Sunday, 18 September 2016

Proof of a Creator - A Rejoinder to Theodore Schick, Jr

This essay is a rejoinder to a paper written by Theodore Schick, Jr., Professor of Philosophy, Muhlenberg College, Allentown, Pennsylvania. The 1998 paper is entitled *"The 'Big Bang' Argument for the Existence of God"* and is a rebuttal to the views held by Hugh Ross, noted astronomer and Christian apologist, as expressed within his book *The Creator and the Cosmos*. The paper was originally published in *Philo, the Journal of the Society of Humanist Philosophers*.
The impetus of Dr. Schick's paper is to discredit Dr. Ross's contention that the acceptance of the theory of the "big bang" as the beginning of the universe implies that it must have had a cause beyond the event itself, and Dr. Schick's corollary contention that such an assertion is nothing but a scientifically updated variation of St. Thomas Aquinas's "uncaused first cause" argument to prove the existence of God. As blasphemous as it might sound coming from a Catholic such as me, I acknowledge that Aquinas's reasoning left something to be desired in this case. I don't contest Dr. Schick's views on this point.
As a Catholic high school student, I once had the effrontery to ask a priest in religion class, "If it is sufficient to assert that 'God always was, always is and always will be' then why can't we just say the same about the universe?" (The priest's response was less than memorable.) In his paper, Dr. Schick echoes my youthful inquisitiveness:
"But if we're willing to admit the existence of uncaused things, why not just admit that the universe is uncaused and cut out the middleman? David Hume wondered the same thing...."
The meat of Dr. Schick's rebuttal to Dr. Ross's views is that Dr. Ross positions a higher dimensional time, a time in which the spacetime that we know and live within was created: the creator's time. Since the big bang is held to be the beginning of time, Dr. Ross argues, that implies it must have had a cause, as did the beginning of everything else. Since the big bang is the beginning of our time, then its cause cannot have been within our time (because an effect must follow its cause); rather, it must have been within the higher dimensional time of the creator that Dr. Ross positions.
Dr. Schick rebuts this argument as follows:
"This argument arrives at the conclusion that the universe has a beginning in time by assuming that the universe has a cause. But the big bang argument uses the premise that the universe has a beginning in time to arrive at the conclusion that the universe has a cause. So Ross is arguing in a circle. He is assuming that the universe has a cause to prove that the universe has a cause. Because Ross begs the question about whether the universe has a cause, he does not succeed in proving the existence of a higher dimensional time, let alone the existence of a transcendental god."
Dr. Schick is correct. It is, therefore, my intention within this essay to attempt to provide the justification that Dr. Ross's argument lacks to assume that the big bang (and, therefore, the universe) had a cause. For the benefit of my argument, I appeal to none other than perhaps the most venerated, self-professed atheist in scientific history, Albert Einstein himself! It is an understatement to judge it ironic that I perceive that such a renowned atheist proved, albeit unwittingly, the existence of God or, more precisely, a creator of at least some sort.
It was Hermann Minkowski, Dr. Einstein's erstwhile math teacher, who first pointed out to him that his special theory of relativity implied a four-dimensional universe, now usually referred to as the "block universe." In this scheme of reality, time is reduced to a mere fourth dimension, with the result being that the universe can no longer be viewed as being composed of space and time, but rather as an unified structure called "spacetime," with all events within the universe (including particles seemingly being created without a cause via vacuum fluctuations) occurring at the confluence of four-dimensional points.

Essays Creator
Free Dissertations 

No comments:

Post a Comment