Alright. Five minutes and counting. Let’s return to a couple of points that I consider to be quite interesting. First of all, Dr. Craig now seems to have retreated, at least slightly, from the claim that the universe requires…that anything that…that anything that begins to exist requires cause. Alright. The cosmological argument, as I understood it, was to establish that we need some kind of cause in order to bring the universe into existence. Now, we are told that on the authority of…from various authorities, that there is no physical cause of the Big Bang. I submit, however, that if we allow that the universe has always existed, that is a different thing from claiming that the universe has existed infinitely. We can admit that there may not be the physical possibility of an infinite sequence of physical existing things, but we are perfectly within our epistemic rights, one might want to say, to hold that although the universe has a finite past, only a finite amount of time has passed, nevertheless has no beginning. There is no such thing as the first instant of time. He seems now to agree with me on that. If we accept that, then it looks like we don’t need to postulate a creator of the universe in the first place. But, moving back to the Big Bang, the Hawking model, which uses imaginary time, it is claimed that this is both physically unintelligible and also metaphysically mistaken. I beg to differ. I believe that it is perfectly physically… physically intelligible to introduce imaginary numbers; they are used all of the time in physics. It does turn out to be little bit odd that the imaginary time there is going to have extra dimensions and somehow get rolled up, but the point is that is a perfectly comprehensible naturalistic explanation of the order and structure of the cosmos. One that makes no appeal to God. Secondly, he claims that the Hawking model has a problem because it makes space and time indistinguishable in a way. That would seem to be a problem only for someone who believed in the metaphysical reality of tense, which is a metaphysical issue that we need not get into here. My point is simply that there are a large number of philosophers, metaphysicians, theists and atheists alike, who believe that tense, or the tensed sentences, don’t pick up on anything metaphysically real. It is a perfectly..perfectly acceptable model of the universe which treats the universe as a sort of big block … a big block universe, perfectly consistent then and atheistically…an atheistically acceptable cosmology. Notice then that we get back to the Principle of Conservatism. If I can give you a naturalistic, atheistically acceptable explanation of the structure of the universe, which makes no appeal to something unfamiliar, like God, I claim that we are rationally, to be…the rational belief is that there is no God out there to account for these things.
Moving on now, the claim is that we have, however, if I understood Dr. Craig, we have some kind of understanding of ourselves as non- physical creatures; our volitions are supposed to be a prime example of a non-physical event causing a physical event. A volition such as my desire to move my right arm, causing the raising of my right arm. I frankly find this incomprehensible. It seems perfectly evident that the raising of my right arm is a physical process. It seems perfectly evident that physical processes can have only physical causes. It seems perfectly evident that if we accept the broadly scientific view of the world, according to which energy is conserved, whatever it is that led to the lifting of my arm must itself be a physical process which is explicable in terms of the laws of chemistry…neurochemistry and physics if you trace it back to the brain which you will discover is, presumably, some neurochemical energy being discharged which then produces, right, the motion of the limb. In order to make it out that we have some clear conception of non-physical minds causing physical actions, what we have to do is overthrow the entire body of understood physical theory. We have to get rid essentially of the principle of conservation of energy and adopt a radically incoherent model in which minds are somehow non-physical things which interact somehow causally with physical things, nevertheless, preserving conservation of energy and all of the other lovely physical laws we know.
Finally, on the question of the inflationary model of the universe and whether an inflationary Big Bang theory is some kind of rampant speculation. I freely confess that all Big Bang theories are highly speculative, at least as speculative as the hypothesis of God’s existence. What distinguishes them from the hypothesis of God’s existence is that they are rooted in well understood physical laws. Principles such as the physical of general relativity, principles such the finite velocity of light, etc. They are consistent with all of that. I claim that the hypothesis of God’s existence goes beyond that in ways that are entirely unintelligible.
Finally, on the question of whether or not God is comprehensible, I understood the claim of God’s inscrutability to be that God, that God could not be understood. That God had mysterious reasons for preferring one thing rather than another, but we could never inquire narrowly into them. Now I am told all that means is, "Well, there is a few things off in the distance that we won’t understand."
Finally, then, we will wrap up, the moral values and the problem of evil, it strikes me as still incomprehensible that a God could somehow or other gain anything by torturing His creatures for the mere satisfaction of compelling them to believe in Him. Really I think that just…the mind, frankly, boggles. And, with that I guess I am bid to stop. Thank you.
Dr. Jesseph’s statements in the Jesseph-Craig Debate are copyright © 1996 by Doug Jesseph. All rights reserved.
The electronic version is copyright © 1997 by Internet Infidels with the written permission of Doug Jesseph. All rights reserved.