Atheists Disregard Scientific Evidence of God
Imagine this scenario: the Weather Service issues a tornado warning for your area, and all the people in town immediately seek shelter. Having had previous experience with how dangerous such a storm can be, no one stays above ground to watch the winds in action. That’s why everyone is so astonished when they emerge from their basements after the storm, and are able to see what the tornado did.
Right in the center of town, where before the storm there was an unsightly junkyard, all the junk has disappeared. And in its place sits a brand, spanking new Boeing 747 jetliner, with engines idling, apparently ready for takeoff!
Of course, everyone wants to know what happened to all that junk? And how did a 747 land in that small space?
Then the mayor of the city, the chief of police, and the principal of the high school all come forward with an incredible story. "We saw it with our own eyes," they say, "the tornado hit the junk, mixed it all up, and assembled it by the purest of chances into that 747!"
Here's the question: do you think anyone would believe that tale?
Remember: it's the mayor, the police chief and the high school principal who are making the claim - perhaps the highest status individuals in town. Let's make the town the state capital, and throw in the governor as an additional witness. Plus a Nobel Prize winning physicist at the state university. They all claim that when the tornado hit the junk yard, it produced, totally by accident, a fully assembled and functioning Boeing 747 jetliner. Do you believe them?
Of course you don't! The report they are making defies not only all common sense, but the laws of probability. No rational person with any understanding of science would believe such a claim.
Yet, according to British astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle, the scientist who coined the term "Big Bang" to describe the beginning of the universe, that's exactly the kind of story atheism would have us believe.
Atheism is bad science!
In his book, The Intelligent Universe, Hoyle says:
The current scenario of the origin of life is about as likely as the assemblage of a 747 by a tornado whirling through a junkyard.
But that’s just what the logic of atheist beliefs would have us accept as the explanation for how life began in a complex yet orderly universe that, atheists say, came into being on its own with no Creator: it all happened by pure, blind chance.
Whatever that story may be, one thing it's not is science!
Atheism rejects evidence it doesn't like
A fundamental premise of atheism is that there is no scientific evidence for the existence of God. Theists (those who believe that God is real) counter that such evidence is all around us, and is so obvious that only willful blindness can avoid seeing it.
Having dispensed with the idea of a Creator, atheism must of necessity argue that the universe just came into existence on its own, and life arose spontaneously from inert materials. But is that what the scientific evidence really shows?
What the scientific evidence says about the origin of the universe
Modern astrophysics is based firmly on the Big Bang theory, which says that the universe began with a huge, never to be repeated cosmic explosion. Almost the entire scientific community acknowledges that the Big Bang happened. But no scientist has yet put forth even a respectable theory of what could have caused it. Nor has anyone definitively demonstrated the process by which it could have occurred. Similarly, the way in which the enormous complexity and order that characterizes both the universe and organic life could have arisen from blind, random forces remains unexplained.
In 1929 astronomer Edwin Hubble (for whom the Hubble space telescope is named) published findings that have been called “the most important event in astronomy in the [20th] century.” His observations, embodied in what is now called Hubble's Law, proved that the expansion of the universe predicted by Einstein's relativity theory is real. Hubble demonstrated that every astronomical object in the universe is moving away from every other object, just as every point on the surface of an inflating balloon is moving away from every other point on the balloon’s surface.
The universe had a beginning
The significance of Hubble’s findings is that they show that all the astronomical structures in the universe (stars, galaxies, etc) started their outward expansion from a single point. In other words, the expansion of the universe proves conclusively that the universe had a beginning.
That this massive explosion of matter and energy (called the Big Bang) that marked the beginning of our universe took place at a specific point in time and space is now almost universally accepted as scientific fact.
Will the Big Bang ever repeat itself?
There are two major possibilities for the future of the universe. One, nicknamed "The Big Crunch," is that the universe contains sufficient mass that the force of gravity will eventually arrest the expansion and cause the cosmos to fall back in on itself. That means the cycle of expand/collapse could repeat itself over and over. Calculations indicate that if the shape of the universe is spherical, it does contain enough matter to bring this scenario to fruition.
The other possibility, called "The Big Freeze," would occur if the amount of matter in the universe is insufficient to bring about a gravitation-induced re-collapse. This will be the case if the shape of the universe is either flat or hyperbolic.
The latest observations, particularly those from NASA's Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) show that the greatest probability is that the universe is flat. This confirms previous studies indicating that the universe will expand forever.
So the scientific evidence shows that the universe not only had a beginning, but its beginning was a single, unique, one-time event that never happened before, and will never happen again.
As Baby Bear would say, the universe is “just right” to support life
Not only was the Big Bang unique, but it produced a universe that is exactly the way it must be in order to support life. If any of a number of physical constants and values were different by even a few percentage points, life would be impossible.
As physicist Paul Davies, writing in the International Journal of Astrobiology, put it:
There is now broad agreement among physicists and cosmologists that the universe is in several respects “fine-tuned” for life.
Look, for example, at just a small sample of the factors that constitute the knife edge on which life in the universe rests:
- If the force of explosion [the Big Bang] was only slightly higher, the universe would only consist of gas without stars, galaxies, or planets…The matching had to be to the remarkable precision of one part in 1055.
Dean L. Overman in A Case Against Accident and Self-Organization
- If the strong nuclear force were even 0.3 % stronger or 2% weaker the universe would never be able to support life.
Astronomer John D. Barrow and Physicist Frank J. Tipler in The Anthropic Cosmological Principle:
- The big bang, the most cataclysmic event we can imagine, on closer inspection appears finely orchestrated.
Astrophysicist George Smoot in Wrinkles in Time
- How is it that common elements such as carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen happened to have just the right kind of atomic structure that they needed to combine to make the molecules upon which life depends? It is almost as though the universe had been consciously designed.
Richard Morris, a science writer with a PhD in Physics, in The Fate of the Universe
It would be very difficult to explain why the universe should have begun in just this way, except as the act of a God who intended to create beings like us.— Atheist Stephen Hawking
Even theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, one of the most famous and influential atheists in the world, is impressed that the scientific evidence gives the appearance that the universe was deliberately designed to support human life. He says in his book A Brief History of Time:
The laws of science, as we know them at present, contain many fundamental numbers, like the size of the electric charge of the electron and the ratio of the masses of the proton and the electron. ... The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life.
It would be very difficult to explain why the universe should have begun in just this way, except as the act of a God who intended to create beings like us.
Though Hawking doesn’t believe in God, he’s forced to admit that everything scientists have discovered about the structure of the universe appears to point directly to a Creator.
VIDEO: Our fine tuned universe
What do you think is the most probable explanation for the existence of a “fine tuned” universe?
There is no naturalistic explanation for the universe we live in
No scientist has yet formulated any widely accepted theory of how this finely tuned universe could possibly have created itself. But atheists are forced by their belief system to assert that it did exactly that. Moreover, by the purest chance, the universe, out of an infinite set of other possibilities, somehow created itself in exactly the way necessary to support life.
But, atheists argue, despite all the appearance of the universe having been created and designed specifically to be a hospitable environment for life, the idea that there may be a Creator and Designer who exists outside the universe, and who brought it into being for a purpose, is not a possible reading of the evidence.
The evident design of the universe indicates there must be a Designer
Believers in God take a much more rational view. The idea of a cosmos that had no existence but somehow brought itself into existence, and did so in such a way that it seems to have been precisely designed to nurture life, defies logic.
The norm in all of human experience is to infer a designer from evident design. Therefore, the very existence of a complex and orderly universe, fined tuned in every way to support human life, speaks of a Creator and Designer. That conclusion arises directly from an objective analysis of the scientific evidence.
An objective reading of the scientific evidence supports belief in God
Let’s go back to where we started. If you claim that the 747 airliner that appeared in the center of town after a tornado was not created or designed but came together purely by accident, the enormous improbability of such an occurrence requires that you present some definite and empirically testable hypothesis as to how it happened. If no such hypothesis can be given, the inference that someone designed and built that machine must be accepted. There is no reasonable alternative.
This is the rule we all follow every day in every aspect of life – the fact of evident design unquestionably indicates the existence of a designer. But atheism can offer no empirically testable hypothesis of how an infinitely complex yet orderly and hospitable universe came into being on its own, without a creator or designer.
So, atheists must refuse, in this one instance alone, to apply that rule. It's only when they would have to acknowledge a Creator that atheists refuse to accept the kind of evidence they accept in every other area of life.
Clearly, atheists don’t disbelieve in God because there is no evidence for His existence. Rather, it is their refusal to believe in God that forces them to ignore evidence that is clear and compelling to anyone willing to examine it with an unbiased mind.
This is the second in a series on the reasonableness and necessity of belief in God. You can read the first in the series at Why Morality Requires Faith In God.
© 2015 Ronald E. Franklin