God is not Necessary

According to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, there is no such thing as absolute zero energy (also called vacuum energy) in infinite space for infinite time.  In fact, energy fluctuations in empty space cause virtual particles to spontaneously come into existence all the time.  According to Lawrence Krauss, virtual particles account for most of the mass in the universe (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ImvlS8PLIo&feature=relmfu)

If it is impossible for energy not to exist, then by definition energy is necessary.  Therefore God is not necessary for the existence of energy.

If energy is the cause of virtual particles, then virtual particles are contingent upon virtual energy and not upon God.  Virtual particles are a type of matter.  Then God is not necessary for the existence of  all matter.  If Krauss is right, that virtual particles make up most of the mass of the universe, then God is not necessary for the existence of most of the matter in the universe.

Edward P. Tryon proposed back in 1973 that the entire universe was the result of a large-scale energy fluctuation.  Work to understand how the matter we observe can come into existence from energy fluctuations is still underway.  A new class of high-energy experiments will shed new light on this question now that the Large Hadron Collider (LHC)  is online.  Rather than speculating now that all matter is contingent on energy and not on God, let’s stop here and be content to narrow God’s gap.  In the mean time, we’ll continue to ask theists to justify their special pleading when they claim that “everything is contingent… except God.”

15 Responses to God is not Necessary

  1. andrew k says:

    No matter what kind of scientific proof is found, brainwashed folks will always be able to do the whole, “God is above the laws of physics, and no human brain can comprehend him”. The more complex the science, the easier it is for the “godlies” to rationalize it.

    I prefer to go with the whole, “it’s obvious that man created god, and I understand why. There are so many reasons why a god is a good thing to make, but that does not make it true… it’s so transparent that anyone but a child should be able to see right through it.”

    “Furthermore, I think that you, (talking to a ‘godly’), actually know that it’s fake, but it would be such a challenge to your brainwashed belief system.. and the truth has been so stigmatized, that you cannot possibly give in to that ‘truth’ nonsense, at all.”

    I have been to many religious ceremonies throughout my life, and the one constant I have found is that they all spend a great deal of time trying to convince themselves that it’s real. How can facts compete with that?

    • andrew k says:

      cool science though!

    • Daniel Brag says:

      So you insult the theist, rather than coming up with a reasonable argument.No,i myself as an agnostic, do believe that the existance of god cannot be porved, or disproved, I do not “know that it is fake”, because both atheism , or theism lack evidence in their own essence.You say this to an atheistic , and they just go off the point, trying to prove how religion has no evidence , is illogical, …The thing is I ALREADY SAID THAT RELIGION DOESN’T CARRY EVIDENCE.NOW IM ASKING YOU TO PROVE YOUR POINT ,RATHER THAN KEEP REPEATING WHAT I ALREADY CONCLUEDED.
      Lack of evidence definitly DOES NOT scientficaly disprove something.If that was the case, the atoms did not exist before experiments confirmed it(don’t go telling me that this was empiricaly observed in the first moment, because Democritus came up with the original concept, philosofically, not empirically).
      The point is there is no evidence for neither atheism , or theism, and both are scientifically illogical.

    • The Atheist says:

      Daniel,

      The difference between your description of the agnostic view and the atheistic view seem to be that atheists would say that one should not accept extraordinary claims without evidence. You seem to be saying that unless an extraordinary claim can be disproved, it is valid and should be considered.

      An example of problems with this type of thinking is Bertrand Russell’s cosmic teapot (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russell%27s_teapot). There’s no evidence to dispute the existence of the teapot, but there’s also no evidence supporting it either. Such an extraordinary claim should be rejected for lack of support.

      The atheist position doesn’t required proof because it doesn’t assert that gods do not exist. Rather, it refutes specific claims that gods exist, because those claims are as yet unsupported extraordinary claim. According to atheistic thought, these unsupported extraordinary claims should be rejected.

      My view of agnosticism might be a bit different from yours. While I assert that claims I’ve heard for the existence of gods are unsupported or invalid (and I therefore remain unconvinced that gods exist), I remain agnostic about claims I’ve not yet heard, or about gods that I’ve not yet heard of. Since I can’t assess the validity of a claim that I have no knowledge of, I remain agnostic about those.

      • Daniel Brag says:

        A+theist, from greek a+theos, literally “godless”.meaning:” a disbelief in the existance of deity”.

        Right in the definition of atheism, it makes that assumption :”there is no god”.I highly doubt that this daring assumption might be proved scientificaly, aswell as I doubt that the existance of god might be proved scientifically, therefore I characterize myself as an agnostic.This is my view of agnosticism.

        There are those atheists who are more moderate in their view ( i particulary think of those as more agnostic than atheist), that assert that they haven’t seen evidence supporting the claim of the existance of god, therefore they are not convinced of their existance.I think of this assertion as perfectly reasonable, as it does not claim dogmaticaly that god does not exist, an assertion that lacks evidence.

        But the mainstream vision of atheists , at least from what I observe, is that there is DEFINITLY no god, or superior force of any kind that created the universe, as there is no evidence currently suporting this claim.This is scientificaly incorrect, because for one to assert that something DEFINITLY does not exist, there is the need of concrete evidence wich points to the impossibility of this thing to exist.Bell did that in his theorem, proving the impossibility of local hidden variables theories to explain quantum phisycs predictions.

        Well, no one has proved the impossibility of the existance of god yet, so if one assert that god simply does not exist, this would be a belief of his, of no more scientifical value than the religious belief.Of course, you might see no sense in religious beliefs, and put them as invalid , due to lack of evidence, but science does not allows you to COMPLETLY discharge them , or any kind of superior force , otherwise science would not progress at all, as new things are always being discovered.Again, the atom is a great example, as there was no evidence of its existance when it was first thought, but then it came out as being true.I hope this clarified my position.

        • Daniel Brag says:

          Just clarifying a point here: I don’t believe that any of the positions will ever be proved, but this is a belief of mine.Scientificaly , either the existance or non existance could theorethicaly proved in the future, as new evidence could come up.

      • The Atheist says:

        It’s a mistake to presume that etymology is always a reliable indicator of the modern meaning of a word. For example, Christians were known as atheists among Hellenists because Christians rejected the Greek gods.

        I am an atheist because I don’t believe gods exist. I haven’t seen any evidence to convince me that they do. I think we can adequately explain why humans invented the concept of god, and I think there is already enough evidence to show that the universe is more likely the product of natural causes than the product of a creator.

        I can and do discharge specific claims about specific gods. In fact I have discharged every claim I’ve heard so far. However I can’t claim to know with certainty that I will never see evidence for the existence of a god. I doubt strongly based on induction that this will ever happen, but I can’t know for sure that it won’t happen. Since I can’t know, I therefore remain agnostic in this regard by definition. Having discharged all claims I’ve heard for the existence of gods, and in the absence of other evidence for or against the existence of gods, then the most reasonable position is to believe that gods don’t exist (consider the Invisible Pink Unicorn for example).

        • Daniel Brag says:

          Of course, there might not be evidence of the existance of a superior force yet, and thus you might not believe in their existance.The point is it resumes to this exact point: you don’t BELIEVE.

          What would theoretically make the atheist position more reasonable than the theist, acording to you, is that based on the following assertion:”No evidence has been found .So, based on induction, I doubt it ever will.Thus it’s highly unlikely that gods actually exist.”After you get past ” No evidence has been found “, the rest are just beliefs.Induction certainly has it’s value but saying “Something has yet to be proved, so it will never be ” is against science itself, as this affirmative would result in it’s stagnation.Things that couldn’t be proved at one point , were in many cases proved in the future.

          You THINK that the idea of god ever being proved to be true is absurd, but in science it’s pretty much possible.For you to assert scientificaly that something does not exist (your own position about god), you actually HAVE to prove it, otherwise this hypothesis would be as scientificaly valid as the one that it does exist.So, for science, both positions have the same value: they cannot be proved, and the strictly scientific aprorach in this case is a neutral one: it could be either.You could believe that the moon is made of cheese, but science has proved this to be false.You could think that the earth is flat, but again it has been proved to be false.So these approraches are not scientifically valid , as they have been proved as being wrong.But neither God’s existance or inexistance have been proved, so science remains neutral about this issue, and both positions have the same scientific value.

          What caused the universe to exist, if there was any cause, is still a mistery.The atheist position in most cases is that the universe has always existed, and therefore no explanation is needed for this issue.This involves simply accepting that the universe don’t have a cause, even though it defies reasoning itself.Causality is one of the key pillars of science:for an effect there must be a cause(it exists even in quantum physics; we just can’t predict precisely the effect).Abandoning causality to make a forced explanation about the existance of the universe is not a scientific approach.

          Then we come to this article, where it is said that vacuum energy has always existed, therefore virtual particles could have always be created, and so matter could have always existed, according to Heisenberg’s Uncertainty.The problem is : before the Big-Bang stuff gets complicated.This article supposes that the universe always the same structure of the present.That is not the case.As we get closer to the Big-Bang, laws that describe the universe now stop working.When we get to the moment of the Big-Bang, and before it turns out to be even more complicated, and theories diverge.Some believe in the big-crunch, others,like Einstein believed that matter, energy and even the space-time were created at that moment as a singularity that exploded, together with many other different theories.The Heisenberg Incertainty principle does not allow us to describe what happened in those moments close to the Big-Bang, even because that the laws that worked then were different from those that work now.

          The big question remains, and theists’s “hypothesis” cannot YET be scientifically discharged, thus they are as reasonable as atheism.Maybe the CERN experiment will shed some light on this issue.

        • The Atheist says:

          Daniel,

          I’m a little confused by why you would continue to argue this point:

          The point is it resumes to this exact point: you don’t BELIEVE…After you get past “No evidence has been found”, the rest are just beliefs.

          … since this is something that I’ve proposed from the outset (and in my many blog posts prior to this one): that I don’t believe gods exists.

          “Something has yet to be proved, so it will never be” is against science.

          I agree. And thank goodness I didn’t make a statement like this, or I’d be in the unenvious position of having to justify it or abandon it.

          You THINK that the idea of god ever being proved to be true is absurd.

          Why would you think that? Hopefully, the thing that makes you think that will be something I actually said.

          For you to assert scientificaly[sic] that something does not exist (your own position about god), you actually HAVE to prove it

          Agreed. And again thank goodness that I didn’t “assert scientifically” that gods do not exist. I do assert that there is no basis for believing that gods exist.

          neither God’s existance[sic] or inexistance[sic] have been proved, so science remains neutral about this issue

          Science remains neutral on the issue because there are no falsifiable hypotheses claiming that gods exist. Similarly, science remains neutral on the existence of invisible pink unicorns because there are no falsifiable hypotheses claiming that invisible pink unicorns exist. That does not mean that science views the existence of invisible pink unicorns and the nonexistence of invisible pink unicorns as equally valid hypotheses. It’s that science only considers falsifiable hypotheses as being worthy of any consideration at all.

          It’s up to us to decide what to believe. Science informs our decision based on the reality that can be observed. Reason should suggest to us that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence before they are to be believed. There is no credible evidence for the existence of gods, any more than there is credible evidence for the existence of invisible pink unicorns. Then we should believe that neither gods not invisible pink unicorns exist.

          [causality] exists even in quantum physics; we just can’t predict precisely the effect.

          Radioactive decay and vacuum fluctuations are known in quantum physics as uncaused events. It’s not that we don’t yet have sophisticated enough means to predict the event, it’s that it’s theoretically impossible to predict the event. There is a probability of the event but no certainty.

          Abandoning causality to make a forced explanation about the existance[sic] of the universe is not a scientific approach.

          Agreed. However recognizing cases where causality theoretically fails, and the ramifications that failure of causality has on our understanding of how things can come into existence (for example virtual particles, or the singularity of the Big Bang) is essential to understanding our universe, including virtual particles and the Big Bang.

          Regarding the existence of vacuum energy and physical laws near the time of the big bang, I agree. However you seem to be only considering theories that are some 30 years old or more. I recommend looking at some of more recent work, including M-Brane theory (and Superstring theory in general), and work by Lawrence Krausss and others who are finding evidence that the sum total of energy in our universe is zero (the Big Bang occurred without input of energy), and that nearly all the mass in the universe is due to virtual particles (so most of what exists came into existence spontaneously).

          theists’s “hypothesis” cannot YET be scientifically discharged, thus they are as reasonable as atheism.

          From the scientific point of view, there is no “theist’s hypothesis” that gods exist since theist’s have yet to formulate claims that are falsifiable and which remain unfalsified. Theists have indeed made some falsifiable claims, they were proven false. An example is the claim of a geocentric universe as evidence of our special status in the universe, and therefore evidence of our Creator.

          • Daniel Brag says:

            This is becoming a no way out discussion.You think that if there is no empirical evidence for something to exist, one should believe that this something doesn’t exist.Again, remember the concept of atom?Let’s supose you were living at that time.There was no evidence of it’s existance.Then you would disagree with Democritus, I guess, and claim your point of view as being more reasonable, as there was no evidence present at that moment.You would be wrong , after all.The atom, as well as many other concepts in science were first born philosofically, and there were no physical evidences of their existence then.This is why I argue that this kind of thought “There is no physical evidence, then I do not believe in it” is not as reasonable as it might seem.

            The superstring theory, although extremely present in popular science, is not well accepted in the scientific community.There were no convincing experiments realized yet which confirmed it.Therefore, it is not part of the Standart Model.And the Standart Model predicts that the Big-Bang is the beginning of space-time.For vacuum fluctuations to happen, vacuum must exist.If there was no space-time in a moment “before the big-bang”, there was no vacuum, and therefore, no vacuum fluctuations could happen .This is what the current model predicts.Maybe new theories, after experimentally proved, will give us a new insight in the conditions in which the big-bang took place.But the current model do not give this insight, and certainly do not predict possible “pre big-bang vacuum fluctuations”.

            But even if these fluctuations actually caused the big-bang, it doesn’t draw out the question.Where did these fluctuations come from?What causes vacuum to exist?It has simply always existed?Then we come back to the original point:dogmatically accepting it has always existed is not a feasible solution to the problem.

            PS: although certain quantum events are indeed completly random, one could think of a philosofical cause to these events.

            Example:An Uranium atom decay in a completly random time.But the emission of the alpha-particle(the effect) happens because of the uranium(the cause).If there was no Uranium, there would be no alpha particle emission.

            Furthermore, random quantum events happen at fixed probabilities.Why do these probabilities exist?One could think of a god, which determine them…

  2. I think your conclusion is probably true. The chances of God being completely and absolutely disproved is unlikely because of the characteristics that theists attribute to God, and how they can always throw in a “ya but”. Convincing theists to become atheists through scientific evidence is of course the only possible course of action in such a task, but sadly, it may not end up terribly successful most of the time. On the other hand, theists seem to hang on to the notion that they can more successfully argue atheists out of atheism only to make them selves look even more foolish most of the time.

    As strange as it is, I think the bible actually reveals the ways in which a theist will be convinced to become atheist or agnostic to the point that they basically don’t believe. I think if a theist has thought they have heard God and than based on what they where instructed by God, they experience great amounts of displeasure due to consequences, they become likely candidates to no longer believe, where as theists who have plenty of pleasure in their lives tend to be more secure in their “Beliefs”.

    The bible story of Job, however, illustrates a theist who continued to believe despite what is portrayed as excruciating displeasure, but the story has it that he ends up with twice as much pleasure in the end as what he started, of course you never know how much emotional scaring would have remained with someone like him if they actually had those experiences.

    Does any of this make sense?

  3. The Atheist says:

    Let’s be clear that we are talking about a certain type of person. Not all theists are stubbornly irrational. Most are very rational. We are talking about people who cling to a theistic belief to the extent that they are either unable or unwilling to consider any argument that would risk a change in their belief. These people employ a-priori defenses against rational thinking. An example of this is a belief that doubtful thoughts are a sin.

    In this context, what you said makes sense but I think it’s pessimistic. I understand the pessimism; I used to think that no amount of reasoning can change the mind of a person who is determined not to change his mind. But my view has changed.

    My problem was that my view of change was too narrow. I used to expect that if I could put forth a reasonable argument for atheism, any theist would finally abandon his emotional attachment to his belief and then rationally consider the argument. But that’s a pretty rare event. Usually, theists avoided the points, evaded questions about their own beliefs, and appealed to the authority of scripture. Any discussion seemed pointless. But I noticed that if I watched any of these people over a longer period of time, they would slowly change. They wouldn’t necessarily abandon theistic beliefs altogether, but they would begin to recognize the validity of some of the points that support atheism.

    If you take even a broader view, you might notice that there isn’t nearly as much support for creationism a la Genesis as there was say 5 years ago. Now you hear about “guided evolution”. Evolution is finally becoming fact even for fundamentalist theists. You might also notice that the discourse about the Big Bang is going in that direction too. Fewer fundamentalist theists are denying the Big Bang. For most the Big Bang is now a fact. Now they say that God caused the Big Bang.

  4. Zafar Rahmani says:

    ” If energy is the cause of virtual particles, then virtual particles are contingent upon virtual energy and not upon God. ”

    I though virtual particle is the cause of energy created in a vaccum. Please let me know if thats true?

  5. The Atheist says:

    Particles can interact and the result of that is energy. But that’s not what we’re talking about here since particles do not exist in a vacuum by definition of “vacuum”. Were talking about vacuum energy – that is, the ever-present quantum fluctuations of energy in a vacuum. That energy is the cause of virtual particles.

  6. Where Should One Seek Evidence for the Existence of God?

    Is light placed within space and time? Or, are space and time placed within light? Our common sense will say that the first statement is true, that is, the light is placed within space and time. Anything or anyone placed within space and time cannot have any lack of them if not artificially deprived of them. I do not know how anyone or anything can be artificially deprived of time, but I can describe how someone or something can be deprived of space. When a prisoner is put inside a prison cell, he is not fully deprived of space, because there will still be some space left within the four walls of the prison cell. Now let us suppose that instead of putting the prisoner inside a prison cell we put him inside a cage all the three sides of which are adjustable. That is, we can reduce the length, breadth and height of the cage, and we reduce all the three sides of the cage in such a way that ultimately the prisoner fails to make any movement lengthwise, breadth wise as well as from bottom to top. In such a situation we can say that we have artificially made the prisoner spaceless. So the general truth is that anyone or anything placed within space and time cannot have any lack of space and time if not artificially deprived of them. Or we can say that anyone or anything placed within space and time cannot naturally have any lack of space and time. As like everyone and everything else light is also placed within space and time, so the above statement will be true for light also. That is, light being placed within space and time cannot naturally have any lack of them. In the last sentence the word “naturally” is most important.
    But in the real world we find that light being placed within space and time and not being in any artificial way deprived of them still lacks both space and time. It does not have any space to move, and it does not have any time to move. As per relativity theory for light any distance it has to travel is for some unknown reason mysteriously reduced to zero, and ultimately it is left with no distance to travel. In case light has to travel an infinite distance, then also it will fail to make any movement, because as per relativity theory again that infinite distance will simply be contracted to zero, and thus the light will again have no distance left that it will have to travel. As if some outside agent does not want that light ever make any movement. That is why it always sees that whenever any occasion arises that light has to travel some distance, in each and every occasion, and without any exception, that distance is contracted in such a way that ultimately light is left with no distance to travel.
    Whatever I have written in the last paragraph about distance is also true about time. As per relativity theory again light does not have any time to travel. As if that outside agent does not want to give light any time to make any movement. Let us suppose that light has to travel an infinite distance. Our common sense says that with its speed of 300,000 km/sec light will take an eternity to travel that distance. But that outside agent will again play such trick that this total time of an eternity will simply be reduced to zero time for light so that ultimately it will be left with no time to make any movement.
    So long as relativity theory will remain true, whatever I have written in the last two paragraphs will also remain true.
    Now what I want to say is this: These two very peculiar and exceptional properties of light, i.e., light being placed within space and time, and not in any way being artificially deprived of them, but still showing as if it has no space and time to make any movement, cannot naturally arise in light. Yes, I am again repeating this: these two properties of light cannot naturally arise in it. If scientists can explain how these two properties of light have arisen in it without invoking any kind of god, then of course there is no God. But if they fail to do so, then we will have to think otherwise.

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