Skeptical Contradictions


Michael Shermer said in eSkeptic Newsletter,

 “time began when the universe came into existence, either through divine creation or the Big Bang. God, therefore, would have to exist outside of space and time, which means that as natural beings delimited by living in a finite universe, we cannot possibly know anything about such a supernatural entity.”

 Shermer is contradicting himself here when he says we can’t possibly know anything about such a supernatural being because he previously asserted God was timeless and spaceless. I assume he thinks he know these two things. Or maybe he doesn’t know them and maybe we CAN know some things about God. Either way, he’s not making much sense here.

 Later on, Shermer refers to Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow and indicates they approach the problem (of cosmic origins) from what they call “model-dependent realism,” based on the assumption that our brains form models of the world from sensory input, that we use the model most successful at explaining events, and that when more than one model makes accurate predictions “we are free to use whichever model is most convenient.” Employing this method, they write, “it is pointless to ask whether a model is real, only whether it agrees with observation.”

 How is this any different from the lazy theists explanation of “God did it?” After all, it’s pointless to ask if he’s real, just if he’s most convenient or agrees with what you see.

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One thought on “Skeptical Contradictions

  1. Either way, he’s not making much sense here.

    Here’s the full statement.

    The theist’s answer to the question is that God existed before the universe and subsequently brought it into existence out of nothing (ex nihilo) in a single creation moment as described in Genesis. But the very conception of a creator existing before the universe and then creating it implies a time sequence. In both the Judeo-Christian tradition (along with the Babylonian pre-Judeo-Christian cosmogony) and the scientific worldview, time began when the universe came into existence, either through divine creation or the Big Bang. God, therefore, would have to exist outside of space and time, which means that as natural beings delimited by living in a finite universe, we cannot possibly know anything about such a supernatural entity. The theist’s answer is an untestable hypothesis and thus amounts to nothing more than a god-of-the-gaps argument.

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