Sunday, 9 November 2014

Dr. Kreeft's Bad Case For God. (Part II)

A little while back I noted this video by well known Catholic philosopher and apologist Dr. Peter Kreeft. In the video, Dr. Kreeft puts forward what he claims to be St. Thomas' argument from motion, for God's existence. As I argued here, it isn't, the argument he is putting forward is very different from any argument the Angelic Doctor would have made.

This point irritated me; Thomists have enough trouble with atheists misrepresenting and misunderstanding St. Thomas' arguments, we don't need those who are on our side adding to the confusion. Having said that, I'm sure St. Thomas would say that whether the argument Prof. Kreefts put forward matches the Thomistic argument is less important than whether his argument for God's existence is a good one. Unfortunately, I don't think it is.

As I noted last time, Kreeft states, correctly, that things move and also notes, correctly, that motion requires a cause. He then tells us that causes cannot be traced back indefinitely and that there must be a 'first domino' in the sequence. Why must there be a first domino? The closest Kreeft comes to answering this question is when he raises the possibility of the universe being infinitely old (at the 2:04 second mark of the video). Prof. Kreeft's response is, the universe isn't infinitely old because there is a scientific consensus that the universe is began with the 'big bang.'

I must note here, that I am not a physicist, but then neither is Prof. Kreeft. Among those who are, few seem to find this argument convincing. It's worth noting that Mons. Georges Lemaitre SJ, the priest who first formulated the theory strongly cautioned against using the theory in the way Prof. Kreeft is using it and Fr. George Coyne, former Vatican Astronomer has expressed similar views.

It's also important to note that while scientific consensus exists that a 'big bang' began our current physical universe, there is a diversity of opinion among scientists about what might possibly have preceded this 'bang.' When Prof. Kreeft says "We now know that all matter came into existence some 13.7 billion years ago." that's at best an oversimplification. While we know the present universe started that way, a variety of hypotheses exist about possible preceding causes for the state which produced the 'bang'.

Prof. Kreeft comes close to acknowledging this when he talks about the possibility of our universe being part of a multiverse and declares that, even if such a multiverse existed, it would still need a beginning. Why? Why could a multiverse not exist eternally in the past with big bangs creating new universes being triggered somehow by events in existing universes? If Prof. Keeft has an answer for this, he doesn't give it.

Kreeft then remarks that "Yet some atheists find the existence of an infinite number of an infinite number of other universes more rational than the existence of a creator..." This misses the point. There is no good evidence that a multiverse exists. It is however a possible explanation for the 'big bang'. As long as there are other possible explanations for the 'big bang', God is not the only explanation and, therefore, the 'big bang' is not proof of the existence of God.


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