Magazine article The New American

What Science Says about the Existence of God

Magazine article The New American

What Science Says about the Existence of God

Article excerpt

It is often stated not only that religion and science are not compatible, but that science disproves God's existence. We explain what science does show.

The second chapter of Carlos Calle's book The Universe: Order Without Design makes clear Calle's disdain for religious explanations of natural events:

   Mythological tales that attempt to
   explain the universe can be found in
   most prescientific societies. The Minoan,
   Chinese, Norse, Celtic, Indian,
   and Mayan cultures all weaved myths
   to explain the universe that they observed....
   Still other tales, such as the
   Genesis account, detail in an anthropomorphic
   way the creation of the
   Earth, the sky, the sun, the moon, the
   stars, the living creatures, and finally,
   the human race.

Famed cosmologist Stephen Hawking begins his video documentary Grand Design, about the beginnings of the universe, in a similar manner, telling about the ignorant Norse and their religious beliefs.

Derision is typical of arguments given against there being a god. Usually, the arguments are premised on the idea that, scientifically speaking, it is not logical for a god to exist: No scientific test has proven the existence of God. If God existed, and if He is all good as Christians postulate, why would He let bad things happen--especially to His followers? Also, the universe is a very inhospitable place that is, as far as we know, almost entirely devoid of intelligent life, and that fact calls into question the idea of some sort of grand plan: Why would a god create an entire universe to merely have one speck in the universe--Earth--suitable for a lifeform such as man? Moreover, invisible beings --such as God, leprechauns, elves, and nymphs--must be imaginary and mythical because to exist they would have to be outside of space and time. And since science can explain how nearly everything came into being since the "big bang," even explaining the formation of intelligent life without a supreme being, it is likely that everything happened by chance, rather than being guided by a god.

Matters of Math and Matter

For those who do believe in God, it may come as a shock, but religious arguments --such as Scripture says, or the Koran says--are, objectively speaking, among the least compelling for convincing others of God's existence. This is true because those books are essentially history texts that transmit morals, and anyone who has a different set of morals (or doesn't believe the history) will tune out the message as inconsequential. So if one wants to try to prove that God exists, one should rely on known facts to build a case for the existence of God. The question is, "Is this possible?"

Theists contend that there is a god that is outside space and time, while atheists assert that not only can a physical object exist without ever being created, it can exist forever. One seems as improbable as the other--and as likely as the other.

Atheists, especially those who consider themselves scientific, would say that it's not. So let us see.

The primary argument that theists--those who believe in the existence of God --often first argue is that the simple fact that there is physical matter at all confirms the existence of God, because a tangible thing cannot come into being without it being created in the first place. (In religious-speak, this is the "first cause" argument: If one can explain everything back to the Big Bang, yet cannot explain what caused everything, the universe is still unexplained.) In response, some atheists contend that matter has always existed and that theists cannot prove otherwise. As well, some non-believers argue that it is as equally valid to ask theists where God came from as it is to ask non-believers where matter came from.

Here, both sides present arguments based on phenomena that are scientifically inexplicable. Theists contend that there is a god that is outside space and time, while atheists assert that not only can a physical object exist without ever being created (without causation), it can exist forever. …

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