In a radio interview I saw on YouTube, Christian apologist William Lane Craig said he didn't bucked up with modern science. (the question was how hold did Craig think the universe was and he responded that science says around 13.7 BYA). While this may sound impressive to Christians that want to desperately believe without sounding like idiots, I do not think its true.
Here is an outline of a few things that I am talking about:
Craig: Intelligent Design is viable and evolution by natural selection is a massive extrapolation with no data to support it. All biologists can point to is finches and peppered moths.
Mainsstream science: Evolution by natural selection is supported by mountains of evidence and speciation on several occasions has been observed. Every example of the "evidence" for intelligent design, such as DNA as information and Irreducible complexity, has been debunked in spectacular fashion.
Craig: the A-theory of time is just as plausible as the B-theory. Given this theory, the universe had a beginning.
Mainstream science: the A-theory was dumped at the beginning of the 20th century after the Michelson-Morley experiment pointed to aether not existing. This led physicists, such as Einstein and Kaluza, to a new view of the universe where space and time are interwoven and not separate. This explains lots of things that the A-theory could not, such as the orbit of Mercury, the time kept by atomic clocks flown around the world very fast, and the nature of eclipses. This view has been fleshed out for lay people by Brian Greene, Stephen Hawking, Michio Kaku, and Sean M Carroll. Under the B-theory, the universe never "began to exist."
Craig: something can not pop into being out of nothing (in reference to virtual particles). We know this and we never expect to come home to a horse that popped into existence, whom is defiling our living room.
Mainstream science: no one ever suggested that a large object could pop into existence. horses only appear after billions of years of cosmic and biological evolution and stating the example in this manner is a straw man. Many cosmologists think that we are inside the talked about quantum fluctuation, not that one could happen again, inside this one.
Craig: the universe came out of an infinitely dense point, known as the singularity.
Mainstream science: the people who put out this paper originally, Stephen Hawking and Roger Penrose, have both abandoned this view in favor of the quantum fluctuation that Craig disagrees with. Mainstream science never consensusly accepted this view in the first place.
Craig: the multiverse is a desperate attempt to explain away fine-tuning and violates Occams Razor.
Mainstream science: the multiverse was posited to explain other features of the universe. For example, inflationary theory, which posits a multiverse, wonderfully explains the initial expansion of the universe and the flatness of the universe. It also predicted the heat distribution in the cosmos, which has since been confirmed. Occam's Razor is used to scrape away unnecessary parts, not get rid of that which is ontologically sound.
I am not arguing that Craig is wrong that God exists (although I am an atheist), I am just arguing that he is not in line with mainstream science and that you should be aware of it.
Replies are closed for this discussion.
I agree, Greg. Often, apologists tend to gravitate towards periods in science that best support their conclusions and ignore or dismiss later developments in the field.
One of the more common examples of this would be the creationists pointing out flaws in the Origin of Species, while acting as if there has been no research done in the field of evolution in the past 150 years and that modern evolutionary theory is identical to what is laid out in Origin.
"The A-theory was dumped at the beginning of the 20th century after the Michelson-Morley experiment pointed to aether not existing. This led physicists, such as Einstein and Kaluza, to a new view of the universe where space and time are interwoven and not separate."
On the contrary, many philosophers of science have noted a return to some form of the aether. Mainly because Einstein's interpretation of the STR was restricted to Empirical Verificationism, which is now rejected!
Karl Popper and James Cushing are two examples. Both point out that quantum theory has caused the re-emergence of the aether. What 19th century physics could not measure, 20th century physics can discover using microwave radiation. It may be that the cosmic background radiation serves as a universal point of reference that Einstein didn't think existed!
On the contrary, many philosophers of science have noted a return to some form of the aether. Mainly because Einstein's interpretation of the STR was restricted to Empirical Verificationism, which is now rejected!"
You missed the point of the M-M experiment. It was designed to measure the effects of the aether and showed that the effects did not exist.
to put this in a logical form for you:
(1) if the aether exists, then the Earth travels through it. T
(2) if the Earth travels through it, then there should be variations in the speed of light when measured from the Earth. T
(3) Therefore, if the aether exists, then there should be variations in the speed of light when measured from the Earth. Modus Ponens (1,2) T
(4) There are no variations in the speed of light when measured from the Earth. T
:. Therefore, the aether doesn't exist. Modus Tollens (3,4)
If you discount this, you have counted out both falsification and verification, which means the aether isn't testable. This would also make the aether part of a bloated ontology and impotent. Also, it only functions in the A-theory, which itself was dumped for the much more simpler and corroborated block universe.
"Karl Popper and James Cushing are two examples. Both point out that quantum theory has caused the re-emergence of the aether. What 19th century physics could not measure, 20th century physics can discover using microwave radiation. It may be that the cosmic background radiation serves as a universal point of reference that Einstein didn't think existed!"
Why are you quoting a philosopher and a physicist who held a fringe position about physics? That is an appeal to illegitimate authority, which is a logical fallacy. If you are quoting someone on physics, QUOTE MAINSTREAM PHYSICISTS. If you are not qualified to read scholarly journals, you could pick up any popular book by Brian Greene, Michio Kaku, Lawrence Krauss, Stephen Hawking, Leonard Mlodinov, Sean Carroll, etc…etc…
Quantum mechanics in no way points back to aether. I am assuming what you are talking about is that light can not travel through space, thus it needs the aether medium. This is actually not true. Einstein explained the mechanics of light travel and reconciled Maxwell's theories nearly 100 years ago when he introduced his theories of relativity. This was verified with by Arthur Eddington’s eclipse expedition and the prediction of Mercury's orbit, which eliminated the need for planted Vulcan. While this immediately did not eliminate aether, it led to a long series of tests that have pushed it to the fringes. There have been countless attempts to verify the aether, which have failed. If you do not believe me, here is a timeline of these experiments:
If you are simply referring to the space that these travel through as aether, you are committing a brutal ad-hoc fallacy and moving the goal post. Just calling space aether misses the whole point. This is similar to how fringe religious people whom understand science’s implications refer to God as love or hope. Ather was supposed to be a necessary medium required for light to pass through. Now we know that light requires no such medium, the concept adds no benefits to physics, and it has eluded all repeated testing for 100 years. Hence, it has been abandoned.