Will Science Eventually Kill God?
Impossible concept, and yet it has captured the attention of the news media of late (e.g., Wolchover, 2012). Will the bulk of society likely tend to continue its movement away from God in the coming years? Probably, since that has historically been the trend, inside and outside the Bible. But God has never been eliminated from human thought in the thousands of years of human existence, because His providential hand brings punishment on societies at those times when the population in sufficient numbers turns its back on God. Then inevitably follows a return by many to spiritual matters (see Miller, 2008).
Still, according to NBC News, Sean Carroll, a theoretical cosmologist at the California Institute of Technology, believes that science will eventually remove the need for God in the equation to explain certain Universal phenomena. He argues that, “God’s sphere of influence has shrunk drastically in modern times” (Wolchover). We are not sure where he is getting his information, because statistically, the world is en masse (84%) theist (e.g., “Major Religions of the World,” 2007), and the percentage of the population in this country that believes that God has played a role in the origin of the Universe (78%) is far beyond the secular evolutionary community (15%) (see Miller, 2012). While there certainly has been an increase in the ranks of the non-religious community in the past several years, the Earth is still, by far, theistic.
Carroll further argues that many of the phenomena that were once highlighted as proof of the existence of God, since science could not explain those phenomena, are gradually being eliminated, in his opinion. He believes that the need for a God to cause the Big Bang to “bang” is side-stepped by the idea of an eternal Universe—a Universe like the one theorized by the Oscillating Universe Big Bang model. [NOTE: This is not to say that we believe the Big Bang Theory to be true. We have outlined several issues that show the Big Bang to be false elsewhere (e.g., Thompson, Harrub, and May, 2003). We are merely addressing his assertions.] He believes that the problem of having a necessary cause for the Universe, even if the Universe is not eternal, is side-stepped by the idea that time started at the Big Bang, and therefore, there is no need of a pre-existing cause. According to Alex Filippenko, an astrophysicist at the University of California, Berkeley that is quoted in the article, “The Big Bang could’ve occurred as a result of just the laws of physics being there. With the laws of physics, you can get universes.” Carroll further argues that the “fine tuning” argument used by theists with regard to many physical constants that seem perfectly suited for our existence, can be side-stepped using theories about parallel universes beyond our’s (Wolchover).
Several comments are worth mentioning in response to Carroll. First of all, notice the tacit admission that God is still needed to explain some things in the Universe, even if they might eventually be eliminated in Carroll’s mind. Many issues that point to God have been eliminated, in Carroll’s opinion: but that implies that some remain.
Second, his attempt to side-step the problem of needing a “trigger” for the Big Bang by giving credence to theories that postulate the eternality of the Universe, does not lend to the idea that science has eliminated the need for God in that area. On the contrary, science has already spoken on that matter. Nothing lasts forever, according to the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics (see Miller, 2007 for an in depth discussion of the Laws of Thermodynamics as they relate to the Universe as a whole). So such theories are not in keeping with the findings of science. Since nothing lasts forever in nature, the Universe could not have lasted forever—God is needed.
His further attempt to side-step the issue of needing a cause for a non-eternal Universe Big Bang model, by arguing that time began at the Big Bang, is reminiscent of Stephen Hawking’s recent comments on the matter. However, as we have discussed elsewhere (see Miller, 2011), that idea is not in keeping with the scientific evidence either. The Universe could not have caused itself since, in nature, nothing comes from nothing. Energy cannot spontaneously generate, according to the evidence from science—specifically the 1st Law of Thermodynamics (see Miller, 2007). Theories that postulate such erroneous concepts are not in keeping with science. So, once again, science has not eliminated the need for God in that instance either. The existence of the Universe still requires an adequate Cause, according to the evidence from science.
Filippenko’s comments merely highlight another issue that science cannot explain without God—the existence of the laws of physics. A poem requires a poet. A law requires a law writer. As eminent atheistic theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and astrobiologist of Arizona State University, Paul Davies, noted, “You need to know where those laws come from. That’s where the mystery lies—the laws” (“The Creation Question…,” 2011). The atheist has no explanation for how the laws of science could have written themselves into existence, and there is no logical explanation outside of a cosmic Law Writer.
Carroll’s attempts to side-step the issue of the theist’s finely tuned Universe argument by postulating parallel Universes is not a sound argument. Science has not proven such a theory. No alternate Universe has ever been witnessed, and therefore is outside the scope of the evolutionary community’s own definition of empirical science. Such an argument is mere conjecture and speculation—not evidence. So again, science has not dismissed the need for God in this instance either.
Time and again, Carroll attempts to make his case for science eliminating God, by relying on theories that cannot be verified with science or that blatantly contradict the evidence from science. So, in the end, Carroll has not proven that science has or could ever eliminate God. The only thing he has proven is that atheists are not self-consistent in their viewpoint on this matter.
Is it true that many people today are accepting such “evidence” and are therefore turning from God? Are they in the process causing God to be eliminated from their minds—i.e., not “retain[ing] God in their knowledge” (Romans 1:28)? Is it likely that there will be more and more people in the coming years that join the bandwagon in rejecting God? Definitely. However, such behavior is not due to the evidence from true science, but rather, due to their own desires (cf. Romans 1:20-32). Ironically, while such atheists wishfully dream that science will one day kill God, science has actually already ruled out atheism as an explanation for the origin of the Universe (see www.apologeticspress.org for evidence on this subject).
“The Creation Question: A Curiosity Conversation” (2011), Discovery Channel, August 7.
“Major Religions of the World Ranked by Number of Adherents” (2007), http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html.
Miller, Jeff (2007), “God and the Laws of Thermodynamics: A Mechanical Engineer’s Perspective,” Reason & Revelation, 27:25-31, April, http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/3293.
Miller, Jeff (2008), “The Cycle of Unbelief,” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=7&article=2495.
Miller, Jeff (2011), “A Review of Discovery Channel’s ‘Curiosity: Did God Create the Universe?’” Reason & Revelation, 31:98-107, http://www.apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=1004&article=1687.
Miller, Jeff (2012), “Literal Creationists Holding Their Ground in the Polls,” Reason & Revelation, 32:94-95, September, http://www.apologeticspress.org/APPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=1093&article=2040#.
Thompson, Bert, Brad Harrub, and Branyon May (2003), “The Big Bang Theory—A Scientific Critique [Part 1],” Reason & Revelation, 23:33-47, May, http://www.apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=541&article=540.
Wolchover, Natalie (2012), “Will Science Someday Rule Out the Possibility of God?” NBC News: Science, September 18, http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/49074598/ns/technology_and_science-science/#.UFnWIlEpCeZ.