Is God a Better Explanation for Existence?

Here is how BK over at Cadre Comments argues that God is a better "brute fact" than the universe: He wrote:

"we agree that something exists as a brute fact. However, our universe is largely believed by scientists (secular and Christian) to have come into existence ex nihilo, [so] the answers that the Christian provides for God (who is timeless, eternal and uncreated) do not apply to the universe. In other words, your "brute fact" of existence needs some explaining that God, being eternal and uncreated, does not need.
Here is a brief response:


Now this is indeed an odd argument. Whenever it comes to unexplainable brute facts we reach an impasse. The fact is that wherever the buck stops we have pretty much the same problems, and you should know this. For both of us something exists as a "brute fact." You cannot deny this. Since this is the case, agnosticism is the default intellectual position. When leaving the default position one must have reasons for struggling up the ladder to a full blown Christianity, past pantheism, deism, Judaism and Islam (since you believe more things than they do like a triune God, incarnation, atonement and resurrection). Me? It's just easier to move in the direction agnosticism already pushes me toward, atheism.

You claim the upper hand by definition, but that's all you're doing. You define God in such a way that the definition solves problems that the alternative theory doesn't. But just by defining such a Being as one who necessarily exists in all possible worlds doesn't mean such a being actually exists. There isn't much by way of evidence that he does. We have every reason to think this universe exists. Ockham's razor tells us the simplest explanation is the better one. We do not need your "brute fact" since such a God needs an explanation despite your definition.

Besides, your definition has a different set of problems. How is it possible for a being to eternally exist as three "persons" (who always agree) without a body (and yet act in a material world) in a timeless existence (and yet create time); how is it possible for this being to be called a "person;" how is it possible for this being to think (thinking involves weighing alternatives), make choices, take risks, or even freely choose who he is and what his values are? There are additional problems, but you get the point.

You say the universe needs an explanation. I say your explanation has insurmountable problems on its own terms. You say you have an explanation that needs no further explanation. I say such an explanation doesn't explain such a Being as God, plus it has the problem of how it's possible for such a being to always and forever exist, without ever learning anything, as the source of all complex information found in the details of the makeup of this universe.

106 comments:

david ellis said...

John, your response fails to bring up the most important facts concerning this issue.

Nothing in the scientific evidence indicates that the Big Bang was the beginning of physical reality as such. BK is mistaken in his assumption that most cosmologists and astrophysicists think the universe came into existence ex nihilo at the Big Bang. This is an idea that was never supported by the evidence and is far from the most common view among contemporary cosmologists.

So his argument assumes a position concerning the views of major contemporary cosmologists which does not, in fact, accurately reflect their views.

openlyatheist said...

I was only going to say what David Ellis said. Michio Kaku would say, "no one is smart enough" to know what state of affairs could have been before the Big Bang, or even if there was a 'before.' There is no such science. Of course, that is the ideal place for an apologist to plant a god-of-the-gaps assertion.

Although, I have run into the occasional new-age Christian who, seeing this problem, argues that the universe was actually NOT created ex nihilo after all, but created from eternal, always pre-existing Spirit. How clever!

In other words, your "brute fact" of existence needs some explaining that God, being eternal and uncreated, does not need.

It is a wonder that Christians are blind to their own machinations. See a problem? Then engineer a god that has the exact qualities necessary to solve it! This engineering has been done for thousands of years before this hapless Christian came along. And the bait has been taken, hook, line, and sinker.

Lee Randolph said...

a point that I think is important and fundamental to most christian arguments is that they look at event, can't explain it, throw it in the "god bin" to hold it so they can get a grip on it.
In this situation they deny qualifiers needed to support their conclusion. Namely, what data do they have to show that god is likely to have done it and what relationship does the data have to the event.
for example.
I know god created the universe because .....and because...... and because.....and this can be independently verified.

They don't fill in the blanks with anything meaningful. Heck they should go download an episode of LSAT Logic and listen to the introduction to see how sound reasoning works.

Most of the time they say "I know that god created the universe because there is no better explanation and I know god exists because I have the bible and my personal experience. If you haven't got your god on, then that is your fault for not listening or trying hard enough. I got mine why can't you get yours?" The inference is egocentric, arrogant and presumptuous. There is something wrong with the atheist, but not the christian. Look at one waves post in the CEO article.
"I would say that people can hear God talk to them and have throughout the ages. You can too if you are committed to taking the time." One Wave

I know the egocentrism wss not part of the premise for this article but this attitude of superiority THAT THEY DENY gets under my skin and it was one of the things that whittled away at my faith. This Bias that they can't get over supports their faulty reasoning.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi all you christians out there,
go the Princeton Reviews LSAT Logic in Everyday Life podcast website and see how sound reasoning is supposed to work.

Calvin said...

No Lee we believe God did it because the evidence points in that direction.

Let me recommend Intoduction to Logic by Irving Copi.

Calvin said...

Also let me recommend Michael J. Murray's Reason for the Hope within.

Also "The Creator and the Cosmos" by Hugh Ross PH.D. in Astronomy from University of British Columbia and the University of Toronto.

Badger3k said...

I see others were here before me, but ..wow. I always wonder where they get this "ex nihilo" idea from Big Bang cosmology. Even back in the 70s and 80s, I seem to recall that we were taught that all matter/energy/whatever was compressed into the singularity (again, I'll add whatever in case my terminology is incorrect). What happened "before" the Bang, assuming that there was a "before" even if time did not begin until the universe did, nobody knows. Isn't it special pleading to claim that their idea of god doesn't require a beginning while claiming that the proto-universe stuff does require a beginning?

I'm surprised (well, not really) that the poster wasn't aware that the laws of physics only apply to the universe as well. Despite some theoretical work, we're still in the dark as to what might apply to anything "prior" to the Big Bang, or to anything that may be "outside" our universe (such as a multiverse, if such actually exists).

Calvin said...

Lee, you also might want to check out Antony Flews conversion to Deism. You have to follow the evidence wherever it leads. (as Antony Flew would say)

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Calvin,
I'm up to my neck in various logic textbooks. Copis is one of them.
The section on fallacies is not as good as it could be.

I am still waiting for you to tell me why it takes a god to facilitate the mechanisms inherent in the creation of the universe, and more importantly how you know a god did it outside the bibles circular self-validation.

david ellis said...

Calvin, since you find Flew's conversion so compelling would you care to quote Flew's argument or arguments so we can discuss them?

Michael Houx said...

Well, the space energy density demonstrates that for physical life to be possible at any time or place in the universe the value of the mass density of the universe must be fine tuned to within one part in 10 to the 60, and the value of the cosmological constant must be fine tuned within one part in 10 to the 120. The best example of human engineering design is a gravity wave telescope capable of making measurements to within one part in 10 to the 23. So the Causal Agent of the universe is at a minimum ten trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion times more intelligent knowledgeable, creative, and powerful than human beings.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Michael,
if I understand you correctly,
you are excluding the likelihood that the we could have arisen naturally as a result of a natural process within these parameters. This seems to be the case.

To say otherwise could be a confusion of cause and correlation, and is pure speculation since this is all we have to work with.

This still does not provide the link between the data and a god for the mechanisms in the universe.

Michael Houx said...

1. All non-theistic origin of life senarios require kerogen tars and carbonacious molecules to self assemble in some kind of primordial soup or mineral substrate into living organisms. However, when living organisms die, they decay into the same kerogen tars and carbonaceous molecules. By carefully measuring the ratio of carbon-13 to carbon-12 in such tars and carbonacious material, physical chemists can ascertain whether these substances are prebiotic or postbiotic in nature. Their conclusion: it's all postbiotic. Thus, a prebiotic primordial soup or mineral substrate never existed upon the earth.


2. The time scale during which life arose is very brief, less than five million years. Life has been abundant on Earth throughout the past 3.86 billion years. Between 3.5 and 3.86 billion years ago, dozens of life-exterminating bombardment events took place. Apparently, life originated and reoriginated as many as fifty times within the 360-million-year time span. Given the abundance of life during this era, several of the origins of life must have occured in time windows briefer than five million years. If life arose through natural process alone in such brief time spans, it should be easy to construct in a laboratory. However, as yet, biochemists cannot manufacture(from scratch) a single DNA or RNA molecule or any of the more complex proteins, let alone a complete, functioning organism.


3. The vast complexity of even the simplest life-form argues against random or natural self-assembly. If all the chemical bonds of earth's simplest living creature were broken, the chance of it's reassembly, even under ideal conditions and even if components were allowed to escape and no forein substances were permitted to intrude, is less than one in 10 to the 100,000,000,000, a number so large it would fill nearly a thousand sets of encyclopedia britanica with zeros if anyone to write it out in standard notation. Even if most of the sequence positions for the atoms are not criticle, the odds by the most conservative calculations are still less than one in 10 to the 3,000 for assemblies attempted continuously over ten billion years. More rigorous calculations are presented in textbooks written by atheists and agnostics as well as by theistic scientists.


4. The simplest chemical step for the origin of life, the gathering of amino acids that are all left-handed and nucleotide sugars that are all right handed cannot be achieved under organic conditions.


5. The various nucleotide essential for building RNA and DNA molecules require radically different environmental conditions for their assembly. Cytosine and uracil need near boiling water temperatures, while adenine and guanine need freezing water temperatures. Thus it is highly unlikely that under natural conditions all four building blocks would come together in adequate concentrations at the same site.


6. At the time of life's origin Earth's surface was relatively hot, probably between 80 and 90 degrees celcius, with little tempurature variation. At theese warm tempuratures RNA nucleotide sequences decouple. Moreover, new experimental results demonstrate that all of the RNA nucleotides themselves degrade at warm temperatures. They can last only from 19 days to 12 years. The most optimistic naturalist hypotheses demand that they hold together for millions of years. Even at water's freezing point, cytosine decomposes in less than 17,000 years. Outside the cell there is no environment providing sufficient stability and protection for RNA molecules and their nucleotide bases. This means that RNA molecules cannot survive without cells while cells cannot survive without RNA. Both must be constucted simultaneously.


7. Life transported from some distant exotic location in the cosmos to Earth would arrive dead, in fact so broken down that none of life's building blocks would survive. Stellar radiation pressure strong enough to move microbes across the long reaches of interstellar space would kill the microbes in a matter of days. If the microbes were imbedded in sizable dust grains, their chemical properties might be protected from the effects of most interstellar radiation, but only supergiant stars generate enough radiation pressure to move such dust grains, and life is impossible anywhere in the vicinity of a supergiant star.


8. Life involves more than the assembly of all the molecular machines an organism requires. Each machine must have the capacity to survive some random destruction of the components making up it's inner workings. Multiple forms of radiation essential to life occasionally disturb the positions and the types of amino acids and nucleotides comprising proteins, DNA, and RNA molecules. Life assembly, thus, becomes all the more challenging. Certain "backups," or redundancy, must be available at the right times in the right locations for molecules to survive and continue their essentiel functions. The task is roughly analogous to writing a computer program that can still perform even when 1 percent of it's code is randomly shuffled or destoyed.


9. The energy released from the decay of the radiometric isotopes of uranium, thorium, and potassium sets up a reaction whereby ocean water feeds a continuous stream of oxygen into the earth's atmosphere. This streaming was much greater a few billion years ago than it is now. It is sufficient to guarantee the complete shutdown of chemical reactions that possibly could cause prebiotic molecules to assemble into biotic molecules.


10. Without oxygen in the atmosphere, no ozone shield will ever form. Without an ozone shield solar ultraviolet radiation will penatrate unimpeded to the earth's surface. Such radiation will shut down the chemical reactions that are essential for the assembly of prebiotics into organisms. The existence of oxygen will shut down the required chemical reactions. The lack of oxygen will also shut down the required chemical reactions.

A naturalistic explanation for the origin of life is doomed.

david ellis said...


Well, the space energy density demonstrates that for physical life to be possible at any time or place in the universe the value of the mass density of the universe must be fine tuned to within one part in 10 to the 60, and the value of the cosmological constant must be fine tuned within one part in 10 to the 120.



Michael, your fine-tuning argument ignores the fact that there are several hypotheses other than intelligent agents which fit the facts you are taking as evidence of God.

You must show these possibilities (the multiverse hypothesis, for example) to be more unlikely than the God hypothesis for these facts to be legitimately taken as evidence for theism.

As for your argument that naturalistic abiogenesis is impossible.....you simply have no way of knowing that. The fact that we don't yet know how it happened (which no one disputes) does not show it CANNOT have happened---the history of science is too full of unexpected and surprising natural processes being discovered to claim we can know that, to quote you, "a naturalistic explanation of the origin of life is doomed".

John W. Loftus said...

WHY IS THERE SOMETHING RATHER THAN NOTHING? By Victor Stenger.


If the laws of physics follow naturally from empty space-time, then where did that empty space-time come from? Why is there something rather then nothing? This question is often the last recourse of the theist who seeks to argue for the existence of God from physics and cosmology when all his other arguments fail. Philosopher Bede Rundle calls it, “philosophy’s central and most perplexing question.” His simple (but book-length) answer: “There has to be something.”(28)

Clearly many conceptual problems are associated with this question. How do we define “nothing”? What are its properties? If it has properties, doesn’t that make it something? The theist claims that God is the answer. But, then, why is there God rather then nothing? Assuming we can define “nothing,” why should nothing be a more plausible scientific reason based on our best current knowledge of physics and cosmology that something is more then nothing!

In chapter 2 we say how nature is capable of building complex structures by process of self-organization, how simplicity begets complexity. Consider the example of the snowflake, the beautiful six-pointed pattern of ice crystals that result from the direct freezing of water vapor in the atmosphere. Our experience tells us that a snowflake is very ephemeral, melting quickly into drops of water that exhibit far less structure. But that is only because we live in a relatively high-temperature environment, where heat reduces the fragile arrangement of crystals to a simpler liquid. Energy is required to break the symmetry of a snowflake.

In an environment where the ambient temperature is well below the melting point of ice, as it is in most of the universe far from the highly localized effects of stellar heating, any water vapor would readily crystallize into complex, asymmetric structures. Snowflakes would be eternal, or at least would remain intact until cosmic rays tore them apart.
This example illustrates that many simple systems of particles are unstable, that is, have limited lifetimes as they undergo spontaneous phase transitions to more complex structures of lower energy. Since “nothing” is as simple as it gets, we cannot expect it to be very stable. It would likely undergo a spontaneous phase transition to something more complicated, like a universe containing matter. The transition of nothing-to-something is a natural one, not requiring any agent. As Nobel laureate physicist Frank Wilczek has put it, “The answer to the ancient question ‘Why is there something instead of nothing?’ would be that ‘nothing’ is unstable.” (29)

In the nonboundary scenario for the natural origin of the universe I mentioned earlier, the probability for there being something rather then nothing actually can be calculated; it is over 60 percent. (30)

In short, the natural state of affairs is something rather then nothing. An empty universe requires supernatural intervention—not a full one. Only by the constant agent outside the universe, such as God, could a state of nothingness be maintained. The fact that we have something is just what we would expect if there is no God.


STENGER’S SOURCES

28) Bede Rundle, Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2004)

29) Frank Wilczek, “The Cosmic Asymmetry between Matter and Antimatter, ”Scientific American 243, no. 6 (1980): 82-90.

30) Stenger, The Comprehensible Cosmos, supplement H.
--------------------

Stenger, Hawkings and Tyron define "nothing" as equalizing positive and negative energy which thus cancels each other out. Thus, the beginning of the known universe was due to a quantum wave fluctuation from within the inherent instability of this "nothing."

I know you'll disagree with their definition of "nothing." Does it come down to how we define a word? I know such a concept of nothing is strange, since positive and negative energy equalizing themselves out are not exactly "nothing" in the purest sense. But this is what science does. It looks for answers based on a method you yourself adopt: methodological naturalism. It's the method that defines us as modern people. Assume a natural cause for every event. The controversy is over when someone should give up trying to explain something naturally. I guess it's a good thing scientists didn't give up and punt to mystery before the discoveries of so many things down through the centuries.

Michael Houx said...

Victor Strenger's appeal to spontaneous self-generation at the moment the universe began, followed by billions of years of self generation is purely speculative. Not one example exists. (Snowflakes don't count, they manifest order without complexity). Without causation nothing happens and without organization by an intelligent being systems tend toward lower and lower complexity. If nothing was truly unstable our own realm would be disturbed. We should be witnessing spontaneous creations. We do not.

No matter how strong the evidence becomes there will always be people, who for non-scientific reasons reject the evidences. Nothing in our human experience can be proven absolutely. There comes a point where such attempts cease to be rational. What is going on here is the same thing that goes on with the flat earth society. The society still points to "scientific" evidences for a flat earth. But the increasing evidences has forced them to appeal to increasingly absurd "evidences" for their position, and to ignore and explain away progressively stronger evidences against their position.

For centuries those who believe in God have been accused (rightly in some cases) of a God-of-the gaps argument. In the twentieth century we see the reverse. Non-Theists, confronted with problems for which ample research leads to no natural explanation and instead points to the supernatural, utterly reject the possibility of the supernatural and insist on a natural explanation even when it leads to absurdity. Ficticious "natural" laws are hypothesized in order to get arround the overwhelming scientific support for an intelligent creator of the universe and life on planet earth. The past few years have witnessed an increase in the evidence and an increase in absurdities of a non-Theistic interpretation of the physical realm. As time goes on the evidence will become stronger an the absurdities will continue.

david ellis said...


Victor Strenger's appeal to spontaneous self-generation at the moment the universe began, followed by billions of years of self generation is purely speculative.


All hypotheses as to the cause of the big bang are speculative, including the theistic hypothesis, since we currently have no means of testing any of them.


Without causation nothing happens and without organization by an intelligent being systems tend toward lower and lower complexity.


Really, so what is causing more complex molecules to be generated in umpteen million varieties of commonplace chemical reactions.....the chemistry fairy?


If nothing was truly unstable our own realm would be disturbed.


This sentence is sheer gibberish.


We should be witnessing spontaneous creations. We do not.


We should observe natural phenomena where simple things interact to arrange themselves in more complex forms....and we do.


Non-Theists, confronted with problems for which ample research leads to no natural explanation and instead points to the supernatural, utterly reject the possibility of the supernatural and insist on a natural explanation even when it leads to absurdity.


You have given only two examples of things you think fall into this category:

1. the anthropic coincidences (cosmic fine-tuning)

2. abiogenesis

But you have given no basis for thinking:

a. that alternative hypotheses that account for the anthropic coincidences equally well (like the multiverse hypothesis, to name only one) are more unlikely than your theistic hypothesis

nor

b. that the simplest possible self-replicating molecules could not happen by natural processes.

How can you conceivably say such molecules can't happen naturally when we don't even know yet how simple a molecule can be and still be self-replicating nor how many sorts of such simple self-replicating molecules are chemically possible?

Answers to these two questions are essential to evaluating how likely abiogenesis is to occur (and whether it is physically possible) but we don't currently have that information so how exactly do you come to this conclusion---other than it simply being what you prefer (and I, by the way, would prefer it too....but wishing doesn't make it so).

Larry J. Cthulhu said...

Non-Theists, confronted with problems for which ample research leads to no natural explanation and instead points to the supernatural, utterly reject the possibility of the supernatural and insist on a natural explanation even when it leads to absurdity.

I just don't see how introducing a supernatural agent solves anything as any being capable of creating the universe must necessarily be even more complex and a warrant an explanation itself. I know this line of thought isn't original or anything, but I'm curious how saying "a magic man in the sky did it with magic" is an answer at all...

Michael Houx said...

All appeals to an infinite number of universes as an escape from the conclusion of a divinely designed universe are absurd. Suppose someone flips a single coin in front of a large audience ten thousand consecutive times, where the coin comes up heads all ten thousand times. The rational people will conclude that the coin has been designed to come up heads on every flip. The others will speculate that outside the auditorium there could possibly exist 2 to the 10,000 coins. If 2 to the 10,000 people flip those 2 to the 10,000 coins 10,000 consecutive times each, that person would conclude that the laws of probability would predict that one of those 2 to 10,000 sucession of flips would produce one example of ten thousand consecutive heads. On this basis, the person concludes that the coin in the auditorium is fair and decides to bet on tails for the 10,001st flip. Three major errors are commited. There is no evidence that all the coins exist outside the auditorium. There is no evidence that all the coins outside the auditorium are flipped tenthousand consecutive times each. And there is no evidence that all the coin flipping results outside the auditorium are different from those he has observed inside the auditorium. Where the coin sample size is one, the rational conclusion to draw from 10,000 consecutive coin flips yeilding nothing but heads is that the coin has been purposed to always produce a heads result. The reason one might conclude otherwise is if one has a non-rational conviction that no coins can possibly be designed to always come up heads. Where the universe sample size is one, the rational conclusion to draw is that a BEING must have purposed the universe in such a manner to support physical life. To do otherwise only can be based on the non-rational conviction that no universe can possibly be designed. We do not know whether more than one universe exists. Moreover, we will never gain the technological capacity to scientifically discover the existence of another universe. Once observers exist in universe A, the theory of general relativity tells us that the space-time manifold of that universe can never overlap the space-time manifold of any other possibly existing universe. The evidence for any other universe will never be forth comming. The sample size of universes is one and will always be just one.

The multiple universe is so broad that any event can be explained away by it. If we ask "why did the planes hit the world trade center? the theory lets us say that we just happen to be in the universe where those planes-though they appeared to be deliberately flown into the building-actually hit the building by accident. The multiple universe theory is so broad that it can be used to excuse the atheists who made it up. Maybe we just happen to be in the universe where people are irrational enough to suggest that such nonsense is the truth. Multiplying ones probablistic resources without warrant would make rational conduct impossible. What we have here are attempts to get arround the scientific facts.

Michael Houx said...

Also, if absolute nothingness spontaneously generates space, time, matter, and energy, then the principle of cause and effect has been violated. This would undermine all the sciences, mathematics, and logic. If nothing was unstable we should be observing spontaneous creations within our universe. We do not. The coming into existence of space, time, matter, and energy is an effect that requires a transcendent CAUSE.

Michael Houx said...

Carbon to carbon isotope ratio studies distinguish between inorganic carbonaceous molecules that form some of the critical building blocks of life and the same molecules that result from the decay of once living organisms. Such studies reveal that all these carbonaceous molecules are post-biotic. There never existed at any point in earth's history a prebiotic soup or prebiotic mineral substrate. Since there was no prebiotic soup or substrate there is no possibility of a naturalistic origins of life. Something called the oxygen-ultraviolet paradox explains why there is no prebiotic soup or substrate. The existence of oxygen in the atmosphere and the ocean guarantees the shutdown of prebiotic chemistry. The absence of oxygen, however, means that intense ultraviolet radiation will penatrate earth's atmosphere and open ocean layer. Such ultraviolet radiation also guarantees the shutdown of prebiotic chemistry. So, either way, a naturalistic explanation for the orgins of life is doomed.

Also, Harold Morowitz calculated that if the simplest living cell were broken apart the odds of it being reassembled would be one chance in 10 to the 100,000,000,000. If all the matter in the universe were converted into buiding blocks of life, and assembly of these building blocks were attempted once a microsecond for the entire age of the universe, then the odds would drop to 1 in 10 to the 99,999,999,916. So the 10 million year time period for the origin of life is too small. Physicists tell us that when the odds exceed 10 to the 100 it is a practical impossibility.

Other factors have already been listed above as to why a naturalistic explanation for the orgin of life is impossible.

The origin of life is a miricle.

D said...

It appears that Michael has copied a great deal of creationist talking points without attribution above, unless he claims he wrote all this himself.

While Michael has raised a few valid points above, especially questions about UV/ozone and how that plays into life's origins, some of his points are based on faulty premises, e.g. #1, given that self-assembly via phospholipid bilayers in water is spontaneous (in H2O), and no high-MW self-assembling hydrocarbons are invoked for the putative earliest forms of life.

The "tars" he describes above as our decay products are a little vague, but the issue of producing sugars without forming tars has been solved, (at UF, my school, in fact) if this is what he refers to: link.

Another sad canard above involves the probability calculations (#3) -- you'll notice creationists never supply the fine details in their calculations:
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/abioprob/default.htm

They try to calculate the probability of something complex in present life forming *by chance*, which is of course absurd. The present life's complexities were built stepwise via selection, a *nonrandom* process.

Anyway, I will try to have a post up here at DC within a few weeks that addresses thoroughly each of his copy & pasted objections to abiogenesis above.

D said...

A couple of quick points, which I will elaborate on later:

Michael said:
"9. The energy released from the decay of the radiometric isotopes of uranium, thorium, and potassium sets up a reaction whereby ocean water feeds a continuous stream of oxygen into the earth's atmosphere. This streaming was much greater a few billion years ago than it is now. It is sufficient to guarantee the complete shutdown of chemical reactions that possibly could cause prebiotic molecules to assemble into biotic molecules."

>>Understanding the oxygen balance on early Earth requires attention to sinks as well as sources of oxygen. One major sink for oxygen on early Earth would have been reduced iron. Iron could have simultaneously provided shielding against ultraviolet (UV%) light that would have been reaching Earth’s surface in the absence of the ozone shield generated by atmospheric oxygen.

Nanophase ferric oxide minerals in solution could provide a sunscreen against UV while allowing the transmission of visible light, in turn making the evolution of at least some photosynthesic organisms possible. Dr. Janice Bishop and Dr. Rothschild are testing this hypothesis through coupled mineralogical and microbiological work in both the lab and the field, and examining its implications not only for Earth but for Mars as well, with an emphasis on implications for upcoming spacecraft observations.

They have completed a number of lab experiments showing that nanophase iron oxide-bearing minerals facilitate growth of photosynthetic organisms by providing protection from UV radiation. This year they have completed analyzing the data from previous years lab experiments and summarized our results in a paper that is in press in the International Journal of Astrobiology. This work showed that nanophase iron oxide-bearing minerals can facilitate growth of photosynthetic organisms by providing protection from UV radiation. Based on the spectral properties of iron oxides and the results of experiments with two photosynthetic organisms, they propose a scenario where photosynthesis, and ultimately the oxygenation of the atmosphere, depended on the protection of early microbes by nanophase ferric oxides/oxyhydroxides.
(http://nai.seti.org/research.html)

This research was recently published:
Bishop, J.L. & Louris et al, S.K. (In Press, 2006). Nanophase Iron Oxides as a Key Ultraviolet Sunscreen for Ancient

Photosynthetic Microbes. International Journal of Astrobiology, 5.

See more at that site for more answers: http://nai.seti.org/research_earlyEarth.html

D said...

Michael said:
"10. Without oxygen in the atmosphere, no ozone shield will ever form. Without an ozone shield solar ultraviolet radiation will penatrate unimpeded to the earth's surface. Such radiation will shut down the chemical reactions that are essential for the assembly of prebiotics into organisms. The existence of oxygen will shut down the required chemical reactions. The lack of oxygen will also shut down the required chemical reactions."

>>Bacterial metabolism is closely coupled to primary production[5]. Consequently, bacterial activity is highest in the upper mixed layer of the ocean where UV-B also penetrates at radiation levels high enough to influence bacterial growth. Extrapolating our measurements on UV-B penetration, we calculate that UV-B influences bacterial activity down to a depth of 10 m at around noon. Furthermore, the 1% UV-B radiation level in tropical waters is at about 30 m depth at around noon. An inhibition of bacterial activity by about 30 to 40% (depending on whether thymidine or leucine incorporation techniques have been used) is noticeable at a UV-B radiation of 0.4 W m-2; this radiation has been measured between 10:00 and 14:00 off Belize on a cloudless day down to a depth of 3.5 m.
(http://www.ciesin.columbia.edu/docs/011-441/011-441.html)

>>Image showing the maximum penetration depth of UV light to be around 65 meters: http://danielmorgan.name/img/oceanus.jpg
(from http://www.whoi.edu/oceanus/viewArticle.do?id=2472)

>>...researchers have long been puzzled as to how the cyanobacteria could make all that oxygen without poisoning themselves. To avoid their DNA getting wrecked by a hydroxyl radical that naturally occurs in the production of oxygen, the cyanobacteria would have had to evolve protective enzymes. But how could natural selection have led the cyanobacteria to evolve these enzymes if the need for them didn’t even exist yet?

Now, two groups of researchers at the California Institute of Technology offer an explanation of how cyanobacteria could have avoided this seemingly hopeless contradiction. Reporting in the December 12 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) and available online this week, the groups demonstrate that ultraviolet light striking the surface of glacial ice can lead to the accumulation of frozen oxidants and the eventual release of molecular oxygen into the oceans and atmosphere. This trickle of poison could then drive the evolution of oxygen-protecting enzymes in a variety of microbes, including the cyanobacteria. According to Yuk Yung, a professor of planetary science, and Joe Kirschvink, the Van Wingen Professor of Geobiology, the UV-peroxide solution is “rather simple and elegant.”

“Before oxygen appeared in the atmosphere, there was no ozone screen to block ultraviolet light from hitting the surface,” Kirschvink explains. “When UV light hits water vapor, it converts some of this into hydrogen peroxide, like the stuff you buy at the supermarket for bleaching hair, plus a bit of hydrogen gas.

“Normally this peroxide would not last very long due to back-reactions, but during a glaciation, the hydrogen peroxide freezes out at one degree below the freezing point of water. If UV light were to have penetrated down to the surface of a glacier, small amounts of peroxide would have been trapped in the glacial ice.” This process actually happens today in Antarctica when the ozone hole forms, allowing strong UV light to hit the ice.

Before there was any oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere or any UV screen, the glacial ice would have flowed downhill to the ocean, melted, and released trace amounts of peroxide directly into the sea water, where another type of chemical reaction converted the peroxide back into water and oxygen. This happened far away from the UV light that would kill organisms, but the oxygen was at such low levels that the cyanobacteria would have avoided oxygen poisoning.
(http://www.universetoday.com/2006/11/29/how-did-early-bacteria-survive-poisonous-oxygen/)

>>The major known direct effects of the sun's uv radiation are on the skin and eyes, because uv radiation will not penetrate deeper than the skin itself (see CIAP Monograph 5, Chapter 3.5). At short wavelengths little uv radiation penetrates the ozone layer; at long wavelengths the skin is relatively insensitive. The damage comes from a narrow band of the solar uv spectrum from 295 to 320 nm--a band whose intensity at the earth's surface is most altered by changes in stratospheric ozone concentration. This range nearly coincides with the 280-315-nm band for which the scientific shorthand is uv-B...Primary production in the ocean depends on the photosynthetic activity of a whole range of species of living organisms. Because of the unique importance of phytoplankton and zooplankton to the ecology of the world's food chain, the sensitivity of these species to enhanced levels of uv-B is of prime concern. Elucidation of this question requires a thorough understanding of how deeply various wavelengths of uv penetrate natural waters. A few preliminary measurements of the penetration of uv-B into natural waters have been made using the Robertson uv sensor, but unfortunately this sensor is incapable of measuring the integral of radiance with a large enough solid angle to take into account diffuse radiation coming from the scattering effect of the atmosphere and of the ocean. Development of new instruments will be required for this purpose. At this time, no precise relationship between turbidity and penetration of uv-B radiation into seawater has been determined. Until this information is available, is related in some way to the vertical distribution of planktonic organisms, and is averaged meaningfully over the major population of plankton in the seas, it will not be possible to predict the effects of ambient or increased uv-B on marine plants and animals.
(http://www.ciesin.columbia.edu/docs/001-533/001-533.html)

There are answers, there always are, but creationists don't know them, or don't understand them, or don't want to...

See here for more scientific answers to the creationists' questions, and I'll finish replying to each of his points later.

david ellis said...


The multiple universe is so broad that any event can be explained away by it.


Sorry but this applies equally to theism (any event you dont understand you can simply explain by saying "God did something miraculous").

Again, do you have any evidence which you can point to which would indicate that our big bang is the only one? Your argument is similar to the argument of the "fine-tuning" of conditions for life on planet earth (distance from its sun, etc). But that argument fails due to the massive size of the observable cosmos and the likelihood of vast numbers of planets.

And, if it turns out there are vast numbers of big bangs then your argument will be shown to be spurious. However, if it can be shown that ours is the only one or there have been only a few then you might well have a good argument for fine-tuning......you aren't there yet though.

As of now all arguments concerning what came before the big bang are speculative....and you can't very well build a case for theism (or anything else) on sheer speculation.

Science advances though. And we may live to see the day this question is answered scientifically.

I have one question though:

If it were to be shown in the future that our big bang is only one of a vast number and that most resulting universes were entirely incapable of life.....will you consider this evidence that atheism is true or will you just try to (somehow) take your God of the gaps argument one step further back.

Michael Houx said...

Nope it's not a god of the gaps. The coming into existence of space, time, matter, and energy is proved beyond reasonable doubt. It is an effect that requires a transcendet cause. Over 200 characteristics of the universe are fine tuned in the universe for life showing the creator's intelligence. As the former Atheist Antony Flew would say - we must follow the evidence wherever it leads. The evidence is overwhelming. The past century has witnessed an exponential increase in evidence for a transcendent Creator. Every month new evidence is discovered that adds weight to case for a trnscendent designer.

Scientific Papers on the origin of life from non-christians

Michael Houx said...

Predictive Tests for the Creation Model

1. As astronomers discover more extrasolar planets and learn more about their planet stars, evidence for the rarity of solar system features that permit advanced life will increase, as will the need for intervention miricles to explain them.

2. Astonomers' measurments of the universe's age will become more accurate, more consistent, and more certainly fixed on about 14 billion years.

3. Evidence for ongoing star and planet formation and for star extinction will increase.

4. Evidences for an actual beginning of space and time will grow stronger and more numerous. These evidences will continue to place the beginning of space and time at about 14 billion years ago.

5. Evidence for fine tuning in the laws and constants of physics and in the gross cosmic features will become stronger.

6. New more precise cosmic expansion meadures will confirm that the universe has been expanding for about 14 billion years and that the expansion rate is extraordinarily (supernaturally) fine-tuned.

7. Astronomer's and physicists will continue to accumulate evidence that the laws and constants of physics have remained extraordinarily fixed over the pst 14 billion years - from present back to the cosmic creation event.

8. Both the number and characteristics of the Local Group galaxies that must be fine-tuned and the degree of fine-tuning in those features to make the existence of advanced life possible will progressively increase.

9. The proximity of galaxies to one another will prove to be proportional to their distance from earth.

10. New discoveries will continue to increase the evidence that humans exist at the ideal moment in cosmic history to foster advanced civilization and to observe the cosmic creation event and measure cosmic design features.

11. Both the number of characteristics of the Milky Way Galaxy that must be fine-tuned and the degree of fine-tuning in those features to make the existence of advanced life possible will progressively increase as astronomers learn more about the Milky Way Galaxy.

12. As astronomer's learn more about the physical requirements for advanced life, they will find increasing evidence for the anthropic principle inequality.

13. Both the number of characteristics of the solar system that must be fin-tuned and the degree of fine-tuning in those features to make the existence of advanced life possible will progressively increase as astronomers learn more about the solar system.

14. Both the number of characteristics of Earth that must be fine tuned and the degree of fine tuning in those features to make the existence of advanced life possible will progressively increase as astronomers learn more about the earth.

15. Both the number of characteristics of the moon-forming collision event that must be fine-tuned and the degree of fine-tuning in those features to make the existence of advanced life possible will progressively increase as astronomers learn more about the moon-forming event.

16. Both the number of characteristics of the late heavy bombardment that must be fine-tuned and the degree of fine tuning in those features to make the existence of advanced life possible will progressively increase as astronomers learn more about the bombardment.

17. Future solar system discoveries will reveal the remains of life on all solar system bodies in proportion to how efficiently meteoric impacts can transport such remains from earth and to how well conditions on the the respective body allow the preservation of such remains

18. Ongoing research increasingly will demonstrate that the habitable zones for life and intelligent life in particular are narrow.

19. As astronomers discover more planets, they will find increasing evidence that analogs of the solar system and Earth simular enough to permit the existence of advanced life are either rare or nonexistent.

20. Evidence will become increasingly more compelling that no laws of physics exist that cause extreme local violations of the thermodynamic laws that complexity and order spring from simplicity and disorder to such a degree that life spontaneously arises from nonlife.

21. As scientists learn more about the origin of the simplest possible independent life and laws of physics, they will find increasing evidence against any natural law that spontaneously and instantly self-organizes nonorganic matter into viable organisms.

22. Astrochemical research increasingly will establish the inadequacy of any possible natural source of prebiotics to provide all the chemical building blocks in the necessary concentrations and stabilities for a naturalistic origin of life.

23. Astrochemists increasingly will establish that there are no natural reservoirs of concentrated, perfectly homochiral amino acids and sugars.

24. Geneticists increasingly will establish that the simplest possible independent life forms are nearly as complex as the simplest independent life on Earth today.

25. Scientists increasingly will establish that origin of life took place within a very narrow of time billions of years ago.

26. When scientists recover from the moon some fossils of earth's first life they will find that these fossilized remains are as complex or nearly so and diverse as the earliest fossils of life found on Earth.

27. Research on the components of the Drake Equation increasingly will demonstrate that the probability for the existence of extraterrestrial intelligent life is indistinguishable from zero.

28. Future searches for extraterrestrial intelligent life will continue to produve null results.

29. Chemists will find increasing evidence for chemical barriers blocking naturalistic pathways to the assembly of nucleobases and sugars into all the life-critical DNA and RNA molecules within realistic time scales.

30. Chemists will find increasing evidence for chemical barriers blocking naturalistic pathways to the assembly of amino acids into all the life-criticle proteins within realistic time scales.

31. Biochemists will find increasing evidence for a very complex level of efficient organizational design in the interrelationships and functions of molecules within cells.

32. Chemists will find increasing evidence for elegant, efficient, and optimal designs of molecules within cells. These designs will continue to prove to match or exceed the quality of man-made machines.

33. The goal of making a sinple life-form in the lab from nonorganic compounds will prove increasingly extreme in its technological demands, expense, and design intricacy.

34. Reaserch increasingly will show that the speciation events and abundance levels of life over the past 3.8 billion years have been designed to maximize the quantity, quality, and diversity of biodeposits for the support of human civilization.

35. Research increasingly will show that life has been abundant and widespread on earth throughout the past 3.8 billion years except for very brief intervals after mass extinction events.

36. Research increasingly will show that specific species were removed and introduced at specific epochs throughout the past 3.8 billion years to perfectly compensate for changes in the sun's luminosity.

37. Research increasingly will show that the quantity and diversity of sulfate-reducing bacteria have been carefully regulated to provide vital-poison metals of the just-right levels and types at the just-right times for advanced life.

38. Research increasingly will show that bacteria indeed provided humanity with optimally rich, extensive ore deposits and that the speciation and growth of such bacteria must be specified.

39. Research increasingly will show that symbiosis, organization, extent, and timing of cryptogamic colonies must be highly specified to prepare landmasses within a specific time period for advanced life.

40. Research will increasingly show that specific species were removed and introduced at just-right times to alter the kind and extent of land erosion so as to compensate for changes in the sun's luminosity.

41. Research increasingly will show that the kind, extent, and duration of photosynthetic life must be highly specified to form, at the just-right time, the optimal amount of free oxygen for advanced life.

42. Research increasingly will show that natural disasters have struck Earth in a manner that is highly fine-tuned to remove the just right species at the just right times to compensate for changes in the solar system and prepare Earth for humanity

43. Research increasingly will establish that the cambrian explosion is truly explosive in bringing many phyla suddenly and simultaneously on the terrestrial scene with intact optimal ecological relationships.

44. Research increasingly will confirm that earth's biological history and geological processes were optimaly designed to provide humanity with the richest possible fossil fuel deposits.

45. Research will increasingly confirm that Earth's biological history and geological processes were optimally designed to provide humanity with the richest possible fossil fuel deposits.

46. Research will increasingly confirm that explosive mass speciation events have occured, events in which thousands of new species suddenly appeared on the terrestrial scene without any apparen connection to previously existing species.

47. Research increasingly will confirm that the time interval between some mass extinction events and subsequent mass speciation events is far too brief for any possible naturalistic cause.

48. Research increasingly will show that large-bodied species with small populations and long generation times manifest extinction times far briefer than any epoch during which they could naturally evolve into a distincly different species.

49. Research increasingly will confirm that deleterious mutations, natural disasters, and changes in the terrestrial and solar system environments imply brief extinction times for large bodied, small population, long generation time species.

50. Research increasingly will show that significant animal speciation, thogh prolific before the advent of humanity, ceased with the arrival of humanity.

51. Research increasingly will provide examples of repeated optimized designs in species that are distantly or not related from an evolutionary perspective.

52. Research increasingly will show that apparent "transitional forms" appear more frequently and rapidly in the fossil record for large-bodied, small population, long generation time species than for small bodied, large population, short generation time species.

53. Research increasingly will establish that the probability of humans arising from bacteria even granted optimistic evolutionary assumptions is for all practical purposes zero.

54. Continuing DNA analysis increasingly will establish that humans could not have descended from previously exdisting hominids.

55. Research will increasingly show that humans, and only humans, among all species, past or present, possess a spiritual nature and manifest spiritual capabilities.

56. Research increasingly will show that humans, and only humans posses all the brain structures neede to service spiritual activity.

57. Research increasingly will establish that no significant change has occured in either human or Neanderthal DNA over the historical and geographical ranges for both species.

58. When DNA is recovered and analyzed from Homo sapiens idaltu and other archaic Homo sapiens, it will prove to be so distinct from human DNA as to rule out these species as natural human ancestors.

59. Research increasingly will show that no significant changes have occured in the morphology of humans or any of the hominid species preceding humanity over their historical and geographical ranges.

60. Research will increasingly will establish a very narrow window of time within cosmic history during which an intelligent physical species could exist.

61. Research increasingly will establish a narrow window of time within cosmic history during which an intelligent physical species manifesting high technology could exist.

62. Research will increasingly show that natural disasters are optimally designed to protect and provide for life's needs and for humanity's in particular.

Michael Houx said...

As I said before in the case of the universe we have one and only one to consider. General relativity tells us that since the first split second of the cosmos existence, the space-time manifold of the universe has been thermodynamically closed. This means the space time envelope of our universe cannot possibly overlap the space-time envelope of any other hypothetical universe. Therefore we can place our bets on the only universe we can ever know, or we can speculate about hypothetival universes that will forever remain outside our realm of knowledge. The many universe hypothesis is guilty of what probability theorists call multiplying ones probabilistic resources without warrant. A card player who gets four aces every time he deals could simply say there are an infinite number of universes with poker games going on in them, and therefore, in some of them someone always by chance gets four aces every time he deals, and-lucky me!-we just happen to be in one of those universes. Multiplying one's probabilistic resources without warrant makes rational conduct impossible. Also, the many universe hypothesis violates Ockham's razor which states that we should not multiply causes beyond what is necessary to explain the effect. Thus, the many universe hypothesis collapses.

D said...

Michael Houx,

It is generally frowned upon to steal from other people's work without attribution. Your thefts are pretty obviously related to Hugh Ross and reasons.org.

I can't help but want to ask why the "creation model" predicts that the age of the universe will zoom in on 14Bya? Why not 13 or 15? What scientific features is this based on, and how is it contingent on God's existence?

You've made a number of claims, but I would love to see them tied coherently to theism at the exclusion of naturalism.

With respect to #58, you're quite silly, as we can't hope to recover analysis-suitable DNA from >100,000 years ago, if that, and given the amazing homologies in human-chimp comparison:
http://danielmorgan.name/Articles/human%20chimp%20genome%20gene%20evolution.pdf

Michael Houx said...

Not only that we have all of the other evidence I listed.

Michael Houx said...

I didn't steal anything. This is OUR creation model.

D said...

OUR who? You're saying that you and Hugh are collaborators?

Michael Houx said...

I've repeatedly said that I get my science from Dr. Hugh Ross.

Creation as Science
The Creator and the Cosmos
Origins of Life
Who was Adam?
Beyond the Cosmos

By the way if you want to hear a debate between Hugh Ross and Michael Shermer go to the website Reasons To Believe and listen as Shermer gets owned.

Michael Houx said...

Yes, I talk to him on occation. And I support His ministry as well. I consider myself to be part of the RTB family.

david ellis said...


Also, Harold Morowitz calculated that if the simplest living cell were broken apart the odds of it being reassembled would be one chance in 10 to the 100,000,000,000.


This is a good example of the shoddy arguments employed by creationists.

Abiogenesis doesn't need to assemble, by natural processes, the simplest current life form. It only has to assemble the simplest CHEMICALLY POSSIBLE self-replicating molecule.

Since we don't yet know how simple a molecule can be and be self-replicating (nor how many varieties of simple self-replicating molecules are possible) it is not yet possible to calculate the odds of one forming by natural processes.

Therefore this calculation has no bearing on the odds of abiogenesis occurring naturally.

david ellis said...

Michael said:


I've repeatedly said that I get my science from Dr. Hugh Ross.


LOL

That explains a lot.

Michael Houx said...

Those DNA analyses come from Neanderthals. Dates for H. erectus range from 1.8 to .5 million years ago with some dates sugesting dates at about 100,000 years ago. Because of the rate at which DNA decays there's little hope for recovering H. erectus DNA to make comparisons with Neanderthal or human DNA. The fossils are sufficient to establish that H. erectus remained static. Because of the morphological differences between H. erectus and Neanderthals and humans and because all three species experience no observable evolutionary change, it's highly unlikely that H. erectus could be the ancestor of Neanderthals, archaic H. sapiens, or modern humans. For example, the skull of a H. erectus infant had a brain size about 84 percent of that of an adult. This size compares with 50percent for a one year old human and 80 percent for a one year old modern ape. Comparisons of Neanderthal skulls from six months to young adulthood shows a much more rapid craniofacial maturation and much more rapid dental development than humans. Long-lasting childhood and adolescence when the brain continues to grow and develope is a unique hallmark of the human species. This distinctive provides addition support for the conclusion that hominids did not give rise to human beings.

H. Q. Coqueugniot et al., "Early Brain Growth in Homo erectus and Implications for cognitive ability," Nature 431 (2004), 299-302.

Marcia S. Ponce de Leon and Christopher P. E. Zollikofer, "Neanderthal Cranial Ontogeny and it's Implications for Late Hominid diversity," Nature 412 (2001): 534-538; B. Bower, "Neanderthals, Humans may have grown apart," Science News 160 (2001):71; Fernando V. Ramirez Rozzi and Jose Maria Bermudez de Castro, "suprisingly rapid growth in Neanderthals," Nature 428 (2004)

Michael Houx said...

Well those calculations are done by atheists and agnostics. The most conservative estimate is 10 to the 3000. They can be done and they have been done.

Michael Houx said...

It shouls explain alot especially after seeing your rediculous responses to the facts. The many universe hypothesis was discredited a long time ago. So was Victor Strenger's Idea.

John W. Loftus said...

Houx, you seem to think that you can win an argument by writing (or copying and pasting) more than we do in response. Try one argument at a time.

As I said in my original post, the answer you propose is in no better position to answer the question of existence. Your God does not serve as a better answer to the question of existence. Why won't you take a minute out of your preaching to consider, really consider what your answer commits yourself to? There are several serious problems for your position too. Be reasonable and admit it. That's all I ask.

Would you like to take a crack at the questions I asked you about your God being the answer to existence? Or would you prefer to keep blasting away with the unstated assumtion that the more a person writes the better his arguments are?

Michael Houx said...

Well if nothing is unstable we should be witnessing spontaneous creations within our own universe. It's nonsense. I've been trying to list all the evidence as to why God is the better explanation for our existence. You seem to have overlooked it. That's what I'm doing.

Michael Houx said...

I'm giving you a scientificaly testable creation model that defeats naturalism.

John W. Loftus said...

Dr. Craig uses the word “bizarre” to describe this problem when he wrote, “I well recall thinking, as I began to study the Kalam Cosmological Argument, that all of the alternatives with respect to the universe's existence––the infinitude of the past, creation ex nihilo, spontaneous origination ex nihilo ––were so bizarre that the most reasonable option seemed to be that nothing exists! Since our existence is, however, undeniable, we must settle, however uncomfortably, on one of the above three. Since we assume for the sake of argument in the present discussion the finitude of the past, our choices are creation ex nihilo or an uncaused origination ex nihilo.”1

---------------

1“Must the Beginning of the Universe Have a Personal Cause?: A Rejoinder,” Faith and Philosophy, Vol. 19, No. 2, April 2002).

Michael Houx said...

John,
If you will read what I wrote already I don't argue the way Craig does. I prefer using the Scientific testable creation model approach.

The coming into existence of space, time, matter, and energy is an effect that requires a transcendent CAUSE. Nothing happens without a cause. If something comes into existence out of nothing then the principle of cause and effect has been violated.

John W. Loftus said...

houx, it's begging the question for how it is possible for something to always exist, who has never learned anything (God).

You don't apparently get this, do you?

David B. Ellis said...


The coming into existence of space, time, matter, and energy is an effect that requires a transcendent CAUSE.


We do not know that the cosmos (the totality of physical reality) has a beginning. We only know that a big bang occurred. Whether this event was the beginning of physical reality is an open question.

As to the many universes hypothesis having been "discredited long ago", this is nonsense. This hypothesis is alive and well in current cosmology.

David B. Ellis said...


I prefer using the Scientific testable creation model approach.





Please state, as precisely as possible, how you would go about scientifically testing your creation model.

In other words, what data do you have which is consistent solely with the creation model and would not be expected on any alternate model for the cause of the big bang which cosmologists have proposed?

And, even better, state what precise predictions are made by your model which can be empirically verified and which would be highly unexpected if any model other than yours is true.

The simple fact is that no one has yet worked out a way to test any cosmological hypothesis as to the cause of the big bang.

Not yet anyway.

But if you think you have worked out a way to test your particular model I'd be glad to hear it.

Michael Houx said...

Well the space time theorem of general relativity tells us that space and time did have a beginning along with the universe.

We know that without time there is no motion. Everything that proceeds along our one dimension of time has a beginning and an end. Causes preceed their effects. Time is that dimension in which cause and effect take place. Since the CAUSAL AGENT transcends our one dimension of time then it must exist in at least two dimensions of time. In a plane of time there are an infinite number of time lines that run in an infinite number of directions. The CAUSE has no beginning and no end.

Hebrews 11:3 says By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. The universe we can detect was made through that which we cannot detect. The universe was made transcendently. Verses that state that time had a beginning and God was causing effects before time:
This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time.(2 Tim. 1:9)
You loved me before the creation of the world. (John 17:24)
He chose us in Him before the creation of the world. (Eph. 1:4)
A day is as a thousand years and a thousand years is as a day. This is only mathematically possible in at least two dimensions of time.

The manny Universe hypothesis violates ockam's razor that says we should not multiply causes beyond what is necessary to explain the effect.

Michael Houx said...

I listed a whole set of predictions earlier. Over 60 I think.

david ellis said...


Well the space time theorem of general relativity tells us that space and time did have a beginning along with the universe.


It, however, does not tell us that ALL space and time began at the big bang---only the space/time which emerged from it.


The manny Universe hypothesis violates ockam's razor that says we should not multiply causes beyond what is necessary to explain the effect.


Actually, its pretty obvious that Occam's razor favors the many universes model over the theistic creation model.

Why?

Because the many universes model explains the data in terms of something we know is real---bubbles of space/time emerging from big bangs---after all, we live in one so we know big bangs are possible. It simply assumes that ours is not the only one.

The theistic creation model, on the other hand, postulates an entirely new variety of phenomena---a disembodied mind---something we have no evidence is even possible. It adds a whole new category of phenomena as an explanation rather than simply than there is more than one of a known phenomena.

david ellis said...


I listed a whole set of predictions earlier. Over 60 I think.



And, going through the first ten or so, I note many problems:

For example, most are very vague and general---which is useless as predictions verifying a scientific theory. For example, your prediction no. 3 states "Evidence for ongoing star and planet formation and for star extinction will increase."

Could you get any more general than that? The predictions of a scientific theory, to have any value as evidence the theory is true, must be highly precise and specific. Not to mention that this "prediction" is consistent with pretty much ALL hypotheses concerning the cause of the big bang.

And lets look at prediction 4:

"Evidences for an actual beginning of space and time will grow stronger and more numerous. These evidences will continue to place the beginning of space and time at about 14 billion years ago."

Is there some special reason I am not aware of to think that the universe must have begun 14 billions years ago if theistic creation is true but not if the many universes hypothesis is true?

If so, you have failed to mention it.

And then there are those "predictions" which are entirely irrelevent to the issue....like this one:

"28. Future searches for extraterrestrial intelligent life will continue to produve null results."

Can you give some reason for thinking a deity must create one and only one intelligent species?

The existence or nonexistence of alien intelligence is, quite obviously, consistent with both theism and atheism.


If you want to find out what it takes to verify a theory read up on the predictions made by the Einstein's theory of relativity and the observations which eventually verified this theory.

Your list of predictions makes it pretty clear that you have little or no concept of what it means to verify a scientific theory.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi all,
not only does Michael Houx fail to show the link between the data and a God,
a quick google on Hugh Ross revealed that even in the Christian community, some of them are working to discredit his 'science'.

www.bible.ca

ldolphin.org

Some of them argue that not only do his theories contradict observations, but they contradict the bible as well.

There are fewer consensuses by experts for Hugh Ross's theories than there are for the commonly accepted naturalistic explanations.

I'm no expert, so the consensus of experts is all i have to go on in this field.

Michael Houx said...

Well, he gets his science from peer reviewed articles and journals and research scientists and physicists. Christians don't like it because he believes in an old universe and they think he believes in evolution. He is also an expert in the field.

Ockam's Razor states that entities should not be multiplied beyond necessity. The principle recommends selecting the explanation that postulates the fewest hypothetical entities. In other words we should not multiply causes beyond what is necessary to explain the effect. One cosmic designer is the explanation to be prefered over the infinitely bloated collection of universes. In fact it's the only possible explanation.

Michael Houx said...

You just don't like it because the facts are against you. The evidence destroys naturalism. I guess Antony Flew has also been decieved by "strange" psudoscientific christians.

You're in the exact same boat as the young earth creationists.

Naturalism will be destroyed by the weight of the scientific evidence.

John W. Loftus said...

Houx, if your theory of origins is rationally superior, then your theory should also be able to answer the questions I have asked about your God, who is your answer. Until you attempt to answer those questions I don't consider your theory to be any better than mine on this point.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Michael,
Getting his science from peer reviewed journals is one thing, publishing in peer reviewed journals and having a consensus by a majority of his peers is another.

You have aligned yourself with a maverick and USUALLY, in science, a maverick never gets anywhere but mentioned in a book like "Fads and Fallacies".

If you want to produce a list of mavericks that were later shown to be correct, then only time will tell if Ross is one of those.

Until he can produce some data to show that god exists, like some measurement or mathematical proof that can be tested and independently verified then the link between god and the data is speculative. That doesn't make good science.

People have devised tests for predictions of things like string theory, and are eagerly awaiting the outcome. Why don't you all get busy devising some tests to prove yours?

You just don't like it because the facts are against you.
That is a remarkable thing to say. I don't think you have enough data to come to that conclusion. But then this seems to be characteristic of you to this point (and christians in general) to settle on a conclusion that is not warranted by the data.

and now you've done it, you've caused william of ockham to turn in his grave.
;-)

Anonymous said...

Michael knows just enough to BS people who don't know better.

Houx said:
The fossils are sufficient to establish that H. erectus remained static.

All species, by definition, remain "static" within certain normal distributions of characteristics. The question is whether new species branched off in an allopatric or sympatric fashion, which is not substantiated by looking at the parent species, but at transitional and daughter species, and syncing this chronologically.

Houx said:
Because of the morphological differences between H. erectus and Neanderthals and humans and because all three species experience no observable evolutionary change, it's highly unlikely that H. erectus could be the ancestor of Neanderthals, archaic H. sapiens, or modern humans.

Of course, you're completely ignoring the scientific evidence for the relationships of these species, which is available in the scientific literature here.

You can go on rambling all day about morphology, but you're not an expert, and their knowledge and consensus flatly contradicts your goofy lame-ass attempts to be a paleontologist.

Houx said:
Well those calculations are done by atheists and agnostics. The most conservative estimate is 10 to the 3000. They can be done and they have been done.

I'd love to see one which was not based on purely speculative pathways, AND didn't *only* use randomness, versus selection.

What Michael does is mishmash truth with wishful thinking, as it pertains to his buddy Hugh Ross's "expertise" and the scientific consensus. Ross is indeed an expert in his field with many publications -- all of which support the standard model(s) of cosmology: the Big Bang. That position is the scientific consensus to explain our universe's origins.

But Houx wants to mishmash this together with creationism, which is in no way necessitated by, or causally linked to, the Big Bang (of course). And Ross's expertise is certainly *far* from biology, or evolutionary biology, at that.

Furthermore, he's mishmashing together science with a "play-pretend" version of what he thinks creationism *predicts*. But, as I asked him above,

"I can't help but want to ask why the "creation model" predicts that the age of the universe will zoom in on 14Bya? Why not 13 or 15? What scientific features is this based on, and how is it contingent on God's existence?

You've made a number of claims, but I would love to see them tied coherently to theism at the exclusion of naturalism."

He can't show us why Ross's twist on the Big Bang necessitates theism, all he's doing is regurgitating the very old "First Cause" and Cosmological arguments. Something we've all seen warmed over many times.

It relies completely upon our ignorance -- it is a giant argument from ignorance. The singularity is, by definition, our ignorance. We don't know what caused it, how is came to be, or what it was like (sounds just like God, doesn't it?). But theists basically translocate this ignorance of our universe's origins to ignorance of a cosmic designer, then claim they've made epistemic progress.

Of course, when Houx says things like:
One cosmic designer is the explanation to be prefered over the infinitely bloated collection of universes. In fact it's the only possible explanation.

He's waxing metaphysical and has absolutely no scientific basis for saying such a thing -- that an infinite Person of a transcendental and incomprehensible nature is preferred (for reasons of philosophical economy) over an infinite chain of something that we all already agree exist: universes.

I would love to see how Houx even approaches supporting God being the "only explanation" for our universe -- he can't, he just blindly asserts it over and over.

Houx said:
I guess Antony Flew has also been decieved by "strange" psudoscientific christians.

Actually, that story is long and convoluted, but you can read about it here and here. Flew is not a theist, Michael, and anyone who says otherwise is lying, and I can prove it easily.

D said...

The above comment was mine.

Michael Houx said...

I never said he was. Why don't you read everything I say. He's more like a Deist.

Michael Houx said...

John,
I'm not sure I understand what you are saying. Are you saying that it's impossible for God to always exist and always know everything?

Michael Houx said...

Also, God exixting timeless contradicts both the Bible and the scientific evidences for for the reality beyond our universe.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Michael,
Also, God existing timeless contradicts both the Bible and the scientific evidences for for the reality beyond our universe.
Thats the first time I've heard a christian say that. What do you mean by "god existing timeless"?

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Michael,
I forgot to ask, what kinds of research and experiments does Hugh have his Graduate students carrying on?

I'm sure his labs must be bustling with activity!

Michael Houx said...

Well, there's no motion without without time. No cause and effect. So the cause of the universe can't be timeless. How else could the cause bring the universe into existence?

If there's no motion there's no freedom. To say God is timeless and personal makes no sense.

Would you agree? Or am I missing something?

Michael Houx said...

He has a team of scholars at the ministry. It's not just him by himself. He's not the only person I study. I'm just now getting back into all this stuff. I quit studying for a while and did other things.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Michael,
I can't agree because i don't know enough about time and space to commit to a definite point of view. I can only say some things sound more plausible than others based on my understanding. So when I say that I'm not sure there's no motion without time and the universe can't be timeless, I know what some of the theories are but I am not qualified to decide which is better than another.

I think the bible says that god is timeless, and I do agree that a personal god doesn't make sense in my experience. My hypothesis is there is no god and I get on pretty well like that. I make my predictions about life based on that and I have more success than I did when I was a Christian. I'm definitely happier because now things make sense to me.

When you say that he's not the only person you study was that a typo or do you study him? I was under the impression that you were one of his scholars. I was wondering what a Drafter brings to the table researching the creation of the universe.

So when you say Hugh has scholars at the ministry, does that mean scientists? Do they do any experiments or measurements or predictions of any sort?

Do they do meta-analyses of other studies and look for patterns etc?

Do they do any field work?

What Journals have they published in?

Michael Houx said...

Lee,

Explain to me how you can have motion without time? If time stops there's no movement. If God is timeless he doesn't move.

Think of a line on a sheet of paper. Our time dimension is one dimensional. It runs in one direction. Since the cause transcends our one dimension of time it must be in at least two dimensions of time.

Now, William Lane Craig argues for absolute time. There's time outside of time. It's metaphysical time. We can't detect it because when we are in motion are measuring rods bend and our clocks distort.

Michael Houx said...

The creation event is an effect that includes our time dimension. Whoever caused the universe, then, must possess at least one more time dimension (or some attribute, capacity, superdimension, or supradimension that encompases all the properties of time). The space-time theorem and it's corollary shows us that the creator operates in at least two dimensions of time.

Michael Houx said...

Scientific Scholars

Lynn Carta, Ph.D., USDA, Beltsville
Guillermo Gonzalez, Ph.D., Iowa State University
Walter Bradley, Ph.D, Cal State San Bernardino
David Rogstad, Ph.D., Jet propulsion Laboratories
George Lebo, Ph.D., University of Florida
Gerald Cleaver, Ph.D., Baylor University
Robert DiSilvestro, Ph.D. Ohio State University.
Michael Strauss, Ph.D, University of Oklahoma
Alex Metherell, M.D. and Ph.D., former researcher at University of California Irvine.
Eric Klumpe, Ph.D., University of Texas
Erica Carlson, Ph.D, Purdue University
Kyle Cudworth, Ph.D. University of Chicago, Yerkes Observatory
Jeffrey Zweerink, Ph.D, UCLA

Doctoral Canidates

Sam Conner, MIT
Gary Holt, Caltech
Robert Vanderwater, UCLA

Theology and Philosophy Scholars and experts in Biblical languages and more scientists

John Rea, Ph.D.
Norman Geisler, Ph.D.
Earl Radmacher, Th.D.
Dallas Willard, Ph.D.
Craig Keener, Ph.D.
Walter Kaiser, Ph.D.
Mick Ukleja, Ph.D.
J.P. Moreland, Ph.D.
Allan Sandage, Ph.D. (Alvoord Prize winner)

Michael Houx said...

Dr. Jeffrey Zweerink

Jeff Zweerink came to Reasons To Believe From UCLA wher he still serves part-time on the physics and astronomy research faculty. He earned his Ph.D. at Iowa State University. Jeff conducted research using tha STAGEE an VERITAS gamma-ray telescopes. He was also involved in research projects such as the Solar Two Project6 and the Whipple Collaboration. Jeff has co-authored more than 30 journal articles.

Dr. Dave Rogstad earned a Ph.D in physics from Caltech before launching his career as a rocket scientist. During his 31 years at Caltech and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Dave worked on a number of high-profile projects, including the supercomputers used to simulate national defense senarios dubbed "Star Wars". He also led the technical team credited with saving the Galileo mission Jupiter.
In addition to publishing more than 20 papers on radio astronomy in scientific journals, Dave was commissioned to co-author and edit Antenna Arraying Techniques in the Deep Space Network. This book is part of the prestigious JPL series that lays a foundation for innovation in deep space navigation and communications. Though Dave stepped down from his leadership role at JPL to join RTB, Dave still serves as a technical consultant to the Lab.

Dr. Fuzale Rana did research in biochemistry and concluded that life must have been created. He earned a BS degree in chemistry with honors. He completed a Ph.D. in chemistry with an emphasis in biochemistry at Ohio University, where he twice won the Donald Clippinger Research Award. Fuz worked for seven years as a Senior Scientist in product development for Procter & Gamble.
Fuz has published numorous articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals including Biochemistry, Applied Spectroscopy, FEBS Letters, Journal of Microbiology Methods, and The Journal of Chemical Education. He has made presentations at twenty international scientific meetings an co-authored a chapter on antimivrobial peptides for Biological and Synthetic Membranes. In addition he holds one patent. He wrote Who was Adam? and Origins of Life and is currently completing a book on biochemical design.

Dr. Hugh Ross started his career at age seven when he went to the library to find out why the stars were hot. At age 17 he was the youngest person yet to serve as director of Observations for Vancouver's Royal Astronomical society. He completed his graduate degrees in physics and astronomy from University of British Columbia and University of Toronto. The NRC sent him to the U.S. for postdoctoral studies. At Caltech he researched quasars..

Michael Houx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John W. Loftus said...

Houx, you keep going on and on without answering my questions. Why?

And if the univers is 13.5 billion years old have you stopped to consider that there isn't an adequate harmonization of this fact and the creation accounts in Genesis 1-2? First there was an earth, and then on day four God created the universe around it. If you believe science is correct about the 13.5 billion year old universe, then you also believe that the universe came into existence before the earth.

Michael Houx said...

John,

Explain your why question. I'm not sure I understand what you're saying. Are you saying that it's impossible for God to know everything and always exist?

The universe could have been created in v. 1:1. Heavens and Earth mean the entire physical universe.

Michael Houx said...

Well, it looks like we are stuck with an intelligent personal creator as the only possible explanation for the existence of the universe and the high measure of design in the universe.

Benny said...

Mr. Loftus,

I see that while calvin has changed names, he's still spouting the same old non-sense.

Michael Houx aka calvin is a troll, pure and simple. I'm unable to reach any other conclusion from his behavior. Every time the subject of cosmology comes up, he shows up with his distortions of facts and outright lies. If someone takes the time to point out all the various ways in which he's wrong, as David Ellis and D have done in this thread and others have done elsewhere, Houx ignores them, and proceeds to spam the thread with regurgitations from his favorite creationism sources. He has done this over and over.

Just two examples:

http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2007/02/unconvincing-arguments.html

http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2007/02/is-there-historical-evidence-for.html

Every thread where he engages in these antics inevitably tails off into incoherence. Meaningful exchange between theists and atheists on subjects like cosmology becomes impossible once he enters the fray. When is enough enough?

Michael Houx said...

Hey benny why don't you explain that cyclic universe model to me.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Michael,
that is an impressive list of names. Did Zweerink, Rogstad or Rana publish anything about the list of topics in your post At 8:05 PM, May 18, 2007, or At 2:53 PM, May 16, 2007, in those scientific journals and assert it must be the work of a god?

If so, I'd like to look them up.

This question of design bothers me. It is simply begging the question to say that design infers a creator, when you don't know that the universe has been designed at all.

You have assumed the universe has been designed, must have been designed and have included design in your definition of it but may not have been designed at all.

Are you familiar with chaos theory? Now some real scholars out there can reality check me on this, but in chaos theory random events in a closed system will create patterns. This has to do with the properties and the limited number of options that they have at random behavior. They can only be random within the tolerances of their properties.

This is a type of randomness within parameters, is well documented and is a characterstic of biological processes like gene mutation. This is not design, however It could be interpreted as design by those that don't know about the effects predicted by chaos theory.

Not being able to factor in all possible variables in weather prevents weather from being predicted accurately. This is a lack of knowledge, it is called the butterfly effect. It is not gods handy work, and neither is the universe unless you can show that the intent was design, and that there is something capable of designing it.

That is where the sticking point is, showing it is design and not natural and showing that there is something capable of doing it.

these are the questions I am interested in from you and Hughs organization, not lists of sixty or so items that could be explained by natural processes. That doesn't get us anywhere but back to the beginning.

We are stuck at the presumption of design, and the presumption of the designer. These are the hypotheses that need backing.

using ockhams razor, what we can see and experience and are limited to experiencing by measurment and testing suggests that there is no outside influence. Adding a supernatural being adds more complexity to the problem which prevents it from being the optimal choice when using ockhams razor.

So Michael, you have to show contradictory evidence to weaken the naturalistic explanations, or undeniable proof that the universe was designed.

Then you have to do the same thing for the designer.

Benny said...

calvin/Houx,

What would you like to know?

Michael Houx said...

Is it the Steinhart model?

Michael Houx said...

Lee, I've already explained that the first cause has no cause.

Would you like for me to list the design characteristics of the universe?

Michael Houx said...

The universe is an effect that requires a transcendent cause. None of that evidence can be explained by natural causes. It's impossible.

Michael Houx said...

Lee,

In 1970 Steven Hawking and Roger Penrose proved a new theorem: If the equtions of general relativity reliably describe the dynamics of the universe, and the universe contains mass, then our space-time dimensions must have originated concurrently with matter and energy. General relativity has now been confirmed to 99.99999999999 percent. In Roger Penrose words Einstein's general Relativity is the most accurately tested theory known to science. General Relativity is the most exhaustively tested principle in physics. General Relativity has been established beyond reasonable doubt. The space-time theorem can be trusted. It establishes a singular origen of matter, space, and time and that the act, or cause, of the universe arises from some context independent of the space-time dimensions of our universe.

Steven Hawking and Roger Penrose, "The Singularities of Gravitational Collapse and Cosmology," Proceedings of the Royal Society of London series A, 314(1970): 529-48.

Lee Randolph said...

HI Michael,
I am assuming that you concede the fact that the universe is not necessarily designed and that natural processes are sufficient for its appearance.

You are ignoring the fact that since then someone (Hawking?) has shown a model that predicts that the big bang was a result of an ongoing natural process of expansion and contraction.

That gets us to initial conditions for where did the universe come from and how did the process start.

I believe this is an important question.

but we are still at this point with that premise: you have to show contradictory evidence to weaken the naturalistic explanations, or sound evidence that god exists.

then you have to show that it is the god you want it to be and not the hindu gods for example.

Michael Houx said...

Lee,

What are you talking about? There's no ongoing expansion and contraction.

Benny said...

calvin/Houx,

Steinhardt-Turok isn't the only cyclic universe model. There's also the Baum-Frampton model. You have evidence the disproves both models? Show us, publish it! There's a Nobel waiting for you!

John W. Loftus said...

Houx, you don't seem to interact much at all with people who ask you questions. If you continue to post stuff without interacting with these questions you will be banned. At the minimum all future posts of yours will be deleted.

Now, to answer your question see here

Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

Michael:
If you have answered the following, please let me know the date of the post. If you are Calvin, I have asked you this in the past without receiving an answer, so I'll try again.

Granting for the moment that your sources have proven the 'evidence of design' -- which I am agnostic on but tend to doubt -- you have also said that this demonstrates a 'personal' (i.e., a theistic) diety. Where is this shown?

Then show me how your arguments prove that this 'personal' diety has as the (or a) 'focus' of his creation the inhabitants of this planet, rather than some intelligent race elsewhere.

Then show me how your evidence proves that this diety -- if we are not merely a by-product of his creation process -- has 'revealed himself' to us already, rather than waiting until some future time when we'd reached an ability to communicate and swtore communications that would make sure his message has been revealed.

Once you have shown all of this, THEN show me why there is any likelihood that this diety has any relation to the Christian God, rather than being some other diety that other humans propose in the role (such as Allah, YHWH, Ahura Mazda, or part of various pantheons that have been suggested).

Michael Houx said...

John what's your quesrtion? Why don't you ask one and explain what you mean. I'm trying to understand the question. You seem to want to avoid interacting with me.

Benny explain to me the physical mechinism of the bounce of the contraction.

Michael Houx said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Michael Houx said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
John W. Loftus said...

Houx, you're not banned, but until you start interacting with people in a give and take exchange, you are wasting your time. Otherwise all subsequent comments of yours will be deleted.

I provided several questions in the Blog Entry here, and I just provided a link to answer another question of yours. Interact, or don't bother commenting.

Benny said...

calvin/Houx,

Tada!

http://www.physics.princeton.edu/~steinh/cyclicFAQS/index.html#sing

I'd still like to see the evidence you used to form your statement "There's no ongoing expansion and contraction."

live-n-grace said...

I wonder why everyone is ignoring the speed of light slowing down?
hmm...

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=39733

Michael Houx said...

benny,

This model is based on string theory which is high speculation. It also brings in strange alternative physics (negative pressure). It's speculation on hidden physics of a potentiel energy term. The mechanism doesn't exist.

An infinite number of days has no end.
But today is the end day of history.
Therefore, there were not an infinite number of days before today. (time had a beginning).

The prediction of the standard big bang model of a singular begining has been confirmed with overwhelming eperical support and is philosophically coherent. It's beyond reasonable doubt. Now, you're free to speculate in that area of doubt all you want to. But there can be little doubt to where the evidence points.

Whatever comes to be has a cause
Our universe came to be
Therefore the universe has a cause.

Michael Houx said...

benny,

Also, the cosmological constant establishes that the universe will expand forever.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi all,
we can debate which theory is right about the universe until the experts settle on one.

In my view the only really important questions are, why does any of them point to a god (other than "because it has to") and where is the sound evidence to show the existence of a god.

This is about the sixth time I posted this question. Three times here and three times in the Chris Hallquist debate article.

I would think with the degree of certainty that christians exhibit, this would be an easy question to answer.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Michael, LIG,
what I'm looking for is a correlation between god and the creation of anything.
an example is that we can infer fire when we see smoke because there is a verifiable correlation between the two. This justifies the conclusion that it is reasonable to assume fire when there is smoke.

anything like that to go with your favorite cosmological theory?

live-n-grace said...

Lee, just take a look at everything in the universe. It displays God's glory. The whole earth is filled with his glory.

Michael Houx said...

Lee,

Since we have established beyond reasonable doubt a first transcendent uncaused cause of the universe we move to the fine tuning of the universe for life to be possible. One example of fine tuning is the cosmological constant wich must be fine-tuned to one part in 10 to the 120. The best example of engineering design is a gravity wave telescope capable of making measurements to within one part in 10 to the 23. This shows that the CAUSAL AGENT is at a minimum ten trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion times more intelligent, creative and powerful than human beings. The evidence for design has become a hundred million trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion times stronger. The degree of fine-tuning is so extreme that it forces an intelligent designer as the first uncaused cause.

Other Fine-Tuning charecteristcs for life in the universe

Strong nuclear force constant
Weak nuclear force constant
Gravitational force constant
Electromagnetic force constant
Ratio of electromagnetic force constant to gravitational force constant
Ratio of proton to electron mass
Ratio of number of protons to number of electrons
Ratio of proton to electron charge
Expansion rate of the universe
Mass density of the universe
Baryon (proton and neutron) density of the universe
Space energy or dark energy density of the universe
Ratio of space energy density to mass density
Entropy level of the universe
Velosity of light
Age of the universe
Uniformity of radiation
Homogeneity of the universe
Average distance between galaxies
Average distance between galaxy clusters
Average distance between stars
Average size and distribution of galaxy clusters
Number, sizes, and locations of cosmic voids
Electromagnetic fine structure constant
Gravitational fine structure constant
Decay rate of protons
Ground state energy level for helium-4
Carbon-12 to oxygen-16 nuclear energy level ratio
Decay rate for beryllium-8
Ratio of neutron mass to proton mass
Initial excess of nucleons over antinucleons
Polarity of the water molecule
Epoch for hypernova eruptions
Number and types of supernovo eruptions
Epoch for white dwarf binaries
Density of white dwarf binaries
Ratio of exotic matter to ordinary matter
Number of effective dimensions in the early universe
Number of effective dimensions in the present universe
Mass values for the active neutrinos
Number of different species of active neutrinos
Number of active neutrinos in the universe
Mass value for the sterile neutrino
Number of sterile neutrinos in the universe
Decay rates of exotic mass particles
Magnitude of the temperature ripples in cosmic background radiation
Size of the relativistic dilation factor
Magnitude of the Heisenberg uncertainty
Quantity of gas deposited into the the deep intergalactic medium by the first supernovae
Positive nature of cosmic pressures
Positive nature of cosmic energy densities
Density of quasars
Decay rate of cold dark matrter particles
Relative abundances of different exotic mass particles
Degree to which exotic matter self interacts
Epoch at which the first stars begin to form
Epoch at which the first stars cease to form
Number density of metal-free pop III stars
Epoch for the formation of the first galaxies
Epoch for the formation of the first quasars
Amount, rate, and epoch of decay of ebedded defects
Ratio of warm exotic matter density to cold exotic matter density
Ratio of hot exotic matter density to cold exotic matter density
Level of quantization of the cosmic spacetime fabric
Flatness of universe's geometry
Average rate of increase in galaxy sizes
Change in average rate or increase in galaxy sizes throughout cosmic history
Constancy of dark energy factors
Epoch for star formation peak
Location of exotic matter relative to ordinary matter
Strength of primordial magnetohydrodynamic turbulence
Level of charge-parity violation
Number of galaxies in the observable universe
Polarization level of the cosmic background radiation
Date for completion of second reionization event of the universe
Date of subsistence of gamma-ray burst production
Relative density of intermediate mass stars in the early history of the universe
Water's temperature of maximum density
Water's heat of fussion
Waters heat of vaporization
Number density of clumpuscules
Average mass of clumpuscules
Location of clumpuscules in the universe
Dioxygen's kinetic oxidation rate of organic molecules
Level of paramagnetic behavior in dioxygen
Density of ultra-dwarf galaxies in the middle aged universe
Degree of space-time warping and twisting by general relativistic factors
Percentage of the initial mass function of the universe made up of intermediate mass stars
Strength of the cosmic primordial magnetic field.

Evidence for the fine-tuning of the Galaxy-Sun-Earth-Moon system for life support

Galaxy cluster type
galaxy size
galaxy type
galaxy location
supernovae eruptions
white dwarf binaries
proximity of solar nebula to a supernova eruptiontiming of solar nebula formation relative to supernova eruption
parent star distence from center of galaxy
parent star distance from closest spiral arm
z-axis heights of stars orbit
number of stars in the planetary system
parent star birthdate
parent star age
parent star mass
parent star metallicity
parent star color
H3+production
parent star luminosity relative to speciation
surface gravity (escape velocity
distance from parent star
inclination of orbit
orbital eccentricity
axial tilt
rate of change of axial tilt
rotation period
rate of change in rotation period
planet age
magnetic field
thikness of crust
albedo
asteroidal and cometary collision rate
mass of body colliding with primordial Earth
timing of body colliding with primordial Earth
collision location of body colliding with primordial earth
oxygen to nitrogen ratio in atmosphere
carbon dioxide level in atmosphere
watervapor level in atmosphere
atmospheric electric discharge rate
ozone level in atmosphere
oxygen quantity in atmosphere
seismic activity
volcanic activity
rate of decline in volcanic activity
rate of decline in techtonic activity
oceans to continents ratio
rate of change in oceans-to-continents ratio
globular distribution of continents
frequency and extent of ice ages
soil mineralization
gravitational interaction with moon
jupiter distance
jupiter mass
drift in major planet distances
major planet eccentricities
major planet orbital instabilities
atmospherict pressure
atmospheric transparentcy
chlorine quantity in atmosphere
iron quantity in oceans and soils
tropospheric ozone quantity
stratospheric ozone quantity
mesospheric ozone quantity
quantity and extent of forest and grass fires
quantity of soil sulfur
biomass to comet infall ratio

Calculating the probability that a randomly selected planet in our universe will possess the capacity to support physical life. A very conservative estimate. Physicists tell us that when the probabilities of something reach 10 to the 100 we can conclude that it is a practical impossibility.

local abundance and distribution of dark matter .1
galaxy cluster size .1
galaxy cluster location .1
galaxy size .1
galaxy type .1
galaxy location .1
variability of local dwarf galaxy absorption rate .1
star location relative to galactic center .2
star distance from corotation circle of galaxy .005
star distence from closest spiral arm .1
z-axis extremes of stars orbit .02
proximity of solar nebula to a supernova eruption .01
timing of solar nebula formation relative to supernova eruption .01
number of stars in system .7
number and timing of close encounters by nearby stars .01
proximity of close stellar encounters .1
star birth date .2
star age .4
star metallicity .05
star orbital eccentricity .05
star mass .001
star luminosity change relative to speciation types and rates .00001
star color .4
stars carbon to oxygen ratio .01
stars space velocity relative to local standard of rest .05
stars short term luminosity variability .05
stars long term luminosity variability .05
number and timing of solar system encounters with interstellar gas clouds .1
H3+ production .1
supernovae rates & locations .01
white dwarf binary types, rates, & locations .01
planetary distance from star .001
inclination of planetary orbit .5
axis tilt of planet .01
rate of change of axis tilt .01
period and size of axis tilt variation .1
planetary rotation period .1
rate of change in planetary rotation period .05
planet orbit eccentricity .3
rate of change of planetary orbital eccentricity .1
rate of change of planetary inclination .5
period and size of eccentricity variation .1
period and size of inclination variation .1
number of moons .2
mass and distance of moon .01
surface gravity .001
tidal force from sun and moon .1
magnetic field .01
rate of change & character of change in magnetic field .1
albedo .1
density .1
thickness of crust .01
oceans-to-continents ratio .2
global distribution of continents .3
frequency, timing, & extent of ice ages .1
frequency, timing, & extent of global snowball events .1
asteroidal & cometary collision rates .1
mass of body colliding with primordial Earth .002
timing of body colliding with primordial earth .002
timing of body colliding with primordial earth .05
position and mass of jupiter relative to earth .01
major planet eccentricities .1
major planet orbital instabilities .05
drift and rate of drift in major planet distances .05
number and distribution of planets .01
atmospheric transparency .01
atmospheric pressure .01
atmospheric viscosity .1
atmospheric electric discharge rate .01
atmospheric temperature gradient .01
carbon dioxide level in atmosphere .01
rate of change in caqrbon dioxide level in atmosphere .1
rate of change in water vapor level in atmosphere .01
rate of change in methane level in early atmosphere .01
oxygen quantity in atmosphere .01
chlorine quantity in atmosphere .1
cobalt quantity in crust .1
arsenic quantity in crust .1
copper quantity in crust .1
boron quantity in crust .1
fluorine quantity in crust .1
iodine quantity in crust .1
manganese quantity in crust .1
nickel quantity in crust .1
phosphorus quantity in crust .1
tin quantity in crust .1
zinc quantity in crust .1
molybdenum quantity in crust .05
vanadium quantity in crust .1
cromium quantity in crust .1
selenium quantity in crust .1
iron quantity in oceans .1
tropospheric ozone quantity .1
stratospheric ozone quantity .01
mesospheric ozone quantity .01
water level vapor in atmosphere .01
oxygen to nitrogen ratio in atmosphere .1
quantity of greenhouse gases in atmosphere .01
quantity of forest and grass fires .01
Quantity of sea salt aerosols .1
soil mineralization .1
quantity of anaerobic bacteria in the oceans .01
quantity of aerobic bacteria in the oceans .01
quantity of decomposer bacyeria in the soil .01
quantity of mycorrhizal fungi in the soil .01
quantity of nitrifying microbes in the soil .01
quantity and timing of vascular plant introduction
quantity, timing, and placement of methanogens .00001
quantity of soil sulfur .1
quantity of sulfur in planets core .1
quantity of silicon in planets core .1
quantity of water at subduction zones in the crust .01
hydration rate of subducted minerals .1
tectonic activity .05
rate of decline in tectonic activity .1
volcanic activity .1
rate of decline in volcanic activity .1
viscosity at earth core boundaries .01
viscosity at lithosphere
biomass to comet infall ratio .01
regularity of cometary infal .1
number, intensity, & location of hurricanes .02

dependency factors estimate 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000

longevity requirements estimate .0000001

Probability for occurance of all 128 parameters = 10-166
Maximum possible number of planets in universe = 10 to 22
Thus, less than 1 chance in 10 to the 144 exists that one such planet should be found.

As time goes on the evidence for a "Superior Reasoning Power" will grow stronger and atheists will continue to rely on gaps in our knowledge to come up with strange alternatives to try and get arround the scientific facts.

Lee Randolph said...

HI LIG, Michael,
I'm going to move on to something else after this post.

What you guys are missing is the general principle that links your data to your claim.

God exists because the universe displays his glory and the whole earth is filled with his glory.
C: God Exists
P: the universe displays his glory
P: the whole earth is filled with his glory
Data: list of items that are perceived to be "Glorious"
Warrant: is that glorious things are an indicator of god.

Theres not a lot there to work with. What is glorious? And why is it an indicator of God? You have no way of showing that god is the only way for the universe and us to get this way.

God exists because the Universe is fine tuned for us.
C: God exists
P: because the universe is fine tuned for us.
Data: list of items that are perceived to be fine tuned.
Warrant: Since we exist in a universe that exhibits these properties, then these properties were designed for us.

You have defined the universe as "fine tuned". Your argument is circular in that it depends on a God that hasn't been shown to exist and you have defined properties as fine tuned when the definition depends on the presumption of a God.

How is it that this fine tuned universe is so inefficient when it comes to making stars and planets and such? All those big gas clouds out there could potentially make many more stars and planets than they do, but they don't because of inefficient processes.

Your immune system is the same way. Some diseases are the result of the Immune System attacking its own body. This is gods handy work? I think it is silly to claim that a perfect being capable of anything doesn't make processes as efficient as possible.

As I stated before, it is a confusion of cause and correlation to say that the universe is fine tuned. The General principles we are using to link our data to our claims are, as we discussed earlier, are a mechanism for the appearance of structure and pattern can be explained by theories about chaos and as Benny discussed earlier, mathematical proofs show that it is just as likely that the universe is in involved in a process of "Big Bang"ing and "Big Crunch"ing. The missing information is how did it start. To latch onto a god as an explanation would be fine if you could point to some verifiable data that god exists.

This confusion of cause and correlation is the same thing that makes the Virgin Mary pop up on the side of a bridge in a mildew stain.

To pick one explanation out of two equally good ones because you are fond of it is called bias. When you can't show any general principle that links your data to your claim then your data doesn't support your claim.

We may not be right, but at least we can make a proper argument.

I highly suggest you read Stephen Toulmins "Introduction to Reasoning" for some practice in constructing your arguments. You can find it on amazon.com. I bought mine used.

live-n-grace said...

There is nothing to argue. Either God created the heavens and the earth or all that we see today happaned to come together all by themselves. Those are the only two possiblities and all of this coming from nothing and by chance, to me, isn't even fathomable.

"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

Michael Houx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Houx said...

Lets summarize where we are at.

The principle of causality is self-evident. When someone tries to argue against that principle they have to assume it. They try to present evidence (cause) to convince others that it doesn't exist (effect). Indeed, to deny the priciple of causality is to deny rationality itself. The very process of rational thinking requires us to put together thoughts (the causes) that result in conclusions (the effects). So, if anybody says they don't believe in the principle of causality simply ask them "What CAUSED you to come to that conclusion? For this reason it is self-defeating. A cause is something that brings about the effect. An effect is something that has been caused by something else. If something can be shown to be an effect, then as an effect it requires a cause.

Every effect has a cause.
The coming into existence of our universe is an effect.
Therefore, our universe has a cause.
Since cause and effect operate within time and
since the cause transcends our one dimension of time then it must be in at LEAST two dimensions of time. In two dimensions of time there are an infinite number of timelines that run in an infinite number of directions. So, the first cause has no beginning and no end. It is the first uncaused cause.
Then we observed the effect and discovered that the cause must be incredibly intelligent. We see a caring creator in that He fine-tuned the universe in order for phisical life to be possible. We also see a creator who is dangerous and powerful with His judgements working in harmonious balance with each other.

Benny said...

LIG sez,

I wonder why everyone is ignoring the speed of light slowing down?

Maybe because it's not happening?

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/hovind/howgood-add.html#A6

Please, try reading some real science for a change.

Benny said...

calvin/Houx,

The mechanism doesn't exist.

Yet again, assertion without proof. I asked for evidence, not speculation and base-less assertion. Why are you ignoring my question?

The prediction of the standard big bang model of a singular begining has been confirmed with overwhelming eperical support and is philosophically coherent.

That's great, except Big Bang makes no claims that the beginning of the current universe was an *absolute* beginning. The theory makes no claims about what happened prior to the beginning of the current universe. Big Bang is wholly compatible with a cyclic universe.

Also, the cosmological constant establishes that the universe will expand forever.

Nope. Whether our universe will expand forever or eventually contract is still an open question in science. Anyone who tells you the question is already settled is lying to you. Who told you the cosmological constant establishes that the universe will expand forever? Tell us who's been lying to you.

Physicists tell us that when the probabilities of something reach 10 to the 100 we can conclude that it is a practical impossibility.


Please cite your source.

It's funny how you threw together a bunch of small numbers and then pretend that because the product is so small, you've somehow "proved" that the universe did not come about naturally (nevermind that you still never established how to get from here to your christian god). I'm sick and tired of debunking the same arguments from you over and over, so from now on, every time you regurgitate the same argument, I'll just link to the same page. Here's one for your fine-tuning "argument":

http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CI/CI301.html

For your lame version of the argument from first cause:

http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CI/CI200.html

IIRC, Mr. Loftus asked you to interact with us. I asked you for evidence that disproves a cyclic universe, and you failed to supply any. Would you care to try again?

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Malvin,
You really know how get my attention. Laying your argument out like that was too tempting to let go. I'm no expert in cosmology, but I know a bad argument when I see one.

Premise: Every effect has a cause.
Premise: The coming into existence of our universe is an effect.
Conclusion: Therefore, our universe has a cause.

Warrant: Since cause and effect operate within time and
since the cause transcends our one dimension of time then it must be in at LEAST two dimensions of time.


I doubt your Warrant. The warrant is the principle which supports your conclusion.

In two dimensions of time there are an infinite number of timelines that run in an infinite number of directions.

I am still waiting for this proof from you to be published in Nature.

So, the first cause has no beginning and no end. It is the first uncaused cause.
And since this principle only exists in your head, and has not been peer reviewed, I doubt this too.

Then we observed the effect and discovered that the cause must be incredibly intelligent.

Hold on now, don't speak for me, its all you brother. You
…see a caring creator in that He fine-tuned the universe in order for phisical life to be possible.

And You...also see a creator who is dangerous and powerful with His judgements working in harmonious balance with each other.

Another thing I didn't think i had to point out is that a sound argument is backed by principles that are generally accepted to be true or typically not disputed.

Your modal qualifier for your conclusion can only get as strong as a "Maybe" on a good day.

as in the following.
PREMISE: yada yada
PREMISE: yada yada
WARRANT: time..two..directions..yada
CONCLUSION: "MAYBE" god is the ...yada... cause
;-)