In 2009, Dr. William Lane Craig, a philosopher and theologian, debated Dr. Lewis Wolpert, a British developmental Biologist, at the Reasonable Faith Tour at the University of Central Florida. During the Q&A, Dr. Craig reasons his belief for the existence of God by using evidence for the beginning of the universe. Dr. Craig argues that the source that created the universe must be timeless, spaceless and immaterial since these were not present before the creation of the universe. Dr. Wolpert sarcastically attempts a counter-argument by creating an imaginary, all-powerful, self-creating computer to refute Dr. Craig’s conclusion drawn by the use of modern scientific evidence.
A portion of the original transcript, Is God a Delusion debate :
DR. WOLPERT: But because there is a beginning doesn’t imply a God.
DR. CRAIG: It does if the first premise is true; that whatever begins to exist has a cause. It logically follows.
DR. WOLPERT: Yeah, but the cause doesn’t have to be God.
DR. CRAIG: Well, remember I gave an argument for thinking that this cause is timeless, spaceless, immaterial, enormously powerful, and personal.
DR. WOLPERT: I think it is a computer.
DR. CRAIG: Well, computers are designed by people.
DR. WOLPERT: No, no. This is a self-designing computer.
DR. CRAIG: Ah-ha.
DR. WOLPERT: Timeless!
DR. CRAIG: Well, that is a contradiction in terms.
DR. WOLPERT: Why? What is contradictory about it?
DR. CRAIG: A computer has to function. It takes time.
DR. WOLPERT: No, this is a special computer.
DR. CRAIG: Yeah, but it has to be logically coherent.
DR. WOLPERT: Oh, it is logically coherent.
DR. CRAIG: Yes, you have to be logically coherent.
DR. WOLPERT: Oh, no, this computer is amazing!
DR. CRAIG: No. Besides, it would have to be, as I said, a personal being.
DR. WOLPERT: No.
DR. CRAIG: A computer is a physical object.
DR. WOLPERT: Not this computer, oh no!
DR. CRAIG: OK, see what you are doing is you are actually, what you are calling a computer is really God. A non-physical . . . it is just another word if you rob it of all the attributes that make it a computer. (emphasis added)
Although Dr. Wolpert was aiming to poke fun of the argument and at the same time try to ridicule Dr. Craig, he fell right into his own making by further proving the qualities needed of the source that created the universe. The moderator then suggests that Dr. Wolpert would have to prove his position, which he responds, “No, I don’t have to prove. I have to admit ignorance.”
The Law of Causality
It is impossible for any logical mind to accept that something materialistic could come into existence without a cause. The law of causality, simply put, states that the existence of all matter is contingent upon another material source. But even besides the understanding of this law, we are all witnesses of the creation of both biotic and abiotic materials around us. New cells derive from preexisting cells. New born babies become fully developed by the physical expression of the genetic information received from two parents, male and female. The formation of dark, nimbostratus clouds will eventually lead to precipitation over wide areas. These are but only a few of the many examples supporting causality.
The Unmoved Mover
It appears to me that the more we increase in knowledge through the discoveries of science, we find ourselves inevitably drawn to a greater source, a greater explanation that best fits the answer to our question of the origin of all matter. I believe this source to be God. Although no one can know God in his complete revelation, we have very good reasons – both direct and indirect – that make it highly plausible for anyone to reasonably accept the existence of an all-powerful being.
One direct example that holds much weight towards the belief of God’s existence is the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation. In simple terms, the CMBR is the afterglow left behind by the Big Bang. This glow was accidently discovered in 1965 by Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson. These scientists detected this radiation on their antenna at Bell labs located in Holmdel, New Jersey. After further study, they discovered that “this afterglow is actually light and heat form the initial explosion. This light is no longer visible because its wavelength has been stretched by the expanding universe to wavelengths slightly shorter than those produced by a microwave oven. But the heat can still be detected.” (Turek, 2004)
What is even more amazing is that even before its accidental discovery, a number of scientists predicted that the existence of this radiation must be present if the Big Bang actually occurred. Once discovered, this evidence, along with others, further strengthened the theory of a universe that is not past-eternal but instead, has a cosmic beginning.
As logical thinkers, we should study the evidence and if proved reasonable, follow it wherever it may lead. Just because a conclusion does not fit my personal expectation or belief, it cannot be made any less valid. Dr. Wolpert is more willing to dismiss the evidence and admit ignorance rather than further investigate with an objective mind to verify the information provided throughout the debate and follow it to its conclusion. This is a clear example of how one, no matter how much proof and reasoning provided, will believe only what they want to believe in order to live the reality that they have created for themselves.
2. Geisler, Norman L., and Frank Turek. I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2004. 81-82. Print.