Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Is Evolution Scientific (Part Two)
The only question that matters to Ray is what came before the beginning, "nothing" or "God." That there was no "before the beginning" -- that the universe might have existed, if not forever, then at least for all the time that has ever existed and hence not need a cause or explanation -- Ray does not consider. He does insist that science has shown that the universe cannot have existed forever, though he does not say how science has shown this. One might suppose that a science that cannot distinguish between a universe 13.8 billion years old and one 6000 years old (Ray has insisted that he has no idea how old the universe is, implying that science really has no idea either) might not be able to tell the difference between a finitely-old universe and an infinitely-old one, and might have missed some means of constantly cleaning up the accumulated entropy of an infinitely old universe (e.g. some variant of Hoyle and Gold's "steady state" universe).
Likewise, Ray does not consider the idea of some other universe as a precursor to or cause of our own: he does not consider even to mock or reject such ideas as a cyclic universe or some meta-universe giving rise to this one. And of course he does not consider the possibility that we don't know, that the question is scientifically unanswerable, and that "it must have been a supernatural Creator" is one of the possibilities that science cannot demonstrate and that we cannot know. He may have, here, a fairly large gap, but this falls short of "scientific proof" that only God could fill it.
Ray briefly mentions fine-tuning (the point that if dozens of physical constants did not have values falling within, apparently, a very narrow range of possible values, stars and galaxies and worlds could not form naturalistically and life could not evolve) but does not mention, even to mock, the idea of a multiverse where all possible combinations of physical constants exist and we simply find ourselves in the one where life like our own is possible. Granted that in infinite number of variant universes is a rather extravagant hypothesis founded on a mere possibility suggested by inflationary Big Bang theories, when your alternative explanation for something is an infinite-personal Creator of unlimited power, pretty much any explanation looks at least as parsimonious.
And it does seem to me that if you're arguing that life and worlds did not form naturalistically -- that everything was specially created, quite possibly only several thousand years ago -- then the universe you're positing doesn't need fine-tuning, and its existence is something of a paradox: why should a Creator endow the universe with properties it needs for abiogenesis and evolution that, you claim, could never happen?