Entropy and causality used as a proof for God's existence

by Matt Slick

The second law of thermodynamics states that the amount of energy in a system that is available to do work is decreasing.  Entropy increases as available energy decreases.  In other words, the purely natural tendency of things is to move toward chaos, not order, and available energy necessary for work is lost (mostly as heat) in this process.  Eventually, the universe will run down and all life and motion will cease.  This is the natural tendency of all things.  Batteries run down, machines break, buildings crumble, roads decay, living things die, etc.  Left to the natural state, all things would eventually cease to function.

  1. The universe is not infinitely old because it has not "run down."
    1. If the universe were infinitely old, it would have reached a state where all usable energy was gone.
    2. But, we are not in this state; therefore, the universe is not infinitely old and must have had a beginning.
  2. Because the universe had a beginning, it is not infinite in size.
    1. It would require an infinite amount of time to become infinite in size.  Since the universe had a beginning, it has not had an infinite amount of time to expand; therefore, it is finite in size.
  3. All events have causes.
    1. There cannot be an infinite regress of events because that would mean the universe were infinitely old.
      1. We've already established that the universe cannot be infinitely old.
      2. If it were infinitely old, the universe would be in a state of unusable energy, which it is not.
      3. If it were infinitely old, the universe would be infinitely large, which it is not.
  4. Since the universe is finite and had a beginning, and there cannot be an infinite number of regressions of causes to bring it into existence, there must be a single uncaused cause of the universe.
    1. A single uncaused cause of the universe must be greater in size and duration than the universe it has brought into existence.
      1. Otherwise, we have the uncaused cause bringing into existence something greater than, or equal to, itself.
    2. Any cause that is natural to the universe is part of the universe.
      1. An event that is part of the universe cannot cause itself to exist.
      2. Therefore, there must be an uncaused cause outside the universe.
    3. An uncaused cause cannot be a natural part of the universe, which is finite.
      1. An uncaused cause would be infinite in both space and time since it is greater than which it has caused to exist.
    4. An uncaused cause would be separate from the universe.
      1. Being separate from the universe, which was caused to be, it would not be subject to the laws of the universe since it existed independent of the universe and its laws.
      2. This would mean that entropy need not be required of the uncaused cause.
  5. This uncaused cause is supernatural.
    1. By supernatural, it is meant completely 'other' than the universe and is not the product of it.
      1. This uncaused cause must be incredibly powerful to bring the universe into existence.
  6. The Bible teaches that God is uncaused, is not part of the universe, created the universe, and is incredibly powerful.
    1. God's existence (in Christianity) is not an event, but a state.
    2. Psalm 90:2 says that God is God without a beginning.
    3. This means that God is uncaused.
  7. Therefore, the God of the Bible is the uncaused cause of the universe.

 

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One could point out dozens of things wrong with this supposed "proof". I will attempt no more than 3.

 

6. The Koran teaches blahze blahze.

7. Therefore, the god of the Koran is the blahze blahze.

 

6. The Book of the Flying Spaghetti Monster teaches blahze blahze.

7. Therefore, the Flying Spaghetti Monster is the blahze blahze.

 

Both of these are simple variations on the theme, "I don't know where the universe came from, so I can believe whatever I want about where it came from and you can't prove me (right or) wrong."

 

4.4.1. If I surmise that something which is supernatural/beyond this universe is not bound by any notion of reason, logic, or natural possibility, I can introduce any irrational, illogical, or naturally improbable explanation for the natural world and again, you can't prove me (right or) wrong.

 

I just took the shortest possible rebuttals, there are plenty of others but they take longer.

It's the same stuff that's been refuted a million ways before. Reworded, repackaged and made to sound "sciencey" to the credulous.

 

aka...

Baffle them with bullshit.

I am reading the book ~ "Sense and Goodness without God: A defence of metaphysical naturalism" by Richard Carrier; {http://www.amazon.com/Sense-Goodness-Without-God-Metaphysical/dp/14...}

 

I am finding it to be a fascinating read, and a it is tale of Carrier’s quest to find the truth about the universe, and his philosophical position as a result. He tells his readers that we are usually dealing with degrees of probability, from almost certain, to much lesser degrees of certainty. The book is suited to any person with a college or university reading ability. I highly recommend it.

 

In it he gives a couple of models for how the universe began, and how these are somewhat conjectural, yet they do not contradict any known laws of science. One of these theories has been espoused by Lee Smolin, in which new universes bud off out of pre-existing ones. In this way, it is possible for a universe to always have existed. The process is likened to evolution, in which every universe has a parent. A sibling universe evolves into a new one. Carrier tells us that the universe as we know it is replete with black holes. He says that rather than being hospitable and apparently designed for life, this plethora of black holes makes it seem as though the universe is most hospitable to the formation of black holes.

 

The theory which Carrier recounts, and based on Smolin's ideas, conjectures that black holes are the spawning of new universes. Thus as astronomers look at black holes, they are really looking at new or potentially new universes. This account made me think of a couple of things, which I now present as non-scientific, but as ideas which IF TRUE would be interesting and might resolve some issues . . .

 

The model of spawning universes reminded me of the Mandelbrot set. A video which illustrates this is “The Secret Life of Chaos”, presented by physics Professor Jim Al-Khalili to be found at: http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/secret-life-chaos/

 

I also recommend this video very highly, as it points the way to answering the question of how life may have begun, and then evolved on earth. At about the 43 minute mark in this video, we are shown a fly-in zoom of the Mandelbrot set. As one zooms into a pictorial representation of the Mandelbrot set, we see the same elements appearing again and again. There is seemingly no end to the depth to which one can go, and no end to the ever appearing repetition of familiar shapes, surrounded by exquisite swirls of subsidiary shapes. As a still image it is difficult to show, but as a movie, it is marvellous. These images may give some idea of the set, illustrated in still captures: http://www.google.com.au/search?tbm=isch&rlz=1B3GGLL_en-GBAU411AU412&hl=en&source=hp&biw=1024&bih=608&q=mandelbrot+set&btnG=Search+Images&gbv=2&aq=f&aqi=g10&aql=...=

 

& for example:

Notice in the animated gif above how the brown bits are close copies of the other brown bits. In the movie, which is part of Jim Al-Khalili’s presentation, one has the impression after a while, that you have lost track of how deep into the picture you are. It proceeds without apparent limit, zooming in, and proceeds without apparent limit, zooming out. All this is based on the simple mathematical relation z <=> z2 c

 

I imagine universes as being analogous to the brown bits in the .GIF image above. Each brown patch could be a black hole. In our universe we can detect black holes, but can’t see into them. We originated as a black hole, at the Big Bang, but can’t see back into our parent universe.

 

A problem occurred to me in relation to this. How can this model reconcile the laws of thermodynamics, as the Matt Slick article intimates is impossible. It occurred to me: “What if this model of offspring universes behaves like Einstein’s Theory of Relativity?” We know that when one frame of reference moves relative to another, that there is a difference in the rate of passage of time between the two, and a change in the physical dimensions of objects, as seen from the other frame of reference. For example, when a rocket is speeding away from earth, time on that rocket slows down, and objects seem shrunken in the direction of travel, as observed from earth. Yet to an astronaut travelling within the space craft, time and lengths seem normal.

 

So different frames of reference seem different from without, and unchanged from within. Could, it be the same for spawned universes? Could black holes be the embryonic universes, which to us ought to have only a portion of the matter and energy derived from this universe, but to anything within that new universe, the matter and energy seem just as they do to us in our universe? If absolutely everything in the new universe were scaled down in some set of ratios, then the effect might not be detectable from within, just as changes in time and physical dimensions seem different as we observe a moving frame of reference such as a space craft, but from within, there is no change in the laws of physics, and no change in the passage of time nor physical dimensions.

 

Time appears to begin all over again, the new universe undergoes a new bang, and so it evolves.

 

All this is pure conjecture on my part, but it does offer possibilities which might counter what Matt Slick says. Maybe he is just arguing from ignorance – and quite possibly so am I.

Problem with 3. All events have causes. Also with 3.1. There cannot be an infinite regress of events. Also with 4.1.  A single uncaused cause of the universe must be greater in size and duration than the universe it has brought into existence. Also 4.2.1. An event that is part of the universe cannot cause itself to exist.

 

3. False. According to current theory, the beginning of the universe was causeless. It simply happened when the conditions were right for it to happen. The trouble is conceptualizing the causeless beginning in language, which must resort to temporal expressions to relate a non-temporal, causeless event.

 

3.1 False dichotomy. The statement presumes that either there is a first cause or an infinite regress. As the rebuttal of statement 3 shows, there is a third "neither" option.

 

4.1 Non sequitur (also totally false and way off the deep end). The universe is expanding. Trace the expansion and one arrives at singularity, or near enough to it. The first event was the universe, not that which made the universe happen. It was the universe happening at an infinitessimal size, almost infinitely small. Even if we are to take the "uncaused cause" statement as given, there is not a single valid reason that such an uncaused cause must be larger in size and duration than the universe. A pebble rolls down a hill and causes an avalanche. A steady small stream of water carves a great canyon. The world, let alone the universe, is replete with examples of smaller causes, shorter in duration than their results.

 

4.2.1. False premise. The whole line of reasoning of this argument, which is I think proomulgated by William Lane Craig, pretends to be Einstein-Hawking, but actually uses the terms and thinking of the Newtonian model. This is the reason that the argument focuses on causes. Modern science, including cosmological physics, relies primarily on statistical and probabilistic models, not on linear causal chains. Thus, scientists these days would not really talk about the single cause for much of anything. Instead, they would discuss the multiple factors that lead to a certain likelihood of an event's occurrence. As Hawking, Mlodinov, Krauss, and others have shown, the universe began not from a single cause, but because the probability for its existence was high.

 

One can go on like this, but at this point the whole thing just collapses. It is based on very old arguments, redressed to look all moderny. By statements 6 & 7, it's rabbit out of a hat time, just a verbal conjuring trick as old as they come.

#2 assumes that the universe began from a finite size. It has not been established that a finite beginning must start with a finite size.

 

#3.1 is incorrect. An infinite number of regresses is not the same thing as an infinitely old universe. I am not infinitely old even if I have an infinite number of ancestors.

 

#4 ignores the possibility that the universe itself is the "uncaused cause."

 

#4.1 assumes that something cannot create something else of equal or greater size or duration. This has not been established.

 

#4.2 again assumes that the universe is not an "uncaused cause" by applying the rules that we currently understand within the universe and applying them to the universe itself. It is not established whether the universe itself follows the rules of that which lies within it, nor is it established that something outside of the universe is exempt from those rules.

 

#4.3 again assumes that something must be greater in size and duration than what it creates. Even if this was established, the cause need not be infinite. It could be simply a little larger and longer (though still finite) than the universe, which has been established to be finite.

 

#4.4.2 assumes that the laws of entropy are dependent on the universe. Interestingly, if we argue that something outside the universe is exempt from laws as we know them, then what's to say it must follow the size/duration requirements as assumed in #4.1 and #4.3?

 

#5.1.1 assumes that a cause to the universe must be "incredibly powerful" without explanation.

 

#6 assumes incorrectly that the Bible teaches that God is not a part of the universe, when in reality the universe is never clearly defined in the Bible. Even if we ignore that part, the fact that someone wrote claims in a book is not evidence that those claims are true.

 

(On a side note, I have heard as part of other arguments that the second law of thermodynamics does not apply to the universe itself, but a closed system within the universe. Does anyone know more about that?)

thanks, David, very clear!

Well, for one thing...

 

1. God's existence (in Christianity) is not an event, but a state.

 

...but even states are caused by, and are, events. (One's 'state of existence' was brought about by a series of events all of which caused the current state-i.e. the state of one's being alive and breathing). A state of existence must rely on a set of conditions in which to exist (the parameters of existence being subject to the location,time,and mode of that existence-for example will something exist physically? If so, then matter must exist). 

  To call something "a state" rather than "an event" is simply an example of switching  perspective.  Simply placing a god's existence in the category of state rather than event doesn't magically wipe away the necessity of defending the grounds by which states-as conceived being separate from events-can take place.

One fine example would be the following famous teacher/student exchange:

Teacher:  Class I challenge you-Is a fist a noun or a verb?

Student:  Quite obviously a noun-where's the challenge in that? 

Teacher:  Obviously, you say?  How so?

Student (agitated): Look, doesn't a fist have weight, displace mass and have a discernible location in space and time?! Of course, all those things are obviously true of fists!  I don't see your dilemna, there!

 The teacher unfurled her hand and presented a flat, open palm to her now smug pupil.  "So then, where is my fist now?"

  In the above case, the semantics of naming an act as a thing led the student to be confused about the manner of existence concerning fists.  Entities being conceptualized as states rather than events can cause the same mistake in cognitive reasoning.

Q.E.D. 

 

Found proof that Godzilla is the Supreme Being of the Universe on a Godzilla Church site. Let's dissect it. No wait, let's not waste our brain cells. There's an actual world to which we could pay attention instead of misguided baloney.

I, for one, am quite happy that godzilla is fiction. Same with christianity, but I live close enough to Tokyo that it'd be a pain in the tuckus if there were a giant radioactive lizard tearing through one of the best places to go have fun. Seriously. ;) Or not.

Can I just copy an paste the answer? I had this debate so many times, being skilled in math and science  makes it that much more frustrating.

 

I gave up completely answering these "obvious" fake scientist wanna-bes, you know why?

 

1. If they thought that deep into it, that they can knowingly make pig-logic sound like science, then they are doubting religion anyway, because that is a creative way to clutch at straws.  Somehow faith alone is not enough, and that means your job is already close to being done, he is deconverting himself, and causing his followers to think to, which in fact "thinking" is the cure for delusion.

2. I don't debate this, because the embodiment of the argument alone means they don't understand the debate material enough to even understand your (hopefully correct) response.  So, there is little point. 

 

3. The amount of bright young believers that get facisnated with this, as they learn and grow while studing, verifiying, and inevitably seeing how laughable the arguement.... Then!... the object of your debate is already deconverting more folks than you are!  Ironic for them..

 

Just let the fake scientists blabber, they help our cause more than hurt it.

 

;)

 

 

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