William lane craig arguments

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #122

T, you told me to produce authoritative evidence for my statement and I did. I expect you to respect the evidence that I provided. Here it is again with emphasized text_

"three British astrophysicists, Steven Hawking, George Ellis, and Roger Penrose turned their attention to the Theory of Relativity and its implications regarding our notions of time. In 1968 and 1970, they published papers in which they extended Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity to include measurements of time and space.1, 2 According to their calculations, time and space had a finite beginning that corresponded to the origin of matter and energy."3 The singularity didn’t appear in space; rather, space began inside of the singularity. Prior to the singularity, nothing existed, not space, time, matter, or energy - nothing.

The statement does not say that the singularity had to come out of nothing, but it DID come out of nothing, It is Einstein’s theory that provides the evidence that singularity must have emerged from Nothing, the evidence of the stars, and the residual radiation background that the Big Bang actually took place.


Face the scientific facts,. Prior to the singularity, nothing existed, not space, time, matter, or energy - nothing. This is not speculation like the multiverse. This is theory that has been thoroughly tested and confirmed by the facts and that is the only way that it can be altered.

(Luca) #123

But if all cosmologists talk like that then he’s a little outnumbered no?


And there are scientists who disagree with them, and they are using the very same theory of relativity.

" A related set of ideas have been advanced by Steinhardt, Turok, and collaborators, first as the ekpyrotic scenario and later as the cyclic universe scenario. Both take advantage of branes and extra dimensions to try to follow cosmological evolution right through the purported Big Bang singularity; in the ekpyrotic case, there is a unique turnaround point, whereas in the cyclic case there are an infinite number of bounces stretching endlessly into the past and the future."–Sean Carroll

As Hawking states elsewhere, the general theory of relativity can only tell us how the universe changed once it got started. It can’t tell us what came before.


Not all cosmologists talk like that. There are many cosmologists who propose things such as M-branes and other sources for the beginning of our universe. Some have even proposed that black holes may give birth to new universes.

(Matthew Pevarnik) #126

Quite a bit outdated… but I’m pretty sure all they meant is for our universe. As in… our universe didn’t exist before this point (we are not even certain of that anymore)… but like most cosmologists and following the work of these three, every model of cosmology has something existing outside of our universe. So our universe was ‘nothing’ but there was something outside of our universe.

(Luca) #127

Yikes. What are the dominant views amongst cosmologists?


@pevaquark might have a better idea about this one. If I were to guess I would say that the dominant view is the universe came about through quantum fluctuations in a quantum vacuum, but there is still a large minority who have proposed other ideas.

(Luca) #129

I’ve heard about the multiverse theory and the black hole theory. And as you said the quantum one.

(Matthew Pevarnik) #130

I think here is an interesting summary to some ideas, penned by the already quoted Sean Carroll:

I’d probably also turn to Sean Caroll again (which was already linked by @T_aquaticus) who writes in an accessible way the main models (as of 2007-which gives a good idea of what exists):

Of special note relevant to @Relates who may or may not care that there really is a difference as we’ve told him dozens of times now:

Not just the “Big Bang model” — the paradigm of a nearly-homogeneous universe expanding from an early hot, dense, state, which has been established beyond reasonable doubt — but the Bang itself, that moment at the very beginning.

(Luca) #131

I had a really difficult time understanding what sean is saying.
sorry. Can you maybe reword it in a little more…Easy way?

(Matthew Pevarnik) #132

Which part are you referring to specifically?

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #133

There are many good reasons to believe that the Big Bang is true. They are called scientific facts. There are no good reasons to doubt them. These bad reasons are called ideology and speculation.

You used to say that you could not believe in something until it was proven, Now something is proven and you refuse to accept the evidence.

The key is E = mc squared, which they can not make disappear. nor the fact that the universe and all that is physical is finite and thus does have a Beginning.

What is that “something” outside of our universe and why hasn’t it shown up in this discussion? How can it not be metaphysical?

(Luca) #134

As you can see, my basic tack hasn’t changed: this kind of question might be the kind of thing that doesn’t have a sensible answer. In our everyday lives, it makes sense to ask “why” this or that event occurs, but such questions have answers only because they are embedded in a larger explanatory context. In particular, because the world of our everyday experience is an emergent approximation with an extremely strong arrow of time, such that we can safely associate “causes” with subsequent “effects.” The universe, considered as all of reality (i.e. let’s include the multiverse, if any), isn’t like that. The right question to ask isn’t “Why did this happen?”, but “Could this have happened in accordance with the laws of physics?” As far as the universe and our current knowledge of the laws of physics is concerned, the answer is a resounding “Yes.” The demand for something more — a reason why the universe exists at all — is a relic piece of metaphysical baggage we would be better off to discard.

This perspective gets pushback from two different sides. On the one hand we have theists, who believe that they can answer why the universe exists, and the answer is God. As we all know, this raises the question of why God exists; but aha, say the theists, that’s different, because God necessarily exists, unlike the universe which could plausibly have not. The problem with that is that nothing exists necessarily, so the move is pretty obviously a cheat. I didn’t have a lot of room in the paper to discuss this in detail (in what after all was meant as a contribution to a volume on the philosophy of physics, not the philosophy of religion), but the basic idea is there. Whether or not you want to invoke God, you will be left with certain features of reality that have to be explained by “and that’s just the way it is.” (Theism could possibly offer a better account of the nature of reality than naturalism — that’s a different question — but it doesn’t let you wiggle out of positing some brute facts about what exists.)

The other side are those scientists who think that modern physics explains why the universe exists. It doesn’t! One purported answer — “because Nothing is unstable” — was never even supposed to explain why the universe exists; it was suggested by Frank Wilczek as a way of explaining why there is more matter than antimatter. But any such line of reasoning has to start by assuming a certain set of laws of physics in the first place. Why is there even a universe that obeys those laws? This, I argue, is not a question to which science is ever going to provide a snappy and convincing answer. The right response is “that’s just the way things are.” It’s up to us as a species to cultivate the intellectual maturity to accept that some questions don’t have the kinds of answers that are designed to make us feel satisfied.

I just don’t get the points he is making here.


Read the article. You will see that Sean Carroll is not arguing against the Big Bang. He is arguing against the idea that the singularity at the moment of the Big Bang came from nothing.

“They will go to great effort to explain how the Bang was the beginning of space and time, that there is no “before” or “outside,” and that the universe was (conceivably) infinitely big the very moment it came into existence, so that the pasts of distant points in our current universe are strictly non-overlapping. All of which, of course, is pure moonshine.”–Sean Carroll

That isn’t a fact. There are no facts demonstrating that spacetime is finite. The only facts that we do have point to the universe starting with a singularity with all of spacetime already in place. We have no facts pointing to the origin of that spacetime.

(Matthew Pevarnik) #136

What are you talking about? Do you mean that according to the conservation of energy that nobody can explain where the energy in the universe came from? I’m going to guess maybe that’s what you’re referring to, but that not a big problem because of how gravity works. If you add up all of the total energy from objects with mass (a positive energy value) and then add up all of the warping of spacetime (a negative energy) you get exactly zero! So you don’t even need any energy to make a universe in the first place in this sense at least.

We don’t know. I think I see what you are arguing, but why can’t there be physical objects outside of our universe? Are the laws of physics metaphysical? You can make a universe if all you had were the laws of Physics in place.

But then again, what does it look like to have a metaphysical cause for anything that’s physical? Nobody has ever demonstrated what such an explanation would/could look like. No experiment has ever been performed, and the only ones that were tested failed (like the prayer experiments). The Origin of the Cosmos is only an area of our focus here because nobody knows. But everything else in the universe (besides the origin of life–the other big topic where Christian apologists mock non-Christians for not having an explanation) can be explained by natural processes. Why should this one be any different?

Did Dawkins and and Hawking really admit the Big Bang is impossible?
(Matthew Pevarnik) #137

Ah, I was hoping you were grabbing from the part about models of the Cosmos, not the far deeper question! I think he is in part trying to keep scientists who misapply results of science to answer metaphysical questions that can’t be answered by science. There can be something learned from this as many times non-scientists too take results of science and fit them into our neat packages of understanding (i.e. the Kalam argument). Gotta run but this is something good to keep in mind in understanding the results of science in general.

(Luca) #138

So the kalam still stands with these objections?

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #139


Please correct me if I am wrong. If E = mc squared, and E or energy equals 0 or nothing, then m or mass equals nothing. If m or mass equals 0, then E or energy equals nothing. Thus the simple math says that if there is no mass, there is no energy, and visa versa.

Einstein also tells us that mass determines the shape of space and the speed of mass shapes the flow of time. Therefore it follows, as Hawking et al have said, without matter and energy there is no space and time.

Thus it follows that if there is a beginning of the universe, that is of matter and energy, then it must have begun at the same time as time and space. That is what the Big Bang says backed up by astronomy, background radiation, and Einstein. The only thing these other views have is the refusal to accept the implication of the probability that the universe was created out of nothing.

The fact that the amount of energy in the universe is equal to the amount of mass just confirms Einstein’s theory, which indicates that the universe was created out of nothing.

How can I make a universe out of nothing? Where do I find the laws of nature and where do they come from if the universe does not exist?

It looks like our world. Our universe is finite. If it were infinite there would be no change and no science, If the universe were infinite, then space and time would be infinite. (See E = mc squared) But they are not.

If there were physical objects outside our universe, then there would have to be another universe. if our universe came from another, why did start from the beginning. We have no way of communicating with that other universe so what difference would it make if somehow it were true.

The Beginning of the universe can only happen once by definition, so this is no mystery. The Beginning is a one time event which is defined by science through Einstein, which is not a mystery. Nothingness is the absence of everything, which also very easy to explain. If there is no God and no life after death, after we die we will be nothing, so why are atheists like Kraus so concerned about nothing.


You are forgetting to add gravitational energy to your equations. If you are going to make statements about the total energy in the universe then you need to include all sources of energy, not just the amount of energy tied up in mass.

Clarification added in edit: Let’s say you have a 1 kg rock that you find sitting on the ground. The amount of energy in that rock is described by E=mc^2. Let’s say that you take that rock up into space. The rock still has the same mass, and therefore the same amount of energy within the equation E=mc^2. However, it now has more potential energy since it can be dropped and accelerated towards the Earth. Therefore, even though the mass of the rock didn’t change the total energy did change due to gravity.

That’s like saying that if our solar system started with matter and energy then space and time started when our solar system formed.


On what basis is anyone saying that it is possible for something to exist without a creator, while simultaneously asserting that other things must have a creator? That’s a mouthful, so “who created God” works in a pinch in my opinion. If you were to simply assert that “the God of the universe is timeless, etc.”, I agree that the question would be pointless in response. However, if you seek to support the idea by suggesting that some things must be created, while making God exempt from that, all with insufficient evidence, then I believe that it is entirely proper to ask it.

This appears to make an equivocation fallacy. To say that because some people say the universe was created, therefore God must also have been created, is equivocation. These must be looked at on a case by case basis. As it happens, there’s no reason to think God had a beginning (especially since he’s a maximally great being). God is basically by definition eternal. What about the universe? As it happens, all the evidence we have says the universe began to exist and none of it says the universe is eternal. What we see is exactly what we would expect if the universe had a beginning, which is we physics models with beginnings, like Lemaitre’s Big Bang theory, gets all the predictions it makes right. The BGV Theorem solidifies this. Your response, though, is this:

From what I’ve seen, there is considerable difference of opinion about that. We seem to know pretty clearly that this universe began. What it came from is another question which I have not seen a conclusive answer to. We don’t have the knowledge of the totality of our reality needed to eliminate the possibility in your last sentence above, or make many other determinations. Put in other words, if the universe began as part of a larger physical reality, than the first premise doesn’t actually apply to the universe itself. We’d have to consider how the larger physical reality arose, or if it were eternal.

But to postulate an unfalsifiable prior universe to this one to get around the evidence is not the proper way to do physics. As it happens, there are baseless models in physics which try this, but as Alexander Vilenkin said in 2015, there is currently not a single eternal model of the universe that does not have flaws. Sean Carroll’s model, for example, is by Carroll’s own admission, full of problems. And yet physicists have been trying to produce such a model for centuries, in the same time that our understanding of physics has increased in incomprehensible ways. Hubble’s observation of the expansion of the universe shattered the idea of a static universe. The COBE Satellite, among a few things, as well as the recent BGV Theorem were all just more slaps in the face to ‘eternalists’ even after the vast majority of cosmologists now agree on the beginning. The evidence is all in place. When all our evidence points in one direction and the other direction is strangely empty, it’s time to give up on dreams and accept our universe is the way it is, even if that’s not intuitive.

I should add one more thing about the BGV Theorem. Currently, the only way to get around this theorem is by postulating a quantum boundary at the beginning of ‘our universe’ that is past-eternal. The problem of course with this is, as Craig has pointed out, why did the quantum state do nothing for eternity and then finally enter into the current beginning phase we call the big bang? I once watched a video where Carroll named this as a big problem for his ideas of a past-eternal universe. Then, he proposed no solution to it, which left me dumbfounded. When Craig and Carroll debated, again Craig made this same point – i.e. it’s impossible to imagine a quantum state that does nothing for an eternal amount of time and then big bangs – and Carroll never addressed it. So it’s just like Vilenkin says. There is not one eternal model of the universe that does not have flaws. Which, in my view, makes the entire proposition of an eternal universe meaningless until this can be changed.