The late astronomer Fred Hoyle (who coined the term “Big Bang”) said his atheism was “greatly shaken” by these developments. The late Christopher Hitchens, one of atheism’s strongest proponents, conceded that this argument was “the most powerful argument of the other side”.
What were they talking about?
Take a look at this short 5 minute video to find out:
This video is a summary of an article entitled ‘Science increasingly makes the case for God‘, written by the author of the video, Eric Metaxas, which appeared in the Wall St Journal last year.
Here are 3 Reflections on this issue of Science and Atheism:
1) The Case Against Atheism has Grown Stronger, Not Weaker, as Science has Progressed.
The interesting thing about the above video is that it shows how an accidental beginning to the universe is looking less probable, the more that science has progressed. In other words, this case against a key tenant of Atheism (i.e. that the universe is here merely by accident) is not some ‘God of the gaps’ argument, where our knowledge is very lacking: rather, it’s a case of modern science showing us just how improbable an accidental universe (and thus Atheism) really is.
Indeed, science is at the point where to believe in an accidental beginning to our universe is a very large leap of faith, against astronomical odds, i.e. the odds of tossing a coin 10 quintillion times (i.e. 10 with 18 zeros’s after it), and expecting it to come up as ‘heads’ every single time. That just defies rationality.
2) From One Leap of Faith to Another.
Many an Atheist Scientist readily admits that the universe does appear to be fine tuned. For example, Sir Martin Rees, an eminent astronomer and a former head of the Royal Society in the UK, wrote a book entitled ‘Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces That Shape The Universe‘. In his book he outlines the same thing that Metaxas does in the above video: that these forces are so finely ‘tuned’, that even the most minutest change would have made the universe’s existence impossible.
However, he doesn’t merely believe that our universe just happened by accident: presumably that would be too much of a leap of faith. Instead, he opts for another leap of faith: the notion of parallel universes.
Interestingly enough, there is no scientific evidence for parallel universes: it’s nothing more than a leap of faith: a mere guess at why we exist, in light of the astronomical odds stacked against us.
Now let’s be clear: people are allowed to believe in whatever leap of faith they want to believe in. However, we must be clear that such a leap of faith is not science: the last time I checked, having a completely evidence-less hypothesis does not qualify as scientific fact.
3) No Intelligence Allowed: The Closing of The Atheistic Mind.
When coming face to face with the apparent design of our universe, it surprises me that eminent (Atheist) scientists instinctively take a leap of faith and believe in parallel universes, rather than even admit the possibility that we are designed to be here. After all, we are all familiar with intelligent beings that design complex systems: us!
And yet, when it comes to something so sophisticated and mind boggling as the existence of the universe (and the very apparent design that it contains), many an Atheist would not even allow an explanation that involved some form of Divine Intelligence designing our universe.
But why is that? Why can’t they admit that maybe, just maybe, we were designed to be here by a higher power: that apparent design is due to actual design? Surely that’s a much more feasible answer than the wild guess of parallel universes?
One of the most intellectually honest answers to this question comes from Harvard Genetics Professor Richard Lewontin, himself an Atheist, in an article he wrote for the New York Review of Books:
‘[W]e have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.’ (emphasis added).
In other words, even if God turned up on Lewontin’s doorstep, and shook Lewontin’s hand, then Lewontin would not be willing to admit God’s existence, because Lewontin has already closed his mind off to even the possibility of God’s existence.
That doesn’t sound very scientific.
Note carefully: the closing of his mind to God’s existence isn’t a result of scientific enquiry: it’s a philosophical belief. It’s a faith commitment, not a scientific conclusion. This faith commitment leads to un-provable evidence-less claims like parallel universes, which have as much scientific evidence for their existence as fairies do.
Lest I be misunderstood, to make Atheism less probable through the above scientific evidence does not in and of itself make Christianity (or any other particular religion) more probable: much more evidence is required for such a claim.
However, the aim of the above video, and this blog post, is much more modest: merely to show that scientifically speaking, it is no longer rational to believe that our universe appeared out of nowhere, by mere chance: the probabilities of that happening render such a view a wild leap of faith of astronomical proportions.
And, as a Christian, I for one cannot hold to such wild leaps of faith.
Photo: Dollarphoto club.