googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: Are creationists arrogant? A review of King Crocoduck's series: Part 1

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Are creationists arrogant? A review of King Crocoduck's series: Part 1

In my first post of this series, I drew attention to the way King Crocoduck (abbreviated here as KC) pronounced, “defecate.” I've since learned that KC's first language is Russian so, given that English is his second language, he actually speaks it well. I've studied Greek and Spanish and, though I'm not fluent in either, I know how difficult it is to learn a new language so I shouldn't slight KC for what is technically an accent. Still, he does have a peculiar manner of speaking. Based on the way he interjects mellow drama into his narration, I believe he's trying to sound like Carl Sagan but comes off sounding more like an annoyed Adam West. That's just my musings. Anyway, in his first video on the Arrogance of Creationism, KC attempts to address the ultimate origin of everything. He uses a lot of technical terms and scientific-looking graphics but, in spite of his verbosity, he really doesn't explain anything.

In a snippet provided by KC as an example of the arrogance of creationists, Tom the creationist says, “Nothing cannot explode or expand – or whatever – or bounce, as some now say.” KC thinks it would be helpful to define terms so he provides his own definition of “nothing.” Aristotle is quoted as saying, “Nothing is what rocks dream about.” That's actually very clever. KC, however, dismisses a philosophical definition in favor of a definition that is “concordant with physical reality.” He then goes on to describe a vacuum which, according to KC, “is as close to the philosophical definition of 'nothing' as you can get.” KC is cheating. A vacuum is still something. Space, time, and physical laws, for example, still exist inside the vacuum. So KC equivocates in his explanation of a universe from nothing by redefining “nothing” to mean “something.”

Michael Shermer, the founding publisher of Skeptic magazine, once described a conversation he claims to have had with his daughter. He was trying to explain the initial singularity before the Big Bang to her and said (paraphrasing), “Imagine all the planets and stars and everything else in the universe crammed into a single suitcase.” His inquisitive daughter replied, “What was outside the suitcase?” That insightful question exposes the flaw in KC's definition of 'nothing.” According to the theory, nothing exists outside of the suitcase – no space, no time, no dimensions, no anything. It is so foreign to anything we have experienced that it is only through philosophy that we can attempt to describe it.

A common misconception of the Big Bang is that all the matter in the universe once existed in a single point, then began to expand into already existing space. That's the exact impression KC gives when he says, “Now, [Tom] asserted that 'nothing' cannot expand. But space can and is. And since the vacuum is an inherent property of space, the vacuum can expand as well.” So either KC doesn't understand his own theory (meaning he is ignorant) or he is intentionally exploiting the common misunderstanding, hoping that people won't see how he's not addressing Tom's criticism (meaning he is a liar). He concludes this point emphasizing how it's important to define your terms in science to “avoid vagueries like, 'nothing.'” //RKBentley shakes his head//

Next, KC attempts to address the origin of matter. He plays another short clip of Tom asking, “So where did your matter come from?” KC begins his reply by talking about how matter is just a condensed form of energy, cites Einstein's formula, E=MC2, rattles off a list of scientific terms, talks about the inflationary epoch, rattles off some more scientific terms, and concludes his “explanation” saying, “3 minutes and 20 seconds later, the universe expands to the point where the temperature cools sufficiently to allow protons and neutrons to form and there are your first hydrogen atoms”. In other words, he spends nearly a full minute trying to sound very scientific but, at the end of it all, offered nothing but smoke and mirrors. If you strip away all the technical terms, KC is basically saying, “the Big Bang started, and a few minutes later, all the atoms in the universe appeared.”

At this point, KC spends some time talking about the formation of stars and the fusion of higher elements. I could offer some criticisms on these points but why bother? So far, he still hasn't addressed the origins of space, time, or matter. Without these things, the formation of stars and the higher elements is academic.

What KC says next is very telling. At about 3:22 in the video he says, “So, in summary, all matter comes from energy and energy – in accordance with the first law of thermodynamics – is eternal.” You can see, then, that all the scientific jargon was just fluff. At the end of it all, KC mere asserts that matter (energy) is eternal. Why didn't he just say that in the first place?

I see at least 3 problems with KC's eternal matter argument. 1) It really is a dogmatic statement which hardly differs from saying an eternal God did it. 2) KC knows that no system is perfectly efficient so if all energy were contained in a single point for an eternity, it should have reached total entropy already. 3) I wrote a post about an infinitely old universe a while back. It's logically impossible to cross an infinite amount of time. If a person believes in an infinitely old universe, he is saying we have reached this point of time after an infinite amount of time has already passed which is absurd.

KC next spends a little time critiquing Tom about a quote made by Paul Davies which, for the sake of space, I won't detail too much except to say KC did raise some valid points about Tom misquoting Davies and also creating the false dichotomy of “Christians versus evolutionists.” From there, he segues into talking about the initial singularity from which the Big Bang supposedly began to expand. I noticed while he was speaking, he seemed to waver back and forth between two positions.

Listen careful to some of the things KC is suggesting: he just finished saying that energy is eternal and was converted to matter in the conditions of the Big Bang. But earlier, when defining, “nothing,” he said, “if you have a system to remove all the matter and all the energy, you've essentially removed everything that physically exists including the 4 fundamental forces, what you're left with is a vacuum.” Still, KC was quick to add, “But even then, you still have the vacuum energy in the system.” According to Wiki, Vacuum energy is an underlying background energy that exists in space throughout the entire universe.” We see again that, even though KC is trying to say how the universe came from “nothing,” he still is assuming space and energy – not what most of us think of as “nothing.”

Next KC talks about quantum fluctuations within a vacuum. He says the “inseparable energy [of the vacuum] is made of up of particle/anti-particle pairs spontaneously popping in and out of existence... Seeing as you [Tom] are aware this process exists and is very well understood, it remains a mystery to me as to why you are so appalled at the notion that something can come from nothing. It can and it does – all the time.” Time after time, KC says things come from “nothing,” but in every case, he is talking about “something.” He is talking about space, time, and energy. It reminds of comedian, Steve Martin's investment strategy: “OK, you start with $1,000,000....”

KC spends the last few minutes of his video talking about how weighty the science is in studying origins and how most people are too stupid to understand it. Interestingly, he completely denies any utility in philosophy when considering the origin of the universe. For example, he objects that Tom's, “philosophical ponderings on causality are even remotely comparable to the rigor and discipline required to even understand the subject under discussion – much less disprove it.”  Hmmm. Tom said the effect cannot be greater than its cause. What exactly is KC's objection to that? KC wants us to believe something can come from nothing but all he was able to do in this video is say that everything came from an eternal something which he simply redefined as nothing. If an effect can be greater than its cause, then something like perpetual motion should be possible. KC knows it's not but he can't admit to that because it gives credence to Tom's argument. Instead, KC attacks all of philosophy.

KC obviously doesn't realize how much of science is based on philosophy and assumptions. He basically wants us to take off our thinking caps, put logic aside, forget common sense, and listen to what “scientists” say about the origin of the universe.

No thank you.

Read the entire series:


Steven J. said...

I suspect that King Crocoduck will post his own defense of his claims, but:

[1] The word "nothing" means, even in ordinary, non-technical English, a range of things: the teenager complaining that there is "nothing" in the refrigerator is not insisting that even the shelves (or even the year-old 90% empty jar of mustard) have vanished, but that there is nothing fit to eat there. The person who looks in a box and says there is "nothing" there will surely admit (and see no reason to back down from his earlier claim) that of course it is full of air. When cosmologists (or KC) use "nothing" to describe a primordial vacuum, it is unreasonable either to complain that more of an ontologically nullity is conceivable, or that they are not really explaining how the universe could arise from an ontological nullity.

[2] I'm pretty sure that in the initial stages of the Big Bang, the universe was too dense and hot for atoms to exist; they came about thousands of years, not a few minutes, later after subatomic particles had formed and joined up to make atoms.

[3] If you're going to raise philosophical points, do it right. The statement "an effect cannot be greater than its cause" does not even mean anything unless we have a metric for the magnitude of causes and effects; some vague intuition that the current universe is "greater" than the laws of physics will not do. The second law of thermodynamics, which prohibits perpetual motion machines, can be rigorously expressed in mathematics; "an effect cannot be greater than its cause" at least never has been so expressed.

[4] The second law of thermodynamics states that total entropy of an isolated system must remain constant or increase; this does not imply that the initial singularity, if it existed for immeasurable spans of time, must have been doing something that expended useful energy and caused its entropy to increase.

At least some versions of the Big Bang don't posit that the initial singularity was hanging around for an infinite amount of time, since time didn't exist before it expanded. Basically, time only extends backwards a finite amount. and there is (was?) no "before the Big Bang."

[5] On the other hand, your claim that time cannot extend infinitely into the past is based on intuition (itself based on experience on this Earth) applied to matters very remote from this earthly existence. You might as well argue that if a numbers line extends from negative infinity to positive infinity, we could never possibly have reached the number we happen to be on now (I know, I know: number lines are abstractions that don't exist in time, but then, a lot of physicists insist that time as we experience it is an illusion, not some intrinsic property of the universe).

[6] You seem to be demanding that intuition and sloppily-defined philosophical concepts be allowed to overrule the cosmic microwave background, the distribution of galactic redshifts, the relative cosmic abundances of hydrogen and helium, and other evidences for both the vast age and history of the universe. Again, I'm pretty sure that's doing philosophy wrong.

RKBentley said...

Steven J,

Certainly “nothing” can have different meanings in different contexts. However, I'm pretty sure no one typically understands “nothing” to mean “everything in the universe.” By citing the 1st Law of Thermodynamics in the way he does, KC is essentially saying that everything in the universe has eternally existed as energy which arranged itself into the cosmos starting with the Big Bang.

You might slight me for explaining things in easier-to-understand terms than KC does. Perhaps my characterization of cause and effect is a little oversimplified. Your contempt for my simple verbiage, though, hardly rebuts it. Let me put it in other (but still very simple) words: you can't use NO energy to create SOME energy. You know I'm right. You can insult my examples all you want but you can't hide the simple truth of it. You can't have all the energy in the universe come out of nothing which is, perhaps, why KC desperately wants “nothing” to mean “all the energy that will ever exist.”

Perhaps this is also why creationists are so ridiculed by the zealots of scientism. Deep down, those who subscribe to secular origins know something can't really come from nothing but they still say it does and call creationists too stupid to understand how.

Thank you for your comments. God bless!!


Steven J. said...

There are multiple concepts of the Big Bang. The still-reigning dominant paradigm is "inflation," which holds that a very rapid expansion of space occurred in the early moments of the universe's history. This extreme expansion of space would, according to the mathematics that describe it, create an enormous "negative energy" (as in, less than zero energy) which would (per the first law of thermodynamics) require the appearance of an exactly equal amount of positive energy. So, according to actual physicists, you can use "no energy" to produce "some energy" (or, conversely, the net energy of the universe is zero, so you don't even have "some energy" to explain). Even to me, that sounds as though it's saying that the universe is basically an accounting trick -- but again, the math apparently works.

Or, conversely, maybe Turok and Steinhardt are right, the universe is one of those things that just happens over and over again, and there never was "nothing."