This section I would have loved to title Creationism Under Fire, but it would then make the titles of my rebuttals to the book I Don't Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist out of whack, and it is also the case that this section is a direct follow-on from the previous post discussing this chapter.
In this post I won't discuss a direct point the authors have raised, but I will discuss the general vibe of the chapter so far (only three pages in). This will focus on two points:
1) The origin of the term 'Big Bang'.
2) Creationism In Crisis, or, How Christians View The 'Big Bang Theory' Depending On How Literally They Interpret Genesis.
1) The Origin Of The Term 'Big Bang'.
I find it slightly amusing that Geisler and Turek use the term 'Big Bang' to their take on Biblical cosmology, considering how the term 'Big Bang' was first coined. And for this, we need to thank Fred Hoyle.
Did Hoyle believe in an expanding universe? Actually, no. He coined 'Big Bang' as a pejorative to the idea that the universe had a beginning - Hoyle was a Steady-State theorist, much like Einstein was until his fateful trip to Mt Wilson.
So this is where the 'Huh'-meter gets turned up: Einstein, a person who actually changed his mind in accordance with the evidence, becomes the butt of an incredibly childish remark by the authors because of an error that Einstein eventually owned up to (and some have speculated may not be an error after all), whereas Geisler and Turek see no irony in using a term originally created as a pejorative for their theory, by the guy who didn't change his mind according to the evidence, much like religious people do whenever they are confronted with evidence that goes against their book (Answers In Genesis, anyone?).
Hoyle stubbornly attempted to reinterpret the data to make it fit his model - and has been shown to be incorrect through numerous studies.
2) Creationism In Crisis.
I'd love to see what Ken Ham would say to Geisler and Turek about all this if we got them in to a room to slug it out.
But why is it in crisis? Well, Geisler and Turek, in trying to side with science when it shows that God created the universe, use the fact that Einstein observed that the universe is moving apart from a central point (thus discovering The Truth ™), comes in direct conflict with Ken Ham and Answers In Genesis who state that there was no Big Bang - God merely created the universe in one day and that's all there is to say about that!
So which one is it? Did God use the Big Bang, or didn't he? As it is logically impossible for both something to happen, and for that something not to happen at the same time as well, Christianity needs to make up its mind, and those who want to speak for Christianity need to kick harder against those who destroy its reputation from within.
And this is where we come to the crisis - I can tell you now that God isn't going to tell anyone the answer. Considering the advances in science that improve health and prevent humans from dying unnecessarily such as vaccines, germ theory, mental illness treatment, food refrigeration, et al, had to be discovered by humans and not by God handing these things down on a scroll from heaven, it's pretty safe to say that God isn't going to reveal how the universe was actually created.
Someone speaking on God's behalf may give an answer, but then this leads to the next question - how do we verify that what God's person is telling us is factually correct?
a. If God's prophet/prophetess tells us that God created the universe just like the Big Bang model describes, then we didn't actually need God to tell us that - science has already taken measurements of the universe and come up with a theory to fit the data, hence God is useless.
b. If God's prophet tells us that God created the universe as we see it and did it all in one 24-hour period, then if that really is the case - God created everything in an instant - then God has deliberately set up a faith that requires us to disbelieve our senses, our capabilities and our technologies, thus making God either irrational at best, or deceitful at worst.
But the follow-on from this is an absurdity: we have galaxies that are billions of light years away, which means that the light from a particular galaxy has taken 13'000'000'000 years, travelling at maximum speed, to reach us. What the Creationists want us to believe is that those galaxies that were created on the fourth day, and would have to have been seen by Adam and Eve, somehow travelled 13'000'000'000 light years away in the space of less than 6'000 years - which means either light somehow travelled faster than what understand the speed of light to be (but this has the unfortunate effect making mass proportionally decrease to infinitesimal values, as per E=m c-squared, so if c increases by a factor of at least 2.16 million, mass has to decrease by as much to keep the energy value the same), or that God is playing tricks with our telescopes.
Why else would God create the entire universe in one day, leave all this evidence that the universe was created billions of years ago, then make it your fault that you don't believe in this God based on the evidence?
Or a third scenario - a prophet tells us God created the universe neither in one day, nor using the Big Bang model, but an alternate model of the beginning of the cosmos. For this to be proven correct, we would need to acquire tools, technology and skills to verify this alternate model.
And until that model is proven correct, or at least explains the available data better than the Big Bang model, God is at best unverified, or at worst unverifiable.
I accept the Big Bang Theory as the best explanation so far for how the observable universe came to be the way it is, and it looks like many Christians do as well, so I am glad to see that we have something in common.
But my contention is this: just because the universe had a beginning does not mean that Jesus rose from the dead.
To say that there was an intelligence or a super-power behind the creation of the universe does not mean that that intelligence or that super-power is the Christian God. You, the Christian, have to conclusively prove that it was your God who indeed created the universe before you casually out-of-hand dismiss the creation claims of other religions.
A Muslim could just as quickly say that it was their god that created the universe. Atenists could just as easily argue that the universe was created due to the actions of the pantheon of Egyptian gods. A Bahai could also argue that their god is so majestic and powerful that the only way to explain the universe's existence is because of the glory of their god.
Until next time, have a good Christmas and New Year, stay safe, don't eat too much...or don't eat too much for too long!
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