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Atheism vs. Theism
Charge 2, Question 1
"Atheism/Theism" vs. "Science, the Bible, & Creation"
Introduction and Charges
1, Deduction and Induction
2, Question 1
2, Questions 2 and 3
2, Summary and Question 4
3 and 4, Definitions
Acting as Mechanisms, Article 1
Acting as Mechanisms, Article 2
Acting as Mechanisms, Article 3
Razor and Conclusions
2 and 3
Theories, Unsubstantiated Hypotheses 1
Theories, Unsubstantiated Hypotheses 2
Theories, Unsubstantiated Hypotheses 3
Theories, Unsubstantiated Hypotheses 4
Life on Earth Imported from Outer Space
Circle of Reasons
God a White Crow?
Now that we've refuted Atheistic/Agnostic Charge No. 1,
we'll turn to Atheistic/Agnostic Charge No. 2.
Atheistic/Agnostic Charge No. 2: Theistic logical constructs
for the existence of god always start by assuming that god
exists, thus, theistic proofs inherently employ circular reasoning.
As we have stated, those who hold to an atheistic view of
the evidence, charge that in order to logically conclude that
god exists, one must necessarily start off by assuming that
god exists. Thus, Atheists charge that any logical construct
for Theism is inherently a process of circular reasoning.
According to Atheists, Theists start by assuming there is
a god and end up concluding that god exists. But this is not
at all the case.
As we will now demonstrate, the fact is that the first 3 steps
in the theistic logical construct in no way involve theistic
assumptions. All of these first 3 steps are completely atheistic.
It is not until step 4 in the construct that we arrive at
a question that deals with whether or not god exists. And
step 4 is concluded based upon steps 1-3. So, rather than
starting out by assuming god exists, a logical construct for
theism starts out with 3 simple atheistic assumptions. Thus,
since it does not begin by assuming god exists, the logical
construct for Theism does not rely on circular reasoning.
The logical construct that leads to Theism is described below,
in Questions 1-4.
Question 1: Did the universe have a beginning or has
it always existed? (Is the universe eternal?)
On this point the most prominent view in modern science teaches
that the universe did, in fact, have a beginning. The most
widely held view today regarding the origin of the universe
is the Big-Bang Theory. The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth
Edition describes the basics of the Big Bang Theory as
"According to big-bang theories, at the beginning of time,
all of the matter and energy in the universe was concentrated
in a very dense state, from which it "exploded," with the
resulting expansion continuing until the present. This
"big bang" is dated between 10 and 20 billion years ago."
The American Heritage¨ Dictionary of the English Language,
Fourth Edition describes the Big Bang Theory in similar
"Big bang theory - NOUN: A cosmological theory holding
that the universe originated approximately 20 billion years
ago from the violent explosion of a very small agglomeration
of matter of extremely high density and temperature."
And the Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition also has
the following to say in its article on the universe.
"The age of the universe depends on which theory of cosmology
one accepts. According to the big bang theory, favored
by many scientists, the universe is between 8 and 13 billion
Now, there are other competing theories about the age of the
universe. In its article on cosmology, The Columbia Encyclopedia,
Sixth Edition lists only 2 theories under the heading
"Modern Cosmological Theories." The second theory is the Big
Bang Theory, which we have covered above. The first theory
listed is the "Steady-State Theory."
In its article on the universe, The Columbia Encyclopedia,
Sixth Edition describes the Steady-State Theory as follows:
"The steady-state theory holds that the universe has been
in existence for all time."
However, in its article on cosmology, The Columbia Encyclopedia,
Sixth Edition refers to the Steady-State Theory as "now
of historical interest only," indicating that this theory
is no longer widely held in scientific circles, but instead
has been discarded in favor of the Big Bang Theory.
So, in short, according to the most prominent view in modern
science today (The Big Bang Theory), the universe is NOT eternal.
It did indeed have a beginning.
It is important to restate at this point that no one was around
to observe either the beginning of the universe or the eternal
existence of the universe (if it had no beginning.) All theories
about whether or not the universe had a beginning or is itself
eternal are based upon the process of induction.
Now, as we will shortly see from Question No. 2, if
the universe had a beginning and was not eternal, then it
is logically inescapable that something apart from the universe,
something outside the universe, caused the universe. And,
if the thing that caused the universe exists outside the universe,
then that thing may not be directly detectable by empirical
methods, since, by definition, it exists outside of the universe.
This would completely dispel the Atheist's ability to use
the notion that "god cannot currently be empirically observed"
as a criticism of Theism, since logic would demand that whatever
caused the universe (whether god or otherwise) would necessarily
be unavailable for direct empirical observation.
For this particular reason, many Atheists attempt to circumvent
the problem caused by the universe having a beginning. Instead,
such Atheists propose that (either with or without a Big Bang
model) matter and energy may have existed eternally in one
way or another and so the material universe may, indeed, be
eternal. However, while the Big Bang theory may be based upon
empirically observable evidence, the theory that matter and
energy existed prior to the Big Bang (beginning) is purely
a matter of speculation. On what empirical evidence could
such speculation possibly be based?
The fact is, any atheistic theory rejecting the Big Bang's
theoretical beginning and simultaneously supposing the eternal
existence of matter and energy does not stem from empirical
evidence but from an atheistic bias to avoid anything that
might even slightly facilitate Theism. Or in other words,
Atheists who suggest that matter and energy are eternal aren't
doing so based upon any evidence but based upon the desire
to avoid the fact that if the universe had a beginning, then
the cause of the universe is necessarily outside empirical
observation. Simply put, since no empirical evidence can be
offered to suggest the eternal existence of matter and energy,
an Atheist who suggests the universe is eternal reveals that
they are not motivated by science or empiricism but by a desire
to avoid any implication of the existence of a cause or object
outside the material universe.
However, since popular modern science itself holds that the
universe had a beginning (called the Big Bang), we will not
further argue the point. At this portion of the debate, most
atheistic scientists and Christians are in agreement that
the universe, in fact, did have a beginning.
We must remember that The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth
Edition defines the universe as the "totality of matter
and energy in existence." So, when the Big Bang Theory states
that "that the universe originated approximately 20 billion
years ago" (The American Heritage¨ Dictionary of the English
Language, Fourth Edition), this automatically implies
that matter and energy originated at that time and did not
exist prior to the Big Bang.
Furthermore, the second law of thermodynamics clearly disproves
the notion of an eternal universe or the notion that matter
and energy are eternal. The second law of thermodynamics describes
the phenomenon of entropy. Entropy is the loss of available
energy as disorder increases in a system.
"Food Web, III ENERGY FLOW - The process whereby energy
loses its capacity to do work is called entropy." - "Food
Web," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft
Corporation. All rights reserved.
The second law of thermodynamics states that, in a closed
(or isolated) system, entropy always increases.
"Hawking, Stephen William - For instance, the second
law of thermodynamics states that entropy, or disorder, must
increase with time." - "Hawking, Stephen William," Microsoft®
Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation.
All rights reserved.
"Entropy - The idea of entropy is the basis of the
second law of thermodynamics. According to this law, the direction
of spontaneous change in isolated systems is toward
maximum disorder...Taken together, all processes occurring
now will result in a universe of greater disorder. Because
the entropy of the universe is always increasing, a state
of greater entropy must be one that occurs later in time.
For this reason, entropy has been called 'time's arrow.'"
- Worldbook, Contributor: Melvyn C. Usselman, Ph.D., Associate
Professor of Chemistry, University of Western Ontario.
"Thermodynamics, IV SECOND LAW OF THERMODYNAMICS -
The second law of thermodynamics gives a precise definition
of a property called entropy. Entropy can be thought of
as a measure of how close a system is to equilibrium; it can
also be thought of as a measure of the disorder in the system.
The law states that the entropy-that is, the disorder-of
an isolated system can never decrease. Thus, when an isolated
system achieves a configuration of maximum entropy, it can
no longer undergo change: It has reached equilibrium. Nature,
then, seems to "prefer" disorder or chaos." - "Thermodynamics,"
Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft
Corporation. All rights reserved.
When a system reaches this state of maximum entropy, it is
said to have reached equilibrium and the temperature becomes
uniform. This state is called heat death. And at this time
no work or change can occur.
"Heat, Heat/Learning about heat, Thermodynamics - According
to the second law, all spontaneous (natural) events act to
increase the entropy within a system. Until a system reaches
its maximum entropy, it can do useful work. But as a system
does work, its entropy increases until the system can no longer
perform work." - Worldbook, Contributor: Ared Cezairliyan,
Ph.D., Former Research Physicist, National Institute of Standards
"Physics, IV NEWTON AND MECHANICS, E Thermodynamics, 3
The Second Law of Thermodynamics - From the second law,
it follows that in an isolated system (one that has
no interactions with the surroundings) internal portions
at different temperatures will always adjust to a single uniform
temperature and thus produce equilibrium...The entropy of
an isolated system, and of the universe as a whole, can only
increase, and when equilibrium is eventually reached, no more
internal change of any form is possible. Applied to the universe
as a whole, this principle suggests that eventually all temperature
in space becomes uniform, resulting in the so-called heat
death of the universe." - "Physics," Microsoft® Encarta®
Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights
"Physics, The scope of physics, The study of heat, thermodynamics,
and statistical mechanics, Second law - Another formulation
of the second law is that the entropy of an isolated system
never decreases with time...Statistical mechanics - From
a microscopic point of view the laws of thermodynamics imply
that, whereas the total quantity of energy of any isolated
system is constant, what might be called the quality of this
energy is degraded as the system moves inexorably,
through the operation of the laws of chance, to states
of increasing disorder until it finally reaches the state
of maximum disorder (maximum entropy), in which all parts
of the system are at the same temperature, and none of the
state's energy may be usefully employed. When applied to the
universe as a whole, considered as an isolated system, this
ultimate chaotic condition has been called the 'heat death.'"
- Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition
In modern scientific terms, the universe is a closed system.
All that exists is a closed system. And consequently, given
enough time, a state of maximum entropy will occur in which
there is no available energy in the universe. If the universe
were eternal, this state of maximum entropy, in which there
was no available energy, no work being done, and no change
occurring, would have been reached a long time ago. Since
the universe still has available energy and work and change
still take place, it cannot be eternally old. To suggest or
believe that the universe, or that matter and energy, are
eternally old is to contradict the known scientific laws of
thermodynamics. And that is simply not an option for a rational
or an empirical atheist.
Once again, we would note at this point, that our first question
and our first assumption are in no way theistic. That is the
assumption that we make when answering this question in no
way requires the presumption that god exists. The question
of whether or not the universe is eternal or had a beginning
is not a theistic question. Nor is the assumption we make
when answering that question based upon theistic assumptions.
And, also worthy of note, is that this theory that the universe
had a beginning, is based upon the employment of the scientific
method to empirical data. It is not a matter of intuition
or theistic faith.
So, now we arrive at the first of our initial 3 assumptions
in the logical proof of Theism.
Assumption 1: Assume the universe is not eternal, that
it had a beginning.