New astrophysical discoveries leave little to no room for Atheism

Denver, Colo., Sep 30, 2009 / 03:35 pm (CNA).- Contemporary astrophysics hold the scientific key to prove the existence of God, but unfortunately very few know the scientific facts, said Fr. Robert J. Spitzer, S.J, PhD, during a conference delivered on Sunday at the John Paul II Center for the New Evangelization in Denver, Colorado.

The Honolulu-born Jesuit is the past president of Gonzaga University and is also well-known philosopher and physicist who is involved in bringing science and theology together.

Fr. Spitzer is currently engaged in an ambitious project to explain the metaphysical consequences of the latest astrophysical discoveries, mainly, the existence of a Creator.

The conference in Denver was sponsored by John and Carol Saeman as well as the California Catholic philanthropist Timothy Busch.

“The arguments of Fr. Spitzer are addressed to every honest human being who is trying to reach to God through science,” said Mr. Busch, during the introduction.

“Atheism and pop culture have had a significant impact on Theism and it has to be confronted especially because Secularism and the negation of God are becoming pervasive,” began the 57 year-old priest.

“Theism, in fact, can be better explained by contemporary science and modern philosophy better than ever before, but particularly interesting is what is happening in the field of astrophysics … to the point that I can’t imagine why agnosticism and Atheism are still popular,” Fr. Spitzer said.

“That is why we need contemporary ‘translators’ that are capable of bringing today’s science to regular people, and especially, to bring the astrophysical response to atheism,” he added.

Fr. Spitzer explained that, since science is based on a empirical model, it can change at any time. Nevertheless, as science develops and the so called “Big Bang” theory of the origin and existence of the universe becomes more refined, “it becomes less and less possible for other explanations (of the universe) to be scientifically viable.”

The theory, developed by the Belgian Catholic priest and astronomer Georges Lemaître, proposes that the Universe has expanded from a primordial dense initial condition at some time in the past (currently estimated to have been approximately 13.7 billion years ago), and continues to expand to this day.

The model, according to Fr. Spitzer, has been revised, refined and scientifically established to a point that any other theory of the origin and existence of the universe has become harder and harder to defend.

Fr. Spitzer explained that, what we know from the most recent scientific evidence is that “the universe is not the universe of Mr. Newton anymore, it is not infinite, it is finite, it started at some point, and is in constant expansion.”

He then explained the complexity of the universe, saying it is based on “an incredibly delicate balance of 17 cosmological constants. If any of them would be off by one part of a tenth at a forty potency, we would be dead and the universe would not be what it is.”

“Every single Big Bang model shows the existence of what scientists call a ‘singularity,’ and the existence of each singularity demands the existence of an external ‘element’ to the universe,” Fr. Spitzer said.

The priest physicist then proceeded to explain the different, complex versions of the various Bing Bang theories.

He quoted Roger Penrose, the world-famous English mathematician and physicist, who corrected some of the theories of his friend and colleague Stephen Hawkins to conclude that every Big Bang theory, including the one known as Quantum theory, confirms the existence of singularities. Therefore, said Spitzer, the need to find an explanation to the universe’s existence drives us to seek “a force that is previous and independent from the universe.”

Fr. Spitzer also quoted the 2003 experiments by three leading cosmologists, Arvin Borde, Alan Guth, and Alexander Vilenkin, who were able to prove that any universe which has, on average, been expanding throughout its history cannot be infinite in the past but must have a past space-time boundary.

“The concept at this point is clear: nothing is nothing, and from nothing, nothing comes, since nothing is… nothing!” Fr. Spitzer said, to explain the fact that contemporary astrophysics demands “something with sufficient power to bring the universe into existence.”

“It sounds like a theological argument, but is really a scientific conclusion.

“There is no way to ignore the fact that it demands the existence of a singularity and therefore of a Creator outside space and time,” he added.

According to Fr. Spitzer, “this theory has become so scientifically solid, that 50% of astrophysicists are “coming out of the closet” an accepting a metaphysical conclusion: the need of a Creator.”

The Jesuit priest explained that this theory is not what is currently known as “Intelligent Design.”

“Intelligent Design is a biological theory, this is an anthropic universe theory, based on the question: Can our universe sustain forms of life no matter what, without any external energy?”

According to Fr. Spitzer, Professor Penrose “has provided a mathematical model in which the possibilities of a universe that would not be gobbled without the existence of a Creator are simply improvable, to a point of mathematical impossibility.”

“What can we conclude of this? First that the Creator is really smart… and second that it must be a loving one, because He could choose so many more violent and chaotic alternatives, that it really has to make you wonder.”

Fr. Spitzer explained to CNA that “all this information must be conveyed in a simple manner to our seminarians, our college and high school students, who are mostly ignorant of the powerful Theistic message of today’s astrophysics.”

The Jesuit physicist, with the help of some Catholic philanthropists, is working on a project to create a 90-minute curriculum, divided into three 30-minute segments, that will offer the astrophysics-based response to atheism. “It will be a high quality production that will involve 12 physicists, as well as dynamic and engaging graphics,” he explained.

“The idea,” he told CNA, “is to make not only DVDs that can be distributed to all Catholic high schools or Newman centers around the U.S., but to make it available for free via the Internet.”

Fr. Spitzer is working in another three more 90-minute curricula: “The historical evidence of Jesus,” “Suffering and the love of God” and “Contemporary philosophical responses to Atheism.”

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:thumbsup:

Remember though, in the mind of an atheist (in my experience), if there is even a .0000000000000000000000001% chance it was not God, then it simply has to be that way,darn it, because there is no God because I simply can’t bare the idea.

True, but the same could be said of believers and the chance it was God.

Not to say God doesn’t exist. Just saying, men can be stubborn at times.

I’ve been talking about this exact question on another thread, and I’ll summarize briefly what I’ve been saying:

  1. No one knows what came before the Big Bang. We literally have no idea what happened before it or even if it makes sense to talk about “before” it (since it’s likely that time began after the Big Bang).

It’s possible that the “stuff” that existed before the Big Bang always existed. It’s possible that the “stuff” that preceded the Big Bang has gone through numerous expansion cycles and that what we call “the universe” is only the most recent expansion. It’s possible that the cause of the Big Bang (if it’s possible to speak of “causes” before time) is something natural that we don’t currently understand. It’s possible that “a force that is previous and independent from the universe” exists but is completely natural, unintelligent, and/or not in existence any more.

  1. The argument from “fine tuning” simply doesn’t work. The article says that the universe “is based on ‘an incredibly delicate balance of 17 cosmological constants. If any of them would be off by one part of a tenth at a forty potency, we would be dead and the universe would not be what it is.’”

All of that is true.

The problem is that you’re taking the current state of things and evaluating the evidence as if the current state was an intentional goal. There’s no justification for doing so, unless you want to make your first assumption the conclusion you want to get to (and thus have a big circular argument).

If the cosmological constants had been any different, we would have had a different universe. Maybe there would have been life in that universe, maybe there would have been a different kind of life, or maybe there would have been no life at all. Each of those potential universes would be equally unlikely.

Think of it this way: what are the odds of being dealt a perfect bridge hand? I mean 2 through Ace, all of the same suit – the odds are somewhere in the ballpark of 1 in several million. But what are the odds of being dealt any old hand, say King of Clubs, Jack of Diamonds, Seven of Hearts, etc.? The odds of any other hand are exactly the same. It’s just that we attach value to one kind of hand and not to others.

So just because you like the outcome of something and the odds of it happening are remote, it in no way demonstrates that intelligence arranged the outcome.

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