created” to recognize God, since even a 2-year old can easily understand the concept.

  3. The purpose, rationality, order, complexity and beauty in the world/universe add to the sense of the spiritual and give most people a sense of eternity.

  4. Adding to the last 2, most people see life and their individual lives as having a purpose and leading somewhere, which usually is to live for eternity in another dimension, here on earth or in another life here on earth.

Hence, to most people the logical choice is to choose God as the explanation of the universe, since, If we want to treat Him as a theory, He’s a theory that bests fits the data, physical or otherwise.

The alternatives to explain the universe are:

  1. Ontological nothingness, which almost noone believes.

  2. UPEs outside of spacetime. This is usually the multiverse, but that only begs the question, where did the multiverse come from and how did it have the special physical properties, which it would have to have, to create a universe that could evolve life?

So, given the life experiences of vast majority in history, God (or the divine) is the best fit for the data. To them, not choosing is no more logical than nothing or an UPE, since life tells them that their is a purpose for their life. This sense of purpose and eternity can’t be qualified as, “logical” or, “illogical” But it is evidence to them for God.

And it isn’t only theists that see the need for an explanation of life/existence. The vocal proponents of the atheist cause, the, “positive atheists”, who insist that that there is no God, also feel that life demands answers, and their answers for this universe are either the multiverse (Tegmark, degrasse Tyson, Dawkins) or the UPEs (Kraus). So you are well within you’re rights leave open the question of God, but to most people, even many atheists, it’s not, “logical” to not chose because the cognitive dissonance of not having an explanation for a universe that, to them, demands them is too great. In the end, the case simply can’t be made that theists don’t employ, “logic” in concluding that there is a god, because to them all the evidence points to God, and the alternatives are no more logical, including, “none of the above” or, “I don’t know”.


I have two thoughts on this. First, we are talking about the origin of spacetime, so I don’t see how you can extrapolate if we aren’t staying within the current energy paradigm or spacetime. Second, there are quite a few smart people who have been doing theoretical physics for their entire adult life and they seem to think that it is possible. I’m not saying that their expertise makes them infallible, or what they say is automatically true, but you can see why I tend to lean their way when faced with an informed opinion from trained physicists and an untrained opinion on an internet forum.

It is no more a problem than where God came from.

Need I remind you that I have stated over and over that I don’t know where the universe came from? “I don’t know” doesn’t require faith.

It is the Black Swans problem. “I have never seen a black swan, therefore there are no black swans.” It is the same mistake that strong atheists make when they say there is no God because they have seen no evidence of God. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. This is why logical arguments should be based on positive evidence, not simply the lack of evidence against it.

I am still struggling to understand how that is evidence.

It would seem to me that “I don’t know” is the most logical position to take when there is a lack of evidence pointing to one explanation over another.

A 2 year old can understand the concept of Santa Claus, but I don’t believe in Santa Claus.

What you have listed are the very beliefs we are questioning. It isn’t logical to repeat the beliefs under question, and then put “it’s logical” at the end as if that makes it a logical explanation. I can understand that people believe these things, but “what people believe” and “what is logical” are not synonyms.

(George Brooks) #205


The definition of “assumption” used by Dictionary.com does not require the assumption to be a false one. Sometimes true facts are used as the “assumption” of a logical treatment or analysis.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #206


The problem as I see it is you and your scientific friends need to “repeal” Einstein’s Theory for your view to be true. While certainly that is conceivable, it is hardly “scientific.”

Nothing is certain in this world including E = mc squared, but until science has found a better answer, some thing before the Big Bang must be considered speculation and not a fact.

(Richard Wright) #207

Hello James,

Here are some bible passages on the greatness of God’s creation:

Psalm 104:2:
How many are your works, Lord! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.

Job 37:14-6
Listen to this, Job; stop and consider God’s wonders.
Do you know how God controls the clouds and makes his lightning flash?
Do you know how the clouds hang poised, those wonders of him who has perfect knowledge?

Psalm 96:11-2
Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it.
Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.
Let all creation rejoice before the Lord, for he comes, he comes to judge the earth.

Psalm 19:1
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Romans 1:20
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

As you can see, the greatness of God’s creation can be and was seen well before the days of science. So, God’s creation - stupendous, beautiful, amazingly complex and unimaginable large. His ability to get conscious, intelligent life in a stable universe favorable to it’s existence - COMPETENT! The argument that the universe is non-omnipotent - IMPOTENT!

My position is similar to Robertson’s, but I don’t know what he meant about God touching a particular human that started the race. My view is similar to the Biologos view that we evolved, and my particular flavor is that God did it without meddling, intervening or anything else, because unlike what Dawkins thinks, God is unimaginably intelligent and He can easily initiate a universe that will evolve man on its own.

I was a Genesis 1 literalist only for a very brief time after my conversion (shortly after graduating college), but I didn’t identify myself as a YEC, I had never even heard of the term. Before that I was Catholic and didn’t have a position on origins since nobody I knew ever talked about it and it just wasn’t a topic that anyone thought was important. After my conversion I quickly became an adherer to the, “Day Age Theory” of interpreting Genesis 1. After taking a graduate level course in Evolutionary Biology I accepted evolution and eventually stopped trying to concord Genesis 1 with science altogether.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #208

Truth or falsity are not the issue here. The question is if our understanding of God is subject to proof. @T_aquaticus is continuing to say that there is no evidence for the existence of God which is just not factual. To say that God is an assumption that is assumed without proof is just another lie that he is telling even though I have pointed out before that this is not true.

The justification for this lie is that he only accepts a very narrow concept of what is evidence that allows him to screen out any that does not agree with his believe that God does not exist, uses some false arguments, and does not make the distinction between insufficient evidence and no evidence.

(Richard Wright) #209

Hello T,

In all, you overplay the potential of discovering a, “scientific” answer for the universe and underplay what intelligent, reasonable people see as evidence for God.

You are simply wrong here. These, “quite a few smart people” are a handful of radical anti-theists desperately trying to find answers using science while big-name physicists, atheists included, have ridiculed their attempts to play God. They are in way over their heads, because as any honest scientist will tell us, we’ll never be able to know what caused the Big Bang, “scientifically”, because we have no way of investigating something outside of spacetime. So I’m the one listening to informed, objective voices, and yourself to the few outliers that offer something (speculation) that you want to hear.

If that’s the case then you admit that having faith in an UPE is no more logical than in God.

According to your definition of evidence, there is no evidence for God, UPEs, or that ontological nothingness can create life-giving universes. But this stance doesn’t match the life that’s been given us. We are not computers analyzing, “evidence”. We are humans who understand that a big, powerful, intelligent thing must have come from a big, intelligent powerful thing, (or things) because everything we experience in this world tells us that. So you offer a false equivalency of, “evidence”. As well, our experience of this existence also demands answers. Having no stance is not logical, even to the leaders of your movement. For the vast majority, God is the logical choice.

You say you have no faith, but you actually do, that humans will find answers to age-old questions with science - that methodologically studying creation will give us answers to how and why this creation is here and that we really will discover UPEs that can create life-giving universes. In doing so, however, you are on the outside of mainstream physics. Hence, if you are hoping for something to happen that the most honest, informed voices will say will never happen, then you show that you have faith in that happening, and in the people working on it. It’s funny just how right the bible is in Revelation 12 that man’s number is 666, saying that we try to be God but will always come up short (7 being perfection/completion).

In the end, you can say all you like that logic isn’t part of the equation for theists, but given the overall experience this life has offered us, that position doesn’t hold up to a logical analysis.

(Vlad K. I'm an Agnostic Atheist) #210

Hey, I think we all (Christians and Atheists) need to define our terms better. By “Universe” you can’t mean “ALL that exists” because your God would (presumably) be part of the ALL that exists. So, you would have to agree that the Universe has always existed (or some parts of it).

To be honest, the question about origins of the universe is way above my paygrade (if you get my point), but Dr Sean Carroll in his debate with Dr William Lane Craig pointed our that it’s likely the whole of universe did not have a beginning even while OUR universe did have a beginning.

But if Christians believe in an eternal God who must exist somewhere, then they agree there are parts of Universe that did not have a beginning!

Ultimately these arguments are useless, since at best, even if all Atheists conceded them, it would get us all to Deism (maybe). And there is still lots of efforts required to prove that Christianity is the one and true religion.

I find these value very ironic, after realization what has happened to the Native American Indians and the African Americans on this continent. At this moment, there is an occasional news blip about US intel services planning on pre-emptive strike against a (probably nuclear) North Korea. US was a nation with many Christians who dropped an Atomic bomb against Japan’s civilian targets in the 1940s. So, maybe you can forgive me for seeing your claims about ideas of Liberty, Dignity and Equality to have a basis in Christianity. And, as an icing on the cake, according to Christianity, all Atheists will burn in hell for all eternity! The Old Testament, with all it’s cruelty and death (on God’s orders) stands in awe of the New Testament Hell.

I’m aware of Christians rationalizing the irrational of the Bible. But what is the point of claiming to base one’s views on the Bible if they must rationalize away many of its teachings?

(Mervin Bitikofer) #211

“universe” in our common usage here means all of physical existence. God is not some physical member within that and so is excluded from the definition.

Very true!

There may be much expense of energy and effort by many to try this, but those who have fancied themselves to be in a position to “require” this [proof] of others have not found any solid ground on which to stand so as to give this demand any weight. On top of that, parts of that demand are also revealed to be incoherent.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #212

Thank you for reminding us that Christians are far from perfect. That is why we do not believe in ourselves, but in Jesus Christ. It seems that groups who claim to be atheist have been not very good either, such as Stalin’s USSR. The Christian is an ideal that we often do not live up to, but still we need ideal. Do atheists have a set of ideals or values that we can discuss?

I think that you misunderstand what Hell is all about. It is for people who do not respect the welfare of others such as Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Franco, et al. I am sorry that you do not think that God does not hold people responsible for their murderous sins.

Life is not easy. We need all the help we can get. That is why God is important. That is why Jesus is important. That is why the Church is important. Wish you could join us.

(George Brooks) #213


cc: @T_aquaticus

Roger, I didn’t realize you struggle with grammar so.

The first definition of “Assumption” is specifically worded. It reads:

“a thing that is accepted as true or as certain to happen, without proof.”

Used in a sample sentence we can read:

“[T]hey made certain assumptions about the market.”

Please note, Roger, that “making an assumption about the market” is not the same sentence as
"They could not prove their assumptions about the market."

Nor does it say:

“They made assumptions about the market when they should not have.”

It is only pointing out that the assumptions are the “first thing” agreed upon, or
established, for the rest of the discussion or the rest of the analysis.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #214


You are so intent in proving your point that you are not hearing what I am saying. I am NOT saying that assumption are right or wrong, but they are unexamined.

Let us say that one of the assumptions they made about the market in the sentence above is that the market would continue to go up. That is fine until it began to go down. If they had questioned that assumption before they invested maybe they would have avoided a mistake, but then may be not.

The point I am making for myself and others that I know is that God is not an assumption as @T_aquaticus seems to think and maybe you agree. God for most Christians is not an unexamined assumption. God is an examined reality.

(George Brooks) #215


You are treating “assumption” as if it can only be a part of a validation process.

Sometimes the term “assumption” is merely a semantic descriptor. There are many, many written treatises about God where things are assumed because the writer knows his audience is already in fundamental agreement, or because the writer intentionally doesn’t want to spend time on examining a particular premise… the writing is focusing on what is discussed and analyzed assuming premise.

The fact that you could not immediately grasp this nuance - - and in fact continue to struggle with this particular application of a semantic label of discourse in logic - - is a material impediment for you to discuss most anything in theology or metaphysics.

Google “logic” and “assumption” to understand what @T_aquaticus and I mean by the term - - not universally, but for the sake of this specific discussion.


Our view being wrong does not make your view correct. You are shifting the burden of proof again.

That would be an argument from ignorance.


What I am interested in is if there is a logical argument that can arrive at the conclusions you claim it can.

There are a lot of claims in that quote, but they seem to be more opinion than anything else. What are the percentage of working theoretical physicists who reject the idea that quantum fluctuations in a quantum vacuum can produce new universes, and what is their scientific argument?

I fully accept that humans may never find the answer to how the universe came about.

Do you have anymore beliefs that you would like to project onto me so that I may clear them up?

First, I fully accept that Christians could have a logical argument that backs their beliefs, or could construct one in the future.

Now, could you please show me the logical analysis you are referring to?


I define evidence as independent and verifiable facts. I don’t see why that would automatically screen out God.


The point that you seem to be missing is the idea of why logical arguments are used and how they are used. The idea is to reach a conclusion that is inescapable if the assumptions are agreed to. For example, if we both agree that the laws of thermodynamics are valid and consistent, then we would reach the conclusion that a perpetually moving machine is impossible if no energy is added to it. Logic doesn’t work if you start with contested beliefs that have yet to be demonstrated. All you are doing is replacing the assumptions with conclusions that lack backing.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #220

That is not an argument from ignorance. The fact is if Einstein’s Theory is true, and everything points to that fact, then your thinking is false. If you say that this is shifting of the burden, the burden of proof is on those who seek to overturn settled science, which is you and your friends.