Catholic Cosmological Video: Physics tells us God Exists

Catholic Cosmological Physics

A Catholic Priest and philosopher put out a new video explaining that humans can prove the existence of god from physics titled “Cosmic Origins”.  When I saw this article on the Catholic News Agency’s homepage, I knew that I had to read it.  You can read it here: “Priests new film says physics helps prove existence of God”.  I must admit that I have not watched the video—to do so would require me shelling out $199!  However, I think we can learn much from the article.

The video has been compiled by Fr. Robert Spitzer.  He feels that the media is doing a poor job of explaining modern physics, and that “the whole story [regarding the evidence of God from physics] wasn’t being told”.  He states, ““We’re utterly convinced that the evidence from physics shows the existence of God and certainly does not take away from it.”  This is quite a curious statement when we know that the vast majority of physicists would disagree.

Spitzer assembled a team of seven physicists plus himself to create this documentary.  He points out that each of the seven physicists are regarded as being at the top of their field.  There is little reason to doubt him on this point.  However, they are in the minority when it comes to a belief in god.  We know this from the fact that 93% of the members of the National Academy of Sciences and 97% of the Royal Society (of scientists) are atheists.  Those are overwhelming numbers of other scientists, including physicists, who are at the top of their fields.  One wonders why Spitzer did not choose many of the physicists from those groups to have on his panel…  I am concerned that he seems to be uninterested in debate, but in propagandizing, or perhaps misleading people who are not well versed in physics.

Spitzer is quick to point out how excellent the physicists he brings to the table are—and I have no doubt that they are excellent at their jobs.  His omission of their minority status and failure to bring in opposing viewpoints is evidence of his attempts to hide the complexity of the issue from his viewers.

Spitzer argues:

“When the universe was nothing, it could not have moved itself from nothing, something else had to do it, and that something else was a transcendent creator,” Fr. Spitzer said.

…this creator would have to exist outside space and time because before the Big Bang, nothing existed, including space and time.”

Now we have a problem.  That is a very easy thing to say, apologists have been saying it for years.  The issue that I take with this is quite simple.  Many viewers, who know little about modern physics will believe that statement as fact, particularly when it is bolstered by well regarded physicists.  The problem here is that Spitzer’s claims are heavily disputed and, in fact, rejected by the vast majority of modern physicists!

Let us look at each statement individually—““When the universe was nothing, it could not have moved itself from nothing, something else had to do it”… Physicists have shown how it is possible that “something” can come from “nothing”.  In fact, it happens all the time at the quantum level, which is where acclaimed physicists such as Stephen Hawking argue we will find the source of existence.  From a purely scientific viewpoint, that statement is false, and most physicists would agree.  A key thing to note here is that not all physicists would agree on exactly why that statement is wrong, or what the correct answer is, yet, most readily accept that “something” can come from “nothing” without supernatural influence.

His second statement is incoherent, from a scientific viewpoint.  First, there is no evidence to support anything existing outside of time and space.  Spitzer’s statement, as J.L. Mackie points out in The Miracle of Theism (p.92) makes god the only exception to the all scientific knowledge that we, as humans possess.  Mackie writes, “why should god, rather than anything else, be taken as the only satisfactory termination of the regress?”  Great question, one that Spitzer would need to answer.

A second problem with Spitzer’s argument is that even if we give him the idea that creator exists (which I will not do), there is nothing to imply that this creator is the Christian/Catholic god.  Nothing.  Perhaps we will find the deist god or Zeus behind the curtain.  As John Loftus points out in Why I Became an Athiest  (p. 85), there isn’t even any evidence to support that this creator is still around or alive.  He asks, “what if this creator had to commit deicide in order to create the universe?”  Spitzer has done nothing to promote his view of the Catholic god.  The questions that this poses are endless, and none of them will enhance Christianity.

Third, this claim brings up the question of “who/what created god?”  This blog does not have the time to deal with this question fully.  However, it is worth pointing out a few things here.  From Loftus’ Why I Became an Atheist (p. 87): Graham Oppy informs us:

“If there is a dimension analogous to time that can be used to measure God’s existence outside of time, then either 1) God has a beginning in that dimension, or else 2) God has always existed in that dimension.  Following the lead of [William] Craig’s remarks in connection with the universe, it seems that the first option leads to the suggestion that there is a cause of God’s existence, and the second option leads to infinite regress.  But, if there is no dimension analogous to time that can be used to measure God’s existence outside of time, then it seems to me to be doubtful that we can even understand the suggestion that God existed outside of time.”

This is the problem that Spitzer has backed himself into.  He either must answer “what/who created God” or admit that he is speaking of a god that would be utterly incoherent to humans.

Fourth, it would make no sense for us to believe that any being (god) that existed outside of space and time could influence or have any effect on those of us existing within space-time.  Can this god hop back and forth?

Spitzer’s statement has opened a Pandora’s box of questions—and this small sampling of questions is from only two statements to promote a 50 minute video!

There are many objections that could be made just in relation to those two statements, let alone the whole video/concept.  In short, Spitzer is dealing with some very heavy questions in physics.  Furthermore, he is relying on physicists whose views lie outside the mainstream to bolster his arguments.  He does not point out that last fact.  In fact, he is promoting the opposite—their credentials.  In promoting this video, my concern is that Spitzer may be acting in a dishonest manner.  He seems to be misleading his audience to a conclusion that is far from certain and highly improbable.  He seems to be seeking to end the debate on a subject where the story is far from concluded.  Why?  To further the views of his own faith.  That is nothing more than intellectual dishonesty.  It is my hope that he provides alternative viewpoints to those that he holds, though I see how that is possible with the panel that he has put together.  Without watching the video it is hard to fully criticize Spitzer’s motives, but we can certainly raise concerns from what we have seen.

The last thing I want to point out is that one of the physicists on is panel is Lisa Randall, a physicist from Harvard.  I have seen some of her work before and recalled that I did not think she was of the mindset that god existed.  I did a quick Google search and found this quote of hers from an interview:

“There’s room there, and it could go either way. Faith just doesn’t have anything to do with what I’m doing as a scientist. It’s nice if you can believe in God, because then you see more of a purpose in things. Even if you don’t, though, it doesn’t mean that there’s no purpose. It doesn’t mean that there’s no goodness. I think that there’s a virtue in being good in and of itself. I think that one can work with the world we have. So I probably don’t believe in God. I think it’s a problem that people are considered immoral if they’re not religious. That’s just not true. This might earn me some enemies, but in some ways they may be even more moral. If you do something for a religious reason, you do it because you’ll be rewarded in an afterlife or in this world. That’s not quite as good as something you do for purely generous reasons”. Discover Magazine http://discovermagazine.com/2006/jul/interview-randall/article_view?b_start:int=1&-C=

In light of that quote, I would be curious to see what she added to Spitzer’s discussion.  Was she the lone wolf of opposition, has she changed her mind, who knows?  Here is what I do know, I am not paying $199 to find out, but did feel it was worth pointing out in light of my claiming that all of Spitzer’s physicists were in the minority when it came to belief in the god.  The other six physicists in the video are all known to be theists—that is what concerns me.

Thanks for Reading.  I look forward to your comments.

—-RB

If you have a blog please feel free to promote it on my “Promote Your Blog” page above.

If you would like to share your story of how you became an atheist, please do that on my “Share your Atheism Story” forum.  Our stories may help to encourage others with similar feelings to know that life is more than just okay without god(s).

If you have not yet checked out Alltop.com’s Atheism Blogs….what are you waiting for?

 

4 thoughts on “Catholic Cosmological Video: Physics tells us God Exists

  1. Loren Miller from Bedford, OH, United States

    Ah, the old "first cause" business. Whoever this Spitzer character is, apparently he hasn't talked with Dr. Lawrence Krauss. He has addressed the whole "something from nothing" argument some time back and made his position wonderfully accessible in the following lecture:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ZiXC8Yh4T0

    What irks me more than anything else is the habitual assumption among believers that since there could be no first cause (in their minds), then their deity HAD to supply the first cause. In a universe where empty space may not be all that empty, who knows what kinds of fluctuations in that empty space could give rise to a Big Bang? I have little doubt but that Dr. Krauss would LOVE to know, and is very likely pursuing such studies even now. Studying empty space may sound odd, but it beats the snot out of the automatic assumption that god had to do it.

    From that study we might learn something. From the assumption, we learn NOTHING.

    Reply
  2. Cephus from Redlands, CA, United States

    The problem here, as usual, is the theists make a declarative statement, the universe could not have started without a creator, which they cannot justify, then propose their own fanatical religious belief as the only possible solution for that conundrum. It couldn't have been, say, Vishnu. It couldn't have been Enki. It couldn't have been Zeus. It had to be their God. Why? Because they believe it's true. They start with an unjustified claim and end with an undemonstrated solution. Then they wonder why everyone laughs at them.

    Reply
  3. Hausdorff from Troy, MI, United States

    $199!?!?

    That was honestly enough for me to know that this would be the same bullshit that we have all seen debunked countless times. Imagine my shock as I read on and it was just the old tired first cause argument.

    You just have to put yourself in their shoes to get to the truth of the matter. If you want everyone to see a video, you put it up for free, maybe you ask for donations if you need to drum up some money or something. If they had something that they really thought proved the existence of God, we could be looking at it right now. If they thought there was the slightest chance that people like me could look at this video and be converted to their religion, they would bend over backwards to make sure I would see it.

    So what does it say that they instead charge an outrageous price to see it? Seems to me that they are taking advantage of people who already agree with them.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge