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Scientific proof of creation?
Posted: 05 May 2009 12:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]  
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More concerning thermodynamics-

Let me begin by addressing two commonsense notions: (1) you cannot get something from nothing, and (2) the order of the universe requires the pre-existence of an active intelligence to do the ordering. I will leave it to the theologians to explain how the postulate of a creator God solves the problem of creation ex nihilo, since God is something that, itself, must have come, uncreated, from nothing. Instead I will address the physics issues implied by the creation of the universe from nothing. In physics terms, creation ex nihilo appears to violate both the first and second laws of thermodynamics.

The first law of thermodynamics is equivalent to the principle of conservation of energy: the total energy of a closed system is constant; any energy change must be compensated by a corresponding inflow or outflow from the system.

Einstein showed that mass and energy are equivalent, by E=mc2. So, if the universe started from “nothing,” energy conservation would seem to have been violated by the creation of matter. Some energy from outside is apparently required.

However, our best estimate today is that the total energy of the universe is zero (within a small zero point energy that results from quantum fluctuations), with the positive energy of matter balanced by the negative potential energy of gravity. Since the total energy is zero, no energy was needed to produce the universe and the first law was not violated.

The second law of thermodynamics requires that the entropy, or disorder, of the universe must increase or at least stay constant with time. This would seem to imply that the universe started out in a greater state of order than it has today, and so must have been designed.

However, this argument holds only for a universe of constant volume. The maximum entropy of any object is that of a black hole of the same volume. In an expanding universe, the maximum allowable entropy of the universe is continually increasing, allowing more and more room for order to form as time goes by. If we extrapolate the big bang back to the earliest definable time, the so-called Planck time (10-43 second), we find that universe started out in a condition of maximum entropy—total chaos. The universe had no order at the earliest definable instant. If there was a creator, it had nothing to create.

Note also that one cannot ask, much less answer, “What happened before the big bang?” Since no time earlier than the Planck time can be logically defined, the whole notion of time before the big bang is meaningless.

Furthermore, within the framework of Einstein’s relativity, time is the fourth dimension of spacetime. Defining this fourth dimension as ict, where t is what you read on a clock, i = sqrt(-1), and c is the speed of light, the coordinates of time and space are interchangeable. In short, time is inextricably intertwined with space and came into being “when” or “where” (language is inadequate to mathematics here) spacetime came into being.


Spontaneous Order

So, where did the order of the universe come from, if it did not exist at the “beginning”? Where did the laws of physics come from, if not from some great lawgiver? We are now beginning to grasp how the laws of physics could have come about naturally, as the universe spontaneously exploded in the big bang.

To understand this, we first have to recognize the prejudice that is built into the whole concept of physical law. When Newton developed mechanics and gravity, the Judeo-Christian notion of God-given law was already deeply engraved in his thinking, by his culture. Even today, science is interpreted by public, media, and scientists alike as the process of learning the “mind of God.”[1]

However, the laws of physics, at least in their formal expressions, are no less human inventions than the laws by which we govern ourselves. They represent our imperfect attempts at economical and useful descriptions of the observations we make with our senses and instruments. This is not to say we subjectively determine how the universe behaves, or that it has no orderly behavior. Few scientists deny that an objective, ordered reality exists that is independent of human life and experience. We simply have to recognize that the concept of “natural law” carries with it certain metaphysical baggage that is tied to our traditional, pre-scientific modes of thought. We are going a step beyond logic to conclude that the existence in the universe of order, which we conventionally label as the laws of nature, implies a cosmic lawgiver.

We are gradually learning that several of the laws of physics, those that seem the most universal and profound, are in fact little more than statements about the simplicity of nature that can almost go unsaid. The “laws” of energy, momentum, and angular momentum conservation have been shown to be statements about the homogeneity of space and time. The first law of thermodynamics, conservation of energy, results from there being no unique moment in time.[2] Conservation of momentum follows from the Copernican principle that there is no preferred position in space. Other conservation laws, such as charge and nucleon number, also arise from analogous assumptions of simplicity.

For the mathematically inclined, the conserved quantities are generators of the symmetry transformations involved. A homogeneous universe, one with a high level of symmetry, is the simplest of all possible universes, just the kind we would expect to happen by accident. In such a universe, many conservation laws will automatically exist.

In general, the conservation laws need no explanation beyond the mathematical symbols used to represent the corresponding symmetry. On the other hand, an observed violation of a conservation law would demand an explanation, for then we would have evidence for a deviation from simplicity and homogeneity. To explain this deviation, we have to go beyond the assumptions that require the fewest parameters, that is, are the most economical.

By an equally simple but somewhat different argument, the second law of thermodynamics is found not to be some underlying principle of the universe, but rather an arbitrary convention we humans make in defining the direction of time. Nothing in known fundamental physics forbids the violation of the second law. No mechanical principle prevents the air emptying from a room when you open the door, killing everyone inside. Physics does not forbid a human from growing younger or the dead rising! All that has to happen for these “miraculous” events is that the molecules involved are accidentally moving in the right direction at the right instant. Of course these miracles are not observed to happen except in fantasies, but only because they are so highly unlikely.

We introduce the second “law” to codify what all of human experience testifies, that air does not empty from a room, people do not grow younger, and the dead do not rise. But these events are not impossible, just highly improbable. Influenced, like Newton, by our culture, we falsely state that these unlikely events cannot happen because the second law “forbids” them from doing so.

The second law of thermodynamics, along with the arrow of time and the notions of causality and determinism, arise as statistical statements about the likelihood of events that emerge as principles we invent to describe the world of everyday experiences.

Other, more complex and less universal laws of physics appear to arise from spontaneously broken symmetries. When a quantity such as momentum is observed not to be conserved, we introduce the notion of a “force” to break the corresponding spatial symmetry. By this means, the force laws and other principles that give structure to the universe arise as spontaneously broken symmetries—accidental, uncaused events that occurred in the first fraction of a second of the big bang as the expanding universe cooled. The process can be likened to the formation of structure in a snowflake from water vapor, or the magnetizing of a bar of iron cooled below the Curie temperature.

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Posted: 05 May 2009 01:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]  
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’ what in the proof (and not in the defence posted here) is an argument from ignorance’

That the Big Bang was a singularity that was the beginning of the universe.

This is not the commonly held view of modern Cosmology, thus the statement is ignorant.

Whomever wrote the commentary in the intial post is ignorant about BBT.

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Posted: 05 May 2009 02:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]  
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I will also offer this-the ‘argument from incredulity’ or the argument from ‘ignorance’ is explained here.

Basically it is what we have been trying to explain here. Because something may not yet have a natural explanation, we simply should not jump to a supernatural one.

A supernatural creation of the universe still offers zero evidence.

http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CA/CA100.html

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Posted: 05 May 2009 06:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]  
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Excellent post McC, gets the point across very well.

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Posted: 05 May 2009 09:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]  
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Thanks McCreason. Much to chew on.

I would simply argue that this “proof” is really a form of the logical fallacy of “begging the question”

The premises basically say that there is no natural explanation for the existence of the universe, so the conclusion must be that the universe had an un-natural, or supernatural explanation.

Essentially, the conclusion is in the premises if you play around with the words.

Have I got this wrong?

SB

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Posted: 06 May 2009 06:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]  
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‘The premises basically say that there is no natural explanation for the existence of the universe, so the conclusion must be that the universe had an un-natural, or supernatural explanation’

Yes, however that is not entirely correct. There is some evidence for a natural explanation of the origins of the universe. Everything is not well understood however.

Some evidence then leaves it unproven, although there are explanations and speculations of how it could have happened.

However, a supernatural explanation by default only, with ZERO evidence of it’s own, does not suffice as an answer.

If our natural explanations are incomplete or even incorrect, we must continue to seek more evidence and see where it takes us, not make the quantum leap to the supernatural explanation. Only those of an absolutist mindset, that must have an answer today, right now, do such a thing.

Religions offer all answers, based on dogma. Science is a work in progress, based on evidence.

[ Edited: 06 May 2009 06:37 AM by eudemonia]
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‘If ignorance of nature gave birth to gods, knowledge of nature destroys them’

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Posted: 06 May 2009 06:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]  
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Silver Bullet - 06 May 2009 01:37 AM

The premises basically say that there is no natural explanation for the existence of the universe, so the conclusion must be that the universe had an un-natural, or supernatural explanation.

Essentially, the conclusion is in the premises if you play around with the words.


Not only that, but the notion of “supernatural” is nonsensical to begin with. We’ve just been programmed to give it a free pass.

Byron

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Posted: 07 May 2009 06:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]  
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SkepticX - 06 May 2009 10:38 AM

Not only that, but the notion of “supernatural” is nonsensical to begin with. We’ve just been programmed to give it a free pass.

Byron

Perfect. I can’t wrap my mind around above nature or outside of nature. I find it difficult to argue against the idea that even things that are man made and not produced naturally are not natural since its natural for the human brain to have acheived it. There’s no such thing as supernatural.

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Posted: 07 May 2009 11:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]  
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goodgraydrab - 07 May 2009 10:01 PM
SkepticX - 06 May 2009 10:38 AM

Not only that, but the notion of “supernatural” is nonsensical to begin with. We’ve just been programmed to give it a free pass.

Byron

Perfect. I can’t wrap my mind around above nature or outside of nature. I find it difficult to argue against the idea that even things that are man made and not produced naturally are not natural since its natural for the human brain to have acheived it. There’s no such thing as supernatural.

One of the obstacles faced in trying to get experimental methods accepted in the 16th & early 17th centuries was the distinction made then between “art” and “nature.”  Science was supposed to discover the course of nature, and interposing an artificial experimental situation was thought to be interfering with nature, hence not able to give accurate information about nature itself.  Bacon was one of the early ones to argue that experiments might be artificial, but they were also a part of nature.

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Posted: 08 May 2009 06:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]  
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‘There’s no such thing as supernatural.’

Precisely. As one of my favorite quotes goes-

‘There is no such thing as the supernatural or the paranormal. Only the natural and the normal, and the mysteries we have yet to explain.’

Michael Shermer

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Posted: 08 May 2009 07:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]  
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If this forum had awards, the Sammies, I would award one to McCreason for this thread:

McCreason - 05 May 2009 04:51 PM

However, the laws of physics, at least in their formal expressions, are no less human inventions than the laws by which we govern ourselves. They represent our imperfect attempts at economical and useful descriptions of the observations we make with our senses and instruments. This is not to say we subjectively determine how the universe behaves, or that it has no orderly behavior. Few scientists deny that an objective, ordered reality exists that is independent of human life and experience. We simply have to recognize that the concept of “natural law” carries with it certain metaphysical baggage that is tied to our traditional, pre-scientific modes of thought. We are going a step beyond logic to conclude that the existence in the universe of order, which we conventionally label as the laws of nature, implies a cosmic lawgiver.

McCreason - 06 May 2009 10:27 AM

If our natural explanations are incomplete or even incorrect, we must continue to seek more evidence and see where it takes us, not make the quantum leap to the supernatural explanation. Only those of an absolutist mindset, that must have an answer today, right now, do such a thing.

Put another way, the “supernatural” is purely an artificial category, driven by the baseless assumption that unexplained events have to involve exceptions to physical laws. The idea that the laws of physics have inherent existence suggests an authoritarian worldview.

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Posted: 08 May 2009 10:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]  
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Silver Bullet - 05 May 2009 03:56 PM

I’ve checked out the links above, which address creationsim versus evolution as an explanation for the diversity of life. Those links do not address the origin of the matter of our universe. They do not indicate that the laws of thermodynamics as characterized in the proof as it is written here are poor. To my knowledge, nobody has ever demonstrated phenomena that break the laws of thermodynamics. Ever.

Please tell me:
(i) what in the proof (and not in the defence posted here) is an argument from ignorance
(ii) what is incoherent about the logic
(iii) where the premises have gone wrong.

Sure it does.  You can read Alan Guth’s response to the laymen’s notion that all this energy came from nowhere here:

http://www.toarchive.org/indexcc/CF/CF101.html

Since he put it that way in 1997, we now have a growing heap of evidence suggesting he was exactly right.  The premises are wrong in that they ASSUME that conservation of energy means things it doesn’t mean and that there is such a thing as conservation of matter.  Matter isn’t conserved.  It is just another form of energy that can come into existence or be annhiliated and create gamma rays. 

Also, those premises ignore much of the modern interpretation of quantum mechanics that suggests that until matter is detected, it doesn’t exist in full objective reality, thus making the notion that the universe is a closed system false under the definition these ppl understand it.  Those particles in terms of their properties, according to the modern interpretation of QM, don’t have the property of potential or kinetic energy.  They simply have energy ‘in potetia’ which is only realized upon detection.

 


As for the “proof”...

The idea of the universe always existing contradicts the third premise…for an infinite amount of time would have passed, plenty of time for entropy to have increased to the extent of inert uniformity. Thus the universe did not always exist, but had a beginning, or is still coming into being.

Time isn’t something to be tampered with so clumsily as is seen in this argument.  There is no reason to assume that causailty rules apply to the singularity at the heart of the BB nor any reason to assume that time was always flowing.  In fact, there is no reason to think that is the case at all and there is evidence suggesting that’s not true. 

Furthermore, the universe is seemingly finite in space.  That, however, doesn’t mean that it must have ‘come from nowhere’ or that the energy it had/has couldn’t have come from an outside source.  Just as you can have a temporarily open system that becomes closed later on.  Who is to say the energy didn’t come from a big crunch?  Who is to say the energy didn’t come from another universe colliding with another universe and bubbling out ours? 

If we live in a purely closed system, what of gravitons in string theory?  What of the multiverse theories?  What about the interpretations of QM that say particles don’t exist in our natural universe until detected…where are they before detection?  When they come into existence, are they not violating the premise that the universe is a closed system? 

If the universe (total of all matter and energy) had a beginning, then its matter and energy couldn’t have come into being within itself.

What does this mean?  What is ‘a beginning’?  Does taht mean prior to existence?  And if so, what of the fact that time and space are intertwined?  If the universe was there spatially, what about the temporal dimension?  If it wasn’t there and flowing, what does it even mean to say item A came into being and caused B?  What does this do to the rules of causaility?  It ruins them.  And why assume that the universe didn’t have that energy this whole time?  Modern thought on cosmology seems to suggest that the total sum of net energy in the universe is exactly zero, so no external energy would be required to get where we are.

The same applies if the universe is still coming into being. So his conclusion is that since the universe had a beginning, and since its matter and energy could not have arisen within itself, then it must have come into it from outside itself…..from outside nature itself. That which is outside nature is, of course, the supernatural. Thus the production of matter and energy within the universe had a supernatural source.

Both possibilities are absolutely plausible.  The energy may well have come from without via the branching or colliding of other universes…or maybe Guth is right and there is no net energy to speak of.  The former shows the definition of the universe being a closed system to be false at some point in the past which ironically defeats the proof altogether.  The latter disproves the premise that there is a net amount of energy to begin with and thus goes against the notion that there was ever a need for an outside source of energy to begin with. 

This is, of course, ridiculous seeing as the conclusion to this “proof” is that some outside actor put energy into the early universe which violates the closed system assumption.  In other words, the conclusion of said proof disproves the assumption its own premise is based on!

[ Edited: 08 May 2009 11:23 PM by tavishhill2003]
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Posted: 09 May 2009 07:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]  
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tavishhill2003 - 09 May 2009 02:31 AM

. . .
Also, those premises ignore much of the modern interpretation of quantum mechanics that suggests that until matter is detected, it doesn’t exist in full objective reality, . . .

Could you clarify the modern interpretation? Does it position biological activity—or perhaps human agency—as being fundamental to the existence of matter? Or, perhaps that matter as “we” know it does not exist anywhere, and that some form of biological activity or agency is required for the illusion of matter to take place and “matter”?

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Posted: 09 May 2009 07:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]  
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I would like to know what ‘matters’ and what doesn’t.

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‘Every reflecting mind must acknowledge that there is no proof of the existence of a Deity’

‘If ignorance of nature gave birth to gods, knowledge of nature destroys them’

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Posted: 09 May 2009 09:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]  
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unknown zone - 09 May 2009 11:51 AM
tavishhill2003 - 09 May 2009 02:31 AM

. . .
Also, those premises ignore much of the modern interpretation of quantum mechanics that suggests that until matter is detected, it doesn’t exist in full objective reality, . . .

Could you clarify the modern interpretation? Does it position biological activity—or perhaps human agency—as being fundamental to the existence of matter? Or, perhaps that matter as “we” know it does not exist anywhere, and that some form of biological activity or agency is required for the illusion of matter to take place and “matter”?

It’s complicated and requires a lot of context.  Let’s just say there are experiments that can be done that show some extremely bizarre behavior by tiny “particles” be it photons of light or electrons or whatever.  I found this to be extremely useful in helping someone understand some of the things I noted.  Stenger only says one thing that I wasn’t particularly satisfied with but it is a statement about the uncertainty principle that is parotted constantly that isn’t false, but can be misleading in some ways.  Here’s the chapter of his new book I’m talking about:

http://www.colorado.edu/philosophy/vstenger/Dice/08Spook.pdf

The only deeply consistent interpretation of these experiments that I know of suggests that the particles or whatever ya wanna call them don’t possess the properties you’d require to say they exist in full reality.  They don’t have the property of position in space or time at all.  They still seem to have mass and discrete possibilities for momentum, but it si the act of detection that actually forces them to materialize in some location with some momentum. 

When I say ‘detection’, I don’t mean detected by intelligent agents necessarily.  I simply mean they are “measured” in some way, which could mean via electron scattering microscopes in a lab or via absorption and emission of photons by electrons in some atoms within interstellar dust clouds.  So don’t take my comment to suggest there is anything special about human detection.

[ Edited: 10 May 2009 10:43 PM by tavishhill2003]
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