Jonas E. Alexis: God and the Intellectuals (Part II).
A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super intellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question. Cosmologist Sir Fred Hoyle. The scientific community experienced one of its most important paradigm shifts in the twentieth century when scientists discovered evidence that the universe was not eternal, but had a beginning. As Stephen Hawking and Roger Penrose state, almost everyone now believes that the universe, and time itself, had a beginning at the big bang. Many scientists were bewildered by that discovery because it clearly pointed toward a conclusion they had been trying to avoid. Not only did it compel them to reconsider their theories, but it also implied that a greater intelligent force must exist. After all, everything that begins to exist has a cause, the universe began to exist,therefore the universe has a cause. While physicist and cosmologist Paul Davies agrees that the scientific data suggest that the universe had a beginning, he rejects the conclusion of a Creator because, in his own words, I never liked the idea of divine tinkering. When all is said and done, the scientific evidence does not offer us many choices when it comes to the beginning of the universe. Despite the fact that theists have been saying for thousands of years that the universe had a beginning, some atheist scientists have just figured out in the twentieth century. The only difference is that the theist posits a Creator as the cause, whereas the atheist tries to come up with something else. Since the eternal universe hypothesis has now been rejected by the scientific community, we are left with two possible and frightening explanations: either the universe created itself, which is a contradiction in terms, or someone else did the job. The universe as we know it is a privileged one, containing all the elements required for life, alter or remove a single element and death on a massive scale will ensue. This is a fact most physicists agree upon, however reluctantly, and is what mathematician and philosopher David Berlinski calls a put up job. If the universe created itself, that means that the universe had to be in existence before it created itself! This is not only self-contradictory but completely incompatible with all the known laws of science and human experience. Unfortunately, many brilliant minds have fallen into the trap of what I call intellectual perversity. Daniel Dennett declares in his book Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon that the universe creates itself ex nihilo, and that, he believes, is the ultimate bootstrapping trick. Quite frankly, it is a bootstrapping trick, and Dennett gets stuck on that trick because he wants the origin of this self-creation to be non-miraculous. Perhaps Berlinski was quite right when he joked a few years ago: We lose something in the literary or intellectual culture that's no longer accessible.