Need help with an atheist (dealing with Physics and Astrophysics for God)

Could someone help me with what this atheist is claiming? You see I showed him the Fr. Spitzer Article/Blog post on Strange Notions called “How Contemporary Physics Points to a God” and he responded with this.
“Finally got around to the strange notions, and it’s claim for physics pointing to a god. First of all, even if all this added up as they say, it only points to a god, not the catholic specific god. That’s a big if, considering it doesn’t add up at all. They’re attempting to use physics, in a topic of astrophysics. Now, if anyone here is well-versed in astrophysics, you can already see the problem. Physical laws do not work the same on a cosmological scale. Which is one of the reasons why Astrophysics is a billion times more complex, and that much more difficult to comprehend than “physics.”
So their use of thermodynamics falls short. As does their/his/her (whomever wrote it) illogical use of time. I’m glad they actually understand that there was no “before.” But their follow-up shows their failure to grasp just what that means. The idea that there was “nothing,” which they go into detail with, sounds logical to someone who doesn’t have the experience in this field. To have an amount, including the amount of zero, there has to be a moment in order for that amount to exist.
If I say “there was nothing durring May 500th of last year.” That moment has to exist for there to be nothing in it. The moment did not exist though, and therefore you cannot give it an amount of substance, not even zero.
Their ladder of thought is already broken down. But I’m going to move on and refute their next steps anyways, even though it’s already busted:… This is the old age example of “if there was nothing how can there now be something.” Which is a highly refuted train of thought.
Theoretical physics can explain quite well that something can come from nothing. We just don’t have current substantial evidence of it having happened, we do have such evidence that it COULD. But that’s considering that there was a point of “nothing” which is also not substantiated. There was no “before” the singularity, therefore the singularity most likely was always a thing, or a recession of an alternate future. (“Alternate Future” is a term I can go into more specifically later if need be.)
So this strange notions argument is basically a reworded, and much longer version of an older and heavily refuted argument. They tried to disguise it with a few big words and “sound good” explanations, that don’t really fit into precisely what they’re talking about”

Please oh pleaseeeeee help me out!

Was Fr. Spitzer’s contact page down?

You wish to have help to defend the positions you cited from Fr. Spitzer.

IOW, you like to toss links at people with names that sound good to you even if you don’t know what they are saying or why.
Then, when challenged you come here to get other people to do your work?

OK, fine. We’ll settle for that.

You are falling for the same “protestant shotgun” technique of citing “many” Bible verses which touch upon a subject, but are not definitive.

If you are dealing with an atheist, scale back your expectations (for now). You don’t need to demonstrate the Catholic God, or even the Trinity. If you can convince him of a unitarian god, you have won a battle (but not yet a war).

Rule no.1: Be wary of people who use science to prove that there is no God.
Rule no.2: Be wary of people who use science to prove that there is a God.

Both won’t work.

Ask him to explain how nothing (in the properly understood philosophical sense) could transform itself into something. That would entail that contingent things can effectively cause the existence of contingent things without actually existing prior to the specific causal event in question (or at all) because nothing cannot be causal or it would not be nothing. Things would have to be capable of bootstrapping themselves or other things into existence.

The question he needs to answer is why don’t we see a myriad of things just pop into existence for no reason and with nothing as a cause if he supposes that the entire universe came into being in just that way.

If his “highly refuted train of thought” claim is not to collapse into a highly falooted shame of thought claim, then he ought to be able to construct a valid argument instead of merely making an outlandish assertion.

Call him on it.

Sounds like the pot calling the kettle black.

Calling *ex nihilo nihil fit *a “heavily refuted argument” shows extreme philosophical ignorance a la Lawrence Krauss.

OP this “reponse” was nothing but a bunch of assertions. If you don’t know this person there’s really no point in talking with him IMO.

"Finally got around to the strange notions, and it’s claim for physics pointing to a god. First of all, even if all this added up as they say, it only points to a god, not the catholic specific god.

Excuse me but where oh where has Fr. Spitzer or any other proponent of a cosmological argument EVER said that “Cosmological argument works, therefore Jesus is Lord”? This is nothing but rhetoric.

That’s a big if, considering it doesn’t add up at all. They’re attempting to use physics, in a topic of astrophysics. Now, if anyone here is well-versed in astrophysics, you can already see the problem. Physical laws do not work the same on a cosmological scale. Which is one of the reasons why Astrophysics is a billion times more complex, and that much more difficult to comprehend than “physics.”
So their use of thermodynamics falls short.

Uh, this is just an assertion, in fact it’s really a pathetic one at that. Thermodynamics is one of the evidences for the Big Bang Theory, it doesn’t “fall short”, the second law of thermodynamics is probably the most sure law of nature. Assuming the universe is a closed system, it could not be past-eternal because then it would have reached a state of “heat death” by now, the universe would have arrived at a state of equilibrium, where no change is possible.

As does their/his/her (whomever wrote it) illogical use of time. I’m glad they actually understand that there was no “before.” But their follow-up shows their failure to grasp just what that means. The idea that there was “nothing,” which they go into detail with, sounds logical to someone who doesn’t have the experience in this field. To have an amount, including the amount of zero, there has to be a moment in order for that amount to exist. If I say “there was nothing durring May 500th of last year.” That moment has to exist for there to be nothing in it. The moment did not exist though, and therefore you cannot give it an amount of substance, not even zero.

Uh zero isn’t an amount. Basic misunderstanding of high school mathematics here…Moreover, this person seems to be in agreement with St. Augustine on asking what happened “before” creation (See The Confessions, books 11-13)

Their ladder of thought is already broken down. But I’m going to move on and refute their next steps anyways, even though it’s already busted:… This is the old age example of “if there was nothing how can there now be something.” Which is a highly refuted train of thought.

Uh, please tell me where this refutation comes from? Surely if it has been “highly” refuted I should be able to find something telling me how “From nothing, nothing comes” is wrong.

Theoretical physics can explain quite well that something can come from nothing.

We just don’t have current substantial evidence of it having happened, we do have such evidence that it COULD. But that’s considering that there was a point of “nothing” which is also not substantiated.

Uh Fr. Spitzer talked about this:

[quote=Fr. Spitzer]Secondly, if the physical universe (and its physical time) did not exist prior to the beginning, then it was literally nothing. It is important to note that “nothing” means “nothing.” It does not mean a “vacuum” or “a low energy state of a quantum field,” “empty space,” or other real things. Vacuums, empty space, and low energy states in quantum fields are dimensional and orientable – they have specific characteristics and parameters, but “nothing” is not dimensional or orientable, and it does not have any specific characteristics or parameters because it is nothing. For example, you can have more or less of a vacuum or empty space, but you cannot have more or less of nothing because nothing is nothing.
[/quote]

There was no “before” the singularity, therefore the singularity most likely was always a thing, or a recession of an alternate future. (“Alternate Future” is a term I can go into more specifically later if need be.)

I’m not sure if this person is familiar with the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem talked about in the article. (Or in Fr. Spitzer’s book, which came highly recommended to me by my friend who’s a lot more knowledgeable about science and philosophy than I am, but I haven’t read it yet). On the BVG theorem, there was a cosmic beginning.

So this strange notions argument is basically a reworded, and much longer version of an older and heavily refuted argument. They tried to disguise it with a few big words and “sound good” explanations, that don’t really fit into precisely what they’re talking about"

This applies better to his “reponse”.

It appears he didn’t even touch the fine tuning argument.

Challenge your interlocutor to read this book:

What Your Atheist Professor Doesn’t Know (But Should) by Stephen Williams

Even better, read it yourself. :wink:

Rule 1: If you are going to try and convince an atheist that God exists, then you are going to have to provide hard evidence to support it. Quoting the Bible or whatever completely goes in one ear and out the other.

Rule 2: Never threaten hell

Rule 3: Never ask them to try and disprove the existence of God. Literally all of the atheists I know do not deny the fact that they do not know if God exists or not, but remain unconvinced as they have not seen evidence. They will also tell you that you cannot prove something does not exist, because you can’t. You will likely hear a response along the line of “prove that a flying spaghetti monster doesn’t exist, prove a unicorn doesn’t exist.” If these seem ridiculous, then they might offer, “prove that a purple polar bear doesn’t exist.” This last one cannot be done without first rounding up every polar bear to show that there are no purple polar bears, and then the argument of “how do you know that’s all of them” will show up.

Rule 4: Never tell them to just try it and to just believe or “give it a chance”

Rule 5: Don’t ask why they are mad at God

Rule 6: You first have to convince an atheist that there is a God before you can convince them that Christianity is correct.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.