Science has always had its share of crackpot ideas, pseudoscience, and junk science ― it’s part and parcel of the development of good science. But that doesn’t legitimize any of the crazier ideas. As Catholic author Flannery O’Connor reminds us, “Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.”
Here are a few failed attempts at explaining away the ordered, anthropic universe that God created:
(1) Multiple Universe Theory
In order to get around the fact that our anthropic universe is obviously made to fit us perfectly, some atheists have insisted that this is due to the fact that there are an “infinite number of universes” and we are coincidently in the one that allows us to survive and thrive.
The problem with this scientific theory is that it’s not scientific. It can’t be tested until somehow can produce a working, trans-dimensional vehicle they’re storing in their garage. This isn’t science. At best it’s a flight of metaphysical fantasy or perhaps the script of a great Star Trek episode.
This is the idea that the Big Bang has already determined every event in universe and human history including the very thoughts cascading in my brains as you consider this very well-written article in which I explain that the Big Bang has already determined every event in the universe and human history including the very thoughts cascading in my brains as you consider this very well written article, and so on, and so on, and so on…
The obvious flaw in this silly argument is that free will and morality actually exist. We can choose whether or not to do the right thing. And even if free will didn’t exist, how would anyone know? The belief that free will doesn’t exist is obviously programmed into the doubter’s mind and thus can’t be trusted to be correct.
(3) Behavioral Determinism
During a public debate, Bl. Don Scotus put this question to his opponent who believed free will was an illusion: “If there is no free will and I start kicking you, would you then expect me to stop my attack if you beseech me? That could only be reasonably expected if I indeed have free will.”
Bl. Don Scotus has a point. Let’s consider the nature of the free will of the person who insists he has no free will. His opinion is merely the result of blind forces that have given him the illusion of free will.
This is silly on the face of it. Evolution is an exacting, very efficient and unforgiving force of nature that God has built into the mechanism of the world. Birds have wings that they might fly. Bees are hive creatures that have a single ruler. These are adaptations which have allowed these creatures to adapt to their environments, survive and produce offspring which in turn successfully passed on their genes to future generations. What possible advantage could the “illusion” of free will have for our species? No other animal is burdened thusly. In fact, I can think of 50 good reasons why having free will is detrimental to our survival as individuals and as a species including needing to moral decisions about with whom and in what manner we should procreate. Blind nature would have served us better by not producing such a burdensome illusion in us.
(4) Steady State Universe
It’s easy to explain away God when you insist, without proof, that the universe has “always been there.” Thankfully, Fr. George Lemaître put an end to that nonsense when he formulated his Big Bang Theory. But this theory has taken a long time to die out. Some atheists still hang on to it in a desperate bid to not admit the universe actually had a starting point. They think Fr. Lemaître’s Big Bang explanation smacks too much of the Book of Genesis.
This is the theory that seconds after the Big Bang ― and despite the immutable laws of physics ― the entire infant universe instantly expanded to its present size, or thereabouts. The theory was popular for a while because physicists couldn’t explain the size and even distribution of time, space and matter in the universe and the fact that the immutable laws of physics seem to apply everywhere. Despite the universe being 13.4 billion years old, there’s simply not enough time or energy for the universe to be as big as it is.
The problem with this theory is its lack of both verifiability and falsifiability. In addition, we would have to believe that any scientific law that doesn’t fit the facts was arbitrarily “switched off” at the Big Bang. If such is the case, why bother doing any research at all? We can all pretend we know what happened back then without having to bother proving it.
Francis Crick, of Watson & Crick fame, who helped describe the helix-shaped DNA molecule, was so amazed at the structure of a single strand of DNA that he absolutely rejected the idea that it could have simply spontaneously developed on its own.
The Panspermia Theory is the idea that life originated in the depths of outer space and “miraculously” survived the cataclysm which destroyed the planet on which it originally evolved and, more oddly, the hundreds of millions of years in transit to Earth through the absolute zero cold vacuum of space filled with the deadliest radiation in the universe, the meteoric plunge through our atmosphere and whatever extreme conditions they found once they got here. That would mean the planet upon which those living cells originated is exactly like Earth or close to it. That’s a lot of impossible coincidences and contrary to Ockham’s Razor.
Basically, even if we presumed these hardy cells could withstand the destruction of the planet of their origin and the deadly radiation of the interstellar space and meteoric re-entry through our atmosphere and withstand the inhospitable environmental conditions that were present on our early planet’s history and flourish, how did that life first start on another planet? That’s one hardy little microbe! In other words, this theory begs the question as to how life originally formed on its own home planet. This is just the Homunculus Fallacy―also known as “Kicking the Can Down the Road” argument.
Most credible scientists reject the idea of abiosis ― life popping out of non-living matter. Atheists, on the other hand, are required to believe in it, or they’d have to admit they were wrong about God.
For atheists to believe life magically started on its own, they would have to reject hard scientific fact as presented in the Miller–Urey Experiments, which have conclusively shown that life couldn’t have started on its own. These experiments have been going on nonstop for 70 years. Some atheists claim the experiments haven't proceeded sufficiently long enough yet. But had living cells been already created by this process, atheists would be hocking everyone’s chinik about it.
(8) Endosymbiotic Theory (aka Hijacking Theory)
This theory describes how a billion years ago, a microscopic host cell, floating somewhere in the world’s oceans, ingested some smaller, indestructible mitochondria ― the organelle in a cell that creates energy for it ― that proved to be completely indigestible. So indigestible, in fact, that the two cells become instantly dependent upon one another for survival, resulting in a permanent symbiotic relationship that is now present in every cell in the vast majority of all living creatures on Earth.
But few people believe in such an extremely unlikely scenario ever happening. Proponents would have us believe that somewhere in our planet’s vast oceans one microscopic cell managed to find another microscopic mitochondrial cell and tried to eat it but couldn’t quite manage the task. Instead, the predator cell coincidently became instantly adjusted to it to their mutual benefit. Talk about hitting the Cosmic Lottery! It’s easier and more satisfying to believe as Catholics do that God had a hand in allowing this “chance encounter” to happen than to believe in the atheistic tall tale.
(9) Simulation Theory
Atheist astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson has insisted there’s a “very good chance” that the universe is merely a computer simulation and the purpose of that simulation is in the mind of the unidentified “cosmic software designer.” On his first public assessment of this inanity, he insisted there was a 50/50 chance of the world being a computer-simulation. The silliness of this unfalsifiable, non-scientific theory aside, the main question is, Who created that guy who’s running the computer simulation and the universe in which he finds himself? Tyson is merely kicking the can down the cosmic road once again.
(10) Big Crunch
This was a bad idea when it was first proposed. Thankfully, it’s finally been rejected. In a failed attempt at trying to dismiss the uniqueness of God’s creative ability, some had suggested that the Big Bang was merely one of countless Bangs. And, after a suitable amount of time, the universe stopped expanding and started contracting into an infinitesimally small dot only to “re-explode” once again.
A party balloon filled to capacity with air will explode, but it has never been witnessed that those pieces magically reassembled to repair itself. In fact, our universe is not only not slowing down, its expansion is speeding up. How can it ever slow done and then retract upon itself? If energy is being expended, it’s been expended. It doesn’t come looping around to say “howdy!” once again.
Evolution doesn’t disprove God. In fact, many popes have backed evolution, even prompting Pope St. John Paul II to say, “Evolution is more than just a theory.” The Church advocates for Theistic Evolution ― that’s the fancy name for everything a Catholic believes in anyway. There’s strong evidence for Theistic Evolution as opposed to just simple Darwinian natural selection. There are many human traits that couldn’t have arisen as a result of blind forces, including free will, altruism, morality and human consciousness.
Those who deny God have yet to offer a convincing explanation for the origin of the universe, the origin of life, the nature of consciousness and the phenomenon of free will in our otherwise deterministic universe.
Science is grand but God is grander still.