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William Lane Craig and his Formidable Grasp of Modern Cosmology

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88 thoughts on “William Lane Craig and his Formidable Grasp of Modern Cosmology

      • Yep. How anyone can’t admit that we can only speculate on the origin of our universe and form hypotheses that can’t yet be tested fully is beyond me. I have trust in the scientific method. If we survive as a species long enough, the things we’ll learn will be amazing. We may find out a precise answer. It won’t involve Jesus and the fucking New Testament, but I bet we can make amazing discoveries if we keep trying. Craig’s bullshit isn’t even a Christian view of things though. I need for him or one of his lackies to explain to me how exactly the New Testament fits into their intelligent designer shit. Even if Craig is right, and he’s not, it wouldn’t explain what the fuck Jesus has to do with it. Total crap.

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      • After being pressed for an answer by Shelly Kagan in a debate Craig confessed the only reason he insists there is a gawd lurking somewhere is because he hates the idea of the universe extinguishing and life disappearing. That’s it. That was his explanation: a personal repulsion to something which might not even be the case. Rightly so, Kagan then slammed him for ignoring all the meaning people have now, here.

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      • Fascinating. It sucks to die, for things to come to an end, so let’s create an afterlife in our minds, put all of our eggs into that basket being more important than the real one right here in front of us, fuck up the one in front of us, and then blink out of existence having never experienced fully living in the beautiful world we actually already have. Shrewd guy, that Craig. Brilliant SOB.

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  1. I dug back to the Craig-Vilenkin correspondence as recorded on Craig’s own blog, http://www.reasonablefaith.org/honesty-transparency-full-disclosure-and-bgv-theorem#ixzz2uFjRbUF8, and found this gem, from Vilenkin:

    Whatever it’s worth, my view is that the BGV theorem does not say anything about the existence of God one way or the other. In particular, the beginning of the universe could be a natural event, described by quantum cosmology. [emphasis added].

    Which is all Krauss claims anyway, so I don’t see how Craig can use this. What matters to Craig is not whether the Universe had a beginning, but whether that beginning required a supernatural cause, and Vilenkin very plainly says that it didn’t..

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    • Yes, I’ve seen that email exchange. Craig seemed to act like a schoolboy after it. Odd man.

      Did you catch the debate with Sean Carroll the other night? My favourite part was when Carroll described WLC’s understanding of science as: “Asking, ‘What was the cause?’ is like watching someone take a photo with an iPhone and asking ‘Where does the film go?’”

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    • I agree completely with your reading on this. Craig’s argument is that there simply must be a supernatural, intelligent god-guy, thingy who made the universe. Vilenkin does not agree with that nor does Krauss or anyone else thinking scientifically. And even if we say Craig’s idea is one explanation for the universe coming into being, it is only one of several, the others not requiring a god to have started them. Craig can not admit this. He might be wrong. He is wrong, but a “might” would be a huge advance for him. Won’t happen though. Thus, 0 credibility.

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    • For a long time scientists held that the universe was eternal and unchanging. This allowed them to avoid the God question, who or what caused the universe, because they reasoned that a beginningless universe needed no cause.

      Scientific discoveries in the early and mid-20th century, however, forced cosmologists to the uncomfortable conclusion that our universe came into being in the finite past. The scientific consensus was that the origin of our universe constituted the origin of physical reality itself. Before the Big Bang, literally nothing existed. The universe came into being from nothing and nowhere. This sounded too much like the creation narrative in Genesis, however, and seemed to require the God of Genesis to make it happen. As a result, some cosmologists were feverishly looking for ways to restore an eternal universe.

      Several theories have been put forward over the last 50 years. None of them have enjoyed the empirical confirmation that supports the Big Bang model. They are either lacking in empirical support, or have been disconfirmed by the empirical evidence. This is why Vilenkin concluded, “All the evidence we have says that the universe had a beginning.”

      Science cannot answer the question ‘what caused the beginning?’ because science trades on material causes, and you can’t have a material cause before the origin of material reality itself. Whatever caused the universe to come into being must be immaterial, timeless, non-spatial, powerful, and intelligent.

      The scientific evidence for a temporally finite universe continues to mount, and this fact leads us toward a theological conclusion about its origin.

      As Robert Jastrow famously wrote, “For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance: he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”

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      • I don’t like the Big Bang. I don’t like God either. But if we do have to have a BB, why limit it to just the one? Why not an eternal recurrence, a cyclic universe?

        I don’t like ‘science’ either, science is just too fashion-conscious. Flat Earths were the latest rage once, now they’re right out …

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      • Thanks, but you really don’t need to give anyone here a science history lesson, Bobby. Also, do try to not insert your own version of science history. The theistic worldview lost favour because of one simple reason: it didn’t match reality, and it never will.

        “forced cosmologists to the uncomfortable conclusion that our universe came into being in the finite past”

        -That is complete and utter rubbish. The only honest answer here is “we simply don’t know what was happening before inflation… and we will not know until we have a working understanding of quantum gravity. You are a classic example of why theists aren’t taken seriously. Now, you quote Vilenkin, yet I see you don’t quote the BGV’s co-author, Guth, who quite clearly says the universe is more than likely past eternal. Are you aware, Bobby, that the BGV is also pretty much a useless model regarding origins as it only deals with classical physics. It doesn’t account for QM. I suspect you didn’t know this, or you wouldn’t be hooking your cart to it. Craig makes the same mistake, but he gave up being intellectually honest a decade ago. Vilenkin (an atheist, mind you) admits the BGV cannot (and does not) explain anything pre-inflation.

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      • Hey, interresting comment BOBBIERILEY JR! Have you read the creation narrative in the Genesis? The mere idea, that this material universe had a beginning may be common between the fairytale narrative in Genesis and the big bang model, but let us be honest – that is about as far as any similarities go. The big bang model has about as much shared information between the Genesis account as the big bang model has shared information whith the creation myths in any ancient religions. However, the big bang model does not by any length tell us wether there was a material universe before the beginning of this material universe, nor to be honest does the Genesis account. On the contrary, a nother material universe existing before this one is the most simple explanation for the model. But we do not know, what was before that. Do we?

        An intelligent designer entity outside reality of the material universe is a non-explanation, that does not even account for itself, let alone for the material universe.

        Even, if there was a confirmed revelation from a higher being than humanity of this entity being the creator of the universe, we could not possibly know wether that entity was being honest. Could we? And there are no confirmed revelations. Are there? All we have are old (and some not so old) stories from literally dozens of mutually exclusive cultral traditions. Most of which come from an age when understanding of the material universe was so narrow, that gods got invented for all unexplained phenomenons in the nature. Right?

        There is an iterresting dilemma about any intelligent designer being any particular god. Are those intelligent designers willing to have us know they are out there, or not? Should people take a wild guess (most often based on their cultural heritage, than anything else) which one of the alledged creators is the real one, or should they not?

        Many religions demand people to choose their particular deities, but if these entities are so difficult to verify even to exist, that it takes faith rather than observation of their existance, then why this demand? If the demand is unreasonable – since so many of even the scientists have sincerely been unable to believe in any particular form of creator – then why such a demand? What could be the purpose? To make sure theologians, and not scientists, theists and not atheists get some reward in afterlife for believing because of evidence or regardless of it? In the case of theologians they would be rewarded for their appliance of logic. In the case of scientists the same appliance of logic would lead to punishment. In the case of us common dudes the reward would be for not applying logic and punishment for not having enough information to confirm ourselves of something.

        How can you jump for not knowing a material cause to something into it “must be immaterial, timeless, non-spatial, powerful, and intelligent”? That is quite a leap of faith. The fact that you do not know something does not imply the answer must be what you can infer from any ancient tradition from people who most propably did not have any better answers.

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      • It seems humans have a passion that drives us to discover the unknown. There are scientists in every conceivable field of study. Theories are presented when answers readily elude them . The exact answer to the origin of the universe is unknown to scientist.

        Argus, you ask, “Why not an eternal recurrence, a cyclic universe?”

        I would ask you what is the catalyst that would enact the recurrence and what is there that we know of that is eternal?

        John, you like to throw the word reality around like our origin is settled when in reality there is no proof. The origin of the Universe, as well as evolution, are unproven theories.

        The inflation theory is a hypothesis to attempt to explain the extremely rapid exponential expansion of the early universe. At wiki’s page, Cosmic_inflation,
        i find; hybrid inflation, eternal inflation, chaotic inflation, and new inflation.

        Why so many different theories? In order to work, and as pointed out by Roger Penrose from 1986 on, inflation requires extremely specific initial conditions of its own, so that the problem (or pseudoproblem) of initial conditions is not solved: “There is something fundamentally misconceived about trying to explain the uniformity of the early universe as resulting from a thermalization process. […] For, if the thermalization is actually doing anything […] then it represents a definite increasing of the entropy. Thus, the universe would have been even more special before the thermalization than after.” Penrose, Roger (2004). The Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe. London: Vintage Books, p. 755. See also Penrose, Roger (1989). “Difficulties with Inflationary Cosmology”. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 271: 249–264

        The problem of specific or “fine-tuned” initial conditions would not have been solved; it would have gotten worse.

        A recurrent criticism of inflation is that the invoked inflation field does not correspond to any known physical field, and that its potential energy curve seems to be an ad hoc contrivance to accommodate almost any data we could get. Paul J. Steinhardt, one of the founding fathers of inflationary cosmology, has recently become one of its sharpest critics.

        Rautakyy, you make many valid points. Your reply, in essence, is the question of all questions. WHY believe the Bible?

        The Bible is an extraordinary work of literature, and it makes some astonishing claims. It records the details of the creation of the universe, the origin of life, the moral law of God, the history of man’s rebellion against God, and the historical details of God’s work of redemption for all who trust in His Son. Moreover, the Bible claims to be God’s revelation to mankind. If true, this has implications for all aspects of life: how we should live, why we exist, what happens when we die, and what our meaning and purpose is. So, why believe it is all true?

        First, Christianity is only as true as the person of Jesus. He fulfilled prophecy, claimed to be God in flesh, performed many miracles, died, and physically rose from the dead. Christianity is about Jesus, his claims, and his deeds. It is based on him and it is only as true as he is true.

        Second, Christianity is consistent with reason, facts, history, and shows evidence of God’s inspiration in the Bible.

        Third, all other religious systems are either unverifiable or irrational in their teachings.

        Chafer (Chafer, Lewis Sperry; “SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY”; Dallas, TX: Dallas Seminary Press, 1947) “the Bible is not a book that men could write if they would, nor would write if they could”. This is pithy way of saying that the Bible is absolutely unique in such an overwhelming way that it defies logic, defies faith to believe that it is not divinely inspired. Can this be proved scientifically? Perhaps not. But read it. And re-read it. One of the things that continues to impress me day after day and year after year is that such a collection of writings spanning some fourteen centuries should be so completely consistent in its message, in its tone, in its purpose, in its power to inspire for God’s good.

        His book deals at length with the fact that the Bible had supernatural origins. Below are his thoughts condensed into 15 topics.

        1. THE BOOK OF GOD: The book of God asserts this fact for itself many times over. The question some raise is whether it was written by a man or revealed by God and recorded by man. The structure and message of the book demand a divine author.

        Man could not set out to write a book of this size. He would not have the ideas of it, nor would man be able to produce the detail and precision of it. It presents God as THE God. It presents God as having a plan. It presents God only as deserving glory. It presents God as the absolute authority.

        The unregenerate man could not subdue his own pride to produce such a God, nor could he exalt his talents to a level capable of producing such a book.

        2. THE BIBLE AND MONOTHEISM: The Bible presents monotheism – one God, not many. Mankind has always had many gods, be they wood, clay, gold or silver. Idolatry is in every civilization to some extent. The Bible presents a one-God religion. How could man devise such a thought as one God in a world of many gods?

        3. THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY: The doctrine of the Trinity is so complex yet so simple as to demand a divine origin for the Bible. The Trinity is three persons in one God. Stated it is simple yet the explanation has evaded man since the subject was undertaken for study. We cannot explain the how of the Trinity only the fact of it.

        The work each member of the Trinity is involved in is also very complicated – the Fatherhood of God, or the perfections of Christ. Man cannot adequately explain these things so how could he devise them?

        4. CREATION: The creation is the beginning of the content of Scripture. This creation is presented as fact and is described in Scripture. Man’s explanation of the beginning of the world is tied up in evolution. Even with the best product evolution could produce, that person could not have produced the Biblical account. Evolution is shot through with problems and gaps. Man could not devise a creation as perfectly presented in Scripture.

        5. SIN: Sin is presented in Scripture. Forty authors, are in complete agreement on sin and its existence. Man could not devise such a thing as sin from his own mind. Sin is a divine statement and idea not a man made doctrine.

        6. THE CURE OF EVIL ACCORDING TO THE BIBLE: The Bible’s cure for sin is so divine as to demand divine authorship.

        Man would not devise a plan of salvation because without Scripture he doesn’t know he needs it. Even if man knew he needed salvation he could not dream up a plan whereby all could be saved apart from works or vanity.

        Man could not devise a plan of salvation where the one redeeming would gain all the glory. Man could not come up with such a beautiful plan aside from having it revealed to him by God.

        7. THE EXTENT OF BIBLE REVELATION: The extent of the Bible demands a divine author. It reaches minutely into eternity past as well as eternity future. Human authors aside from revelation could not make up such detail nor such broad perimeters.

        8. THE ETHICS OF THE BIBLE: The ethics that the Bible produces have never even been hinted at in man’s religions. Purity and holiness of life are the divine standard while in most of man’s we find debasement and immorality.

        The Bible presents man as an utter failure and unable to help himself. Man in his vanity even today has trouble comprehending such things, much less making them up.

        Only a divine author could take a moral system such as Judaism and lay it aside for another system so different yet presenting the same morality as Christianity. Man could not come up with such a moral standard based on the teachings of a book without revelation from God.

        9. THE CONTINUITY OF THE BIBLE: The continuity of Scripture declares a divine editor and revealer – 66 books, 40 authors and hundreds of years of history. The authors are separated by time, space and education. They come from all walks of life and most of them never met one another, yet they came together to form one central story of the Son of God, Jesus Christ.

        He is shown as pre-incarnate. He is shown in prophecy as coming. He is shown as here in His first advent. He is shown as coming again in the future.

        One man could produce a work with continuity but this combination of authors and times has to be divinely assembled. Man could not produce such a work.

        10. PROPHECY AND ITS FULFILLMENT: Prophecy along with its fulfillment is proof that the Bible is of divine origin. Man can think and project what might happen in the future based on knowledge, history and common sense, but man cannot accurately predict specific occurrences and have those occurrences come to pass. The Scripture is full of prophecies that have been fulfilled and which will yet be fulfilled.

        11. TYPES WITH THEIR ANTITYPES: The types of the Old Testament and the antitypes of the New Testament are of such splendor that they must have divine origin. The fact that the type was set to words by a person other than the one setting down the antitype, and this being done hundreds of years apart, shows divine origin. This would require divine intervention!

        12. THE BIBLE AS LITERATURE: The Bible is considered great literature even by the unsaved. If a man had been setting these great words down, he most surely would have left some personal opinions and pronouns to let the reader know that it was he that had written the work.

        The truths are not from the men but from their God so that they left no opinion of their own or personal pronouns to lay claim to any of the truths.

        Many of the church fathers have been prolific writers, however, none of these have even touched the clarity and preciseness of Scripture, nor have they touched the literary quality of the Word.

        13. THE BIBLE AND SCIENCE: Science is in constant revision. The world was flat – remember – and now it is round. The scientific world is always redoing and redefining to fit the exposed facts. The Bible on the other hand has always been acceptable in all ages without revision or redefining.

        Where the Bible has seemingly contradicted science in the past, the scientists have found that they were in error in later days.

        14. THE BIBLE AND TEMPORAL POWER: The Bible is not dependent upon political power, or clout to get its job done. The believer can do the work of the Lord with or without the help of the governmental powers.

        Man naturally, when he wants something done, will try any means to achieve his end. They often use political power, or strings with politicians, to achieve their goal.

        If man had written the Bible he would not have been able to come up with the idea that man could do the work of the Lord relying on the heart and mind of others rather than political power.

        15. THE BIBLE’S ENDURING FRESHNESS: The constant new blessing a person gains from the Word even when he has read, and read, and read a portion there is always something more to be gleaned from its content. No other literature can make this claim to freshness and vitality.

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      • Standards here are a bit too high. Let’s go down a peg or two, just for second. Then, like Jesus did to Lazarus after he resurrected him, I’ll disappear.

        “15. THE BIBLE’S ENDURING FRESHNESS: No other literature can make this claim to freshness and vitality.”

        That’s bull. I have porn I’ve owned since the 6th grade that’s just as intellectually stimulating and erotically engaging now as it was the first time I ever used it to relieve my boys by reducing their load.

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      • I do believe that’s the greatest rebuttal ever delivered in the history of human debating!

        It’s settled: I’m going to have you encased in gold, mounted on a granite pedestal and placed in my town square 🙂

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      • A response, BTW, laden with all the respect I’ve grown to have over the decades of my life listening to the same memorized route rhetoric which lacks even the possibility of, or understanding of, intellectual growth.

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      • The origin of the Universe, as well as evolution, are unproven theories.

        This is clear misunderstanding of what science is – a method – leading to one to being an anti-science advocate in a scientific world. Welcome back to the Iron Age, bobbierileyjr.

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      • The Iron Age is too progressive of an age for anti-science folks. The development of iron age tools and weapons resulted from scientific methods, even though they were not called that or known as that. Anti-science types need to go back to a time before hominids were cognitively able to see things like cause preceding effect. That way, they can have their fucking science free world, and reap all of its advantages over this one.

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      • The Jewish tribal god can’t even counter iron-age tech. It says so right there in the inerrant word:

        “And the LORD was with Judah…but he could not drive out the inhabitants of the plain because they had chariots of iron.” Joshua 1:19

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      • Hilarious video. Don’t know how I’ve not come across it before. Thanks for posting to the poster. No, not the poster on the wall, the person who POSTED the video. Christ, do I have to explain EVERYTHING?!

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      • Plagiarism, Bobby? Congratulations, you just made baby Jesus cry.

        Ron, you’re like the entire Justice League all rolled up into one fact-checking, luminous sphere of crime-fighting awesomeness.

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      • Well, thanks John, but bobbie makes this easy. His entire opening comment, for example, was ripped verbatim from this website.

        Bobbie clearly has no original thoughts of his own. To engage him is to engage the unaccredited sources he’s pulled from the Internet.

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  2. Don’t get it. I even googled Vilenkin and read the other comments before putting ‘don’t get it’. Did we have to watch a video first? Is Vilenkin not respected? It’s fun not having to re-deconvert on reading one of your posts for a change. 🙂

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    • Watch any Craig debate and Vilenkin’s name will be thrown out like bullets from a machine gun. He is the V in the BGV Theorem (Borde-Guth-Vilenkin) and said some of the universes the theory he co-authored postulated cannot go back infinitely into the past, meaning they (in his opinion) had a beginning. WLC has leapt on this claiming it proves the universe had a cause, and that cause was the god God. Of course, Alexander Vilenkin disagrees with him, but this doesn’t stop Craig from quote mining this one possibility (a beginning) in EVERY debate he has.

      Aren’t we passed the re-deconversions and onto stylish cult status and giant red clown shoes?

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      • Okay, maybe I’ll watch this infamous WLC then, just to understand why Ark is such an angry man if nothing else. Re-deconversion is a holy high ritual, I always put my red shoes on for it. My favourite bit is when the shoes turn into sacrificed monkey flesh on my tongue, at the point when re-deconversion flurries in my soul. You should know that, you’re the leader and all …

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      • I’ve said it before but who ever listens to a flea-bitten old dog? If everything has to have a cause, God is part of everything—so He (She, It) must likewise: ergo, a Godier God created that God. And before HSorI an even Godier Godier God, so on etc etc ad infintem going back (bugger, Heaven is getting a wee bit overcrowded already, just with Gods—an infinite number of ever more omnis having to share just a few million human souls …)

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      • Ahhhh, but dog, the theist will say you can’t have an infinite regress, ergo: Goddidit! Now, granted, they never actually say why you can’t, nor do they ever explain why if they’re going to break the chain of causality by inserting a Gawd then why not simply grant this same exemption to the universe itself?

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  3. Anyone who has been exposed to a WLC debate and then sees this picture cannot help but laugh. V represents the sciencey part of Craig’s truthiness presentation that supposedly links reality to his philosophically logical argument. The problem is, V states categorically that his science in no way supports Craig’s asserted premises. Once again, when people confuse philosophy with the method of science to reveal reality, there is only a lot of blabbering.

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  4. I must confess, this is one xian fundamentalist who has escaped my radar. I don’t know if I need to feel relieved (with one less annoyance) or concerned that my radar is on the fritz. 🙂

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  5. I don’t know the guy and haven’t seen/heard the discussions. But your image carries your opinion of him and his ‘message’ beautifully … from that one picture it’s as if I’d sat down and had tea-and-bikkies with him for hours. Weeks, even.

    And now to troll through all the comments with a clear conscience (hopefully I’ll find some demented Christians to savage the ankles thereof). No challenge, no fun, but hey—I’m desperate.

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    • As he does, repeatedly, without care or concern for context. I had to laugh when Sean Carroll called him out a few times for 1) mining, 2) context blunders, and 3) misrepresentation.

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  6. WLC likes to quote mine Many Worlds in One” (2007) by Alex Vilenkin. But one page after a quote that Craig likes is this:

    “Theologians have often welcomed any evidence for the beginning of the universe, regarding it as evidence for the existence of God … So what do we make of a proof that the beginning is unavoidable? Is it a proof of the existence of God? This view would be far too simplistic. Anyone who attempts to understand the origin of the universe should be prepared to address its logical paradoxes. In this regard, the theorem that I proved with my colleagues does not give much of an advantage to the theologian over the scientist.”

    Weird. I wonder why Craig doesn’t quote this as well.

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  7. And this is another reason why I want to hit my computer screen every time that smarmy git appears of the Facetube.

    It is about time scientists developed a vaccine against him…

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  8. The idea of an oscillating universe appeals greatly to my sense of tidy—Big Bang out of nothing, rapid expansion, slow down, stops; collapse, slow at first ever accelerating, Big Crunch (the original BC), everything shrinks down into nothing … nothing lasts for ever, then suddenly POOF it all happens again, for ever …

    And some egghead even spent his sinecure on trying to conclude that ‘echoes’ of the previous universe(s) still manage to find their way past the BC and BB.

    Actually, faced with this ol’ God doesn’t seem too bad. (Wanna join me in a new religion? We’ll make a bundle …)

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  9. Pingback: The things Christians believe | Random thoughts

  10. Of course there is infinite regress, as the flea bitten Argus should know:

    Big fleas have little fleas
    Upon their backs to bite ’em
    And little fleas have tiny fleas
    And so ad infinitum.

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