Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence
Carl Sagan said: "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Dr. Craig has made the extraordinary claim that certain empirical facts require supernatural explanations.
In order to refute this, all I need to do is provide plausible natural explanations for these phenomena. I need not prove these. If he wants to argue that God is required to exist in order to explain the observed universe, Dr. Craig must disprove all possible natural explanations for these phenomena.
Dr. Craig argues that
1) Whatever begins must have a cause
2) The universe had a beginning
3) Therefore the universe must have had a cause
Not everything that begins has a Cause
Physical bodies begin to exist all the time without cause. In the radioactive decay of an atomic nucleus, an alpha, beta, or gamma particle begins to exist spontaneously, without a cause. The universe at the beginning of the big bang was a subatomic particle.
Is the big bang is evidence that the universe had a beginning?
Even if everything that begins has a cause, this does not apply to the universe if the universe did not have a beginning.
Dr. Craig argues that the big bang is evidence that the universe had a beginning. However, the universe need not have begun with the big bang.
Many prominent physicists and cosmologists have published papers in reputable scientific journals proposing various scenarios by which the big bang appeared naturally out of a preexisting universe that itself need not have had a beginning. Once such recent scenario is called "The Cyclic Universe".
Does an infinite universe have a beginning?
Dr. Craig also claims that the universe had to begin because if it were infinitely old, it would take an infinite time to reach the present.
However, if the universe is infinitely old, then it had no beginning - not a beginning infinitely long ago.
Universe can be finite and still not have a beginning
Einstein defined time as what you read on a clock. It's a number, the number of ticks of the clock. We count time forward and never reach infinity. We can also count time backward and never reach minus infinity. The notions that the universe has a beginning and will have an end are theological, not scientific.
Is the universe fine-tuned for life?
Dr. Craig calls upon the currently popular argument that the physics of our universe is fine tuned for life. This is taken as evidence for divine purpose behind the existence of life.
However, even if any given kind of life is highly improbable to have arisen by natural means, some kind of life may be highly probable. Another form of life might evolve in a universe with different physical constants or even different physical laws. We certainly don't have sufficient knowledge to rule out the possibility of every conceivable form of life under every conceivable circumstance. Dr. Craig cannot prove that only carbon-based life like ours can exist.
Argument from improbability
Dr. Craig claims that the universe and life are too improbable to have come about by purely natural processes alone.
The Improbable happens
However, this is a fallacious argument. To use probability to decide between two alternatives requires a comparison of the probabilities of each alternative. Simply saying that one has low probability without calculating the probability for the other is inadequate.
What's the probability that the laws of nature are violated? What's the probability that there's an all-good, all-powerful, all-knowing--but undetectable--super being? Complex things are common. We see natural events every moment. We've never seen a supernatural event.
Low probability events happen every day. What's the probability that my distinguished opponent exists? You have to calculate the probability that a particular sperm united with a particular egg, then multiply it by the probability that his parents met, and then repeat that calculation for his grandparents and all his ancestors going back to the beginning of life on Earth. Even if you stop the calculation at Adam and Eve, you will get a fantastically small number.
To use Dr. Craig's own words, "improbability is multiplied by improbability by improbability until our minds are reeling in incomprehensible numbers."
Dr. Craig has a mind-reeling, incomprehensibly small probability for existing, yet here he is before us today.
Modern versions of the argument from design, both the fine-tuning argument and intelligent design share this fatal flaw. They are based on the idea that natural causes can be ruled out by some arbitrary notion of low probability.
Why is there something rather than nothing?
Dr. Craig asks: why does the universe exist instead of nothing? Why should nothing be a more natural state than something? Why would you expect nothing rather than something? In fact, how could nothing ever exist? Wouldn't it then be something? Why is there God rather than nothing? Dr. Craig leaves these questions unanswered.
Dr. Craig claims the big bang confirms the Biblical view of creation.
Let's look at what Genesis actually says. In the first day, Earth is created. Not until four days later does God create the sun, moon, and stars. This is clearly at odds with modern cosmology, which says that the Earth did not form until 7 billion years after the big bang. There are many other disagreements.
Genesis implies that the universe is only about 6,000 years old. Here's a picture of a quasar whose light left its source 12 billion years ago.
Every one of the thousand or so religions in the world has a creation myth. Most probably resemble modern cosmology as well or better than Genesis.
Dr. Craig calls upon our common sense to attest that morality is objective and so must come from God.
Not everyone shares the same morals. So, there is no evidence for objective morality.
But, even if morality were objective--its source could be natural--an evolutionary process that aids in human survival and built into our genes. Dr. Craig has not disproved hat possibility.
Is the Gospel historical?
Dr. Craig claims the Gospel stories describe actual historical events, such as the empty tomb of Jesus.
The Empty Tomb
There is no evidence outside the Bible. The story of the empty tomb is second and third hand, written years after the event from the oral testimony of supposed eyewitnesses. Paul did not seem to know about it. Furthermore, eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable.
Even if the story of the empty tomb is accurate, it could have a simple, natural explanation. If you went to the Napoleon's tomb in Paris one morning, and found that his remains were not in their usual place of honor, would you conclude Napoleon had risen bodily into heaven?
Hardly. You would figure that somebody took the body! Dr. Craig has not shown that Jesus's body could not have been removed. So that remains a more plausible explanation and a supernatural explanation is not required by the data,
Personal experience of God
Dr. Craig says that many people have a personal experience of God. Well, many, including myself, have not. So that cancels his final argument for the existence of God. We can't rely on subjective experience. Any successful argument for or against God's existence needs to be objective.
No Evidence for God
Dr. Craig has not ruled out plausible natural explanations for any observable phenomenon in the universe. He has failed to prove that God or any supernatural hypothesis is required to explain the universe.
Thus, he has failed to prove that God exists. In the meantime, I have proved that a God having the traditional attributes of the Judeo-Christian-Islamic God cannot exist.