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It’s more honest to say you don’t know than to invent a god

January 30, 2011

I’ve gotten some Mormon backlash for my previous post, which I used as a status update in Facebook.

One person commented how believing that the universe was the size of an atom requires a sort of faith. I don’t understand how the universe could have fit into the size of an atom either. I’ll look into the research. What I value about the big bang theory is that it is the only explanation supported by scientific evidence and observations.

By using God to explain the origin of our universe (a god-of-the gaps fallacy), we are left with more questions than we began with, and we must explain where God came from.

Most Christians say something about God existing outside of the universe, or that he is exempt from the necessity of being created, that he is eternal. But this is cheating. If everything that exists has to have been created, then why is God exempt? And if one can accept that God can has existed forever, then it is also possible to accept that the universe, whatever form it might have taken before the big bang, could also have existed forever. At least at least we know that the universe exists.

LDS theology is original enough to claim that God was once a man (and that people become Gods), thus God came from another God, who came from another God. This is only slightly more satisfying that the notion of a God without any beginning, but we are left with an infinite regress – and no answer to where the very first god came from.

Bertrand Russell was once giving a public lecture on astronomy. He described how the earth orbits around the sun and how the sun, in turn, orbits around the center of a vast collection of stars called our galaxy. At the end of the lecture, a little old lady at the back of the room got up and said: “What you have told us is rubbish. The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise.” Russell gave a broad smile before replying, “What is the tortoise standing on?” “You’re very clever, young man, very clever,” said the old lady. “But it’s turtles all the way down!”

No one knows what happened before the big bang, but isn’t it more honest to say “I don’t know” than to make up a god as an explanation?

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