Monday, July 15, 2024


Big Bang Cosmological Argument

by Francois Tremblay

The interplay between cosmology and theism has been a major preoccupation of cosmologist and professor of philosophy Quentin Smith. His basic thesis is that the contradiction between the uncertain natural parameters of the Big Bang on the one hand, and the concept of Creation and its underlying certainty on the other hand, constitutes a fatal blow for theism.

In ‘Quantum Cosmology?s Implication of Atheism’, for instance, he presents the argument that the Hartle-Hawking model, which predicts a less-than-1 initial unconditional probability of the universe supporting life, contradicts the notion that God willfully created a universe supporting life, which implies a conditional probability of exactly 1, the opposite of what cosmology tells us.

His Big Bang Cosmological Argument, detailed in A Big Bang Cosmological Argument For God’s Nonexistence, is in the same vein. We know that singularities are inherently chaotic, insofar as the laws of physics as we know them, as well as the notions of space and time, break down progressively as we approach it mathematically. None of the physical values of any particle in a singularity are completely predictable. There is no macroscopic or quantum level in a singularity, so even probabilistic determinism does not apply.

We have a major contradiction there with the account of divine creation. If God created the universe with the aim of creating life, which is the case in Christianity for instance, then the universe should unfold predictably, with an ultimate goal in view. But this is not the case. The universe unfolded unpredictably, with no ultimate goal in view. Therefore the idea of divine creation is false, and with it theism.

Smith expresses his argument as such :

(1) The big bang singularity is the earliest state of the universe.
(2) The earliest state of the universe is inanimate.
(3) No law governs the big bang singularity and consequently there is no guarantee that it will emit a configuration of particles that will evolve into an animate universe.
(4) The earliest state of the universe is not guaranteed to evolve into an animate state of the universe. (from 1 to 3)

To which we should add :

(5) ’[I]f [God] created the earliest state of the universe, then he would have ensured that this state is animate or evolves into animate states of the universe’.
(6) God does not exist. (from 4 and 5)

One objection that theologians Craig and Swinburne have presented is that (1) is false, insofar as the singularity did not actually exist. Craig argues that an object of zero volume and zero duration is non-existent. But in reply, Smith points out that there is nothing contradictory about the idea of an existent located in zero dimensions. Swinburne outright refuses to believe in existents in zero dimensions, positing that movement in three dimensions is a logical necessity.

A more general objection to the notion of the Big Bang is the idea that causality is a necessary condition to exist or to begin to exist. I have refuted it in Dr. Craig’s Unsupported Premise : the radioactive decay of an atom is scientifically proven to be both uncaused and have a beginning, proving that things can exist, and begin to exist, and be uncaused. Thus there is no reason to conclude that the singularity must have been caused, unless further argumentation is presented.

Last updated: June 28, 2005