Does God Exist? Quentin Smith's First Rebuttal

Quentin Smith

Well, Bill said I provided the theists with three arguments for God's existence. But that's ok, because I think Bill provided the atheists with four arguments for God's non-existence.

Now this starts off with his talk of a singularity.



















→ -2

→ -1

→ 0

→ 1

→ 2

→ 3...

Fig. 1.

Now, what Craig is suggesting is that prior to this first line there is some other event up here that will be the first event, earliest event, called the singularity, the Big Bang singularity and that God created that. But no physicist holds that the Big Bang singularity actually exists. The Big Bang singularity is an ideal mathematical limit to a series, in a sense of calculus. It's a limit that is approached but never reached. And what approaches it are events as they go backwards into the past. But they get closer and closer to the singularity, but they don't reach it. And they don't reach it because the singularity does not exist. And why doesn't it exist?

Well, it can't exist, because the definition of a singularity is of a self-contradictory entity. The singularity is supposed to be a zero-dimensional point. It's a spatial point, it doesn't have height, it doesn't have width, it doesn't have depth. It doesn't have 3 dimensions, 2 dimensions or 1 dimensions. It has zero dimensions! And this zero-dimensional point is supposed to be infinitely curved. Well, how could something that has no radius or size at all be curved whatsoever? It would be meaningless. You have to have sides to be curved in some way. But a zero-dimensional point has no sides. So this singularity that Bill wants to claim is the first event that God caused, it doesn't exist! It's a part of the mathematical equations of Big Bang cosmology that physicists interpret as not corresponding to anything real.

And secondly, the Big Bang singularity is metaphorically said that if it did exist, it would have infinite temperature. It would be infinitely hot. But temperature is the motion of molecules, or particles against each other. But the Big Bang singularity is a single zero-dimensional point. Nothing is moving. So it can't have infinite temperature. Temperature doesn't apply to it at all. And this zero-dimensional point is supposed to be infinitely dense. Well, it can't be infinitely dense, because it's got no matter in it. It's just a point. It's really nothing. And this singularity, if you try and mathematically represent it, it comes out to be mathematically ill-defined. Meaning that it is undefined mathematically and has no mathematical meaning. Because if you try to define it, you would have to have zero spatial dimensions. And then say the density - let's say there are trillions of tons of matter in the universe, but let's just imagine that there are 15 tons - so you have 15 tons divided by 0. But, you know from mathematics that you are not allowed to divide by 0. It's an undefined term in mathematics. It makes no sense. That's just a meaningless expression. Say, there's 15 divided by 0. I mean, it doesn't even mean that. It's just like saying "jabba, jabba, jabba". It has no meaning whatsoever.

And further, the contradiction is even worse what we know with this. That the matter is 3 dimensions of space. Height, width and depth. Well, this has zero dimensions! Zero "d"! So how could something with 3 dimensions fit inside something with zero dimensions? Well, it can't, it's a contradiction. So that's why physicists agree that the singularity does not exist. And therefore, there is not this earlier strange event.

Now here, n being something over 0, now the "earlier than" line, now that would be either uncaused or caused by God, there's nothing at all here. This is the beginning of universe, that first line, where all events are caused. And in fact, when Bill says that Hawking believes there is a singularity, he is incorrect on 2 accounts. First, Hawking used to believe that, in the 1960s and early 1970s, but all he was saying is that when we go back in time, we get to this mathematical representation of a limit, that we can never reach because it's a contradiction. So the universe can’t be extended beyond that contradictory point because it doesn't exist. But in his later theory, starting in 1983, he said the universe doesn't go back to this abstract limit called the singularity. He said the universe goes back to a timeless 4-dimensional space that's uncreated. So we have a timeless 4-dimensional space that's uncreated on Hawking's theory. There's no need to create it, it has no beginning. And Bill's basic argument is that everything that begins to exist needs a cause. Well, a timeless space, since it's not in time, doesn't begin to exist and needs no cause.

And as for Bill's claim that the leading physicists in this area told him that they didn't agree with my interpretation of their theories. Well, my response is that Hawking, Hartle, Vilenkin, Isham, Linde and the others, when they communicated with me, they told me they agreed with my interpretations of their equations. So we have a battle here of either they are saying opposite things to each of us, or something else is going on.

And when Bill talks about our universe being improbable, he is misusing probability theory. Now, there would be an infinite number of possible universes. Mathematicians would it “continuum many”. And you can get more mathematical. If the continuum hypothesis is true there would be the infinite number, aleph-1. But in any case, that's implied by a mathematical theory called measure theory, that if there are that many possibilities, then each possibility has a zero chance of ever becoming actual, has a zero prior probability. And anything that has a zero chance of becoming actual, a zero prior probability, must have a zero posterior probability. So Bill's argument about our universe being improbable is based on a misuse of probability theory. I mean if it used his theory, it would follow that our universe, like every other universe, would have a zero chance of becoming actual. But since we are actual, that's not true.

Now, as for the big rock realizing itself. Of course that would be an interesting way to characterize my theory in my book Ethical and Religious Thought in Analytic Philosophy of Language, but it would not be an accurate one. Basically what I was doing in that book was taking environmental ethics, which says that even plants - any life forms, ecosystems - have moral value. And I was taking that one step further than anyone so far has taken that. So it's a new type of ethical theory and new types of ethical theories will always meet initially with responses of less than plausible. So it's like when Tom Reagan (?) came out with his book that animals have rights, everyone said "that's crazy, that's insane". But now that's fairly widely accepted. So what I'm saying is take environmental ethics further and say that even inanimate things have value. Let's say that matter has value. Time has value. And if to be good is to develop your nature, well, what is it for time to realize itself? It's for time to keep on going, to continue. So the longer time lasts, the more it develops its nature. And what is it for a spatial extension to realize its nature? Well, it's to achieve a greater spatial extension, it's to get bigger. Now, there is of course a hierarchy of values. Inanimate objects have the lowest value of all, so that's why we never pay attention to them. I mean the values of animals and humans are much greater than of inanimate objects, so that's why we are rarely concerned with breaking apart inanimate objects, even though that would prevent them from realizing their nature.

I wasn't clear about Bill's argument that humans are animals and primates and for some reason that means they can't understand morals, or can't ground morals, or somehow they're not moral. I couldn't really follow that argument. But, certainly humans are animals, as everyone grants, they're rational animals. But they have a cerebral cortex that's evolved so it's large enough to understand moral values. And understand inter-subjective moral values. And understand their validity. So we have, in that sense, we have objective moral values.

But Bill is going back to what I discussed in my opening remarks, saying that, well, with theism you have objective values because God's commands give objective values. But God's commands are just God commanding his own beliefs and that's purely subjective. God is saying "I believe such-and-such is good". But what reason do we have to believe that what this one person God - why should we believe that what he believes is good is good? And what I was going to say before I was cut off at the beginning... <time ran out>

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