What is interesting in the exchanges between the Atheists and the theists is the ridicule that is often thrown in the direction of the theist for believing in something that cannot be seen or measured. The argument goes that the idea of believing in God is akin to believing in pink unicorns.
As the atheist skilfully argues that as the existence of neither can be ‘disproved’, therefore both beliefs are equally valid or invalid depending upon how you look at it.. The idea being that by connecting an obviously irrational belief, it exposes the theist’s belief in God to be equally irrational. However by doing this, the Atheist misses the point in a very big way and to explain what I mean by that, I will have to venture into the cosmological realm of Big Bang theory.
Around 14 Billion years ago or thereabouts, our Universe as we know it exploded into life. With advances in technology scientists have come up with a theory of how that occurred. We know that theory as the Big Bang, scientists refer to it as the 'Standard Model of Cosmology'.
In the Standard Model everything came into existence in an instant, in an enormous explosion. This explosion created all of the matter that we know of and expanded outwards to form what we now recognise as our Universe. Then gravity began to act upon the newly created matter and stars and galaxies formed as the universe began to cool.
The problem with this model of 'creation' is that in an explosion you get a chaotic spread of energy leading to varying temperatures, whereas in our universe, you have a uniform spread of temperature with virtually no variation at all.
When problems like these occur with scientific hypothesis they need revision in order for the mathematics to hold true. Thus we get 'Inflation'.
Inflation states that rather than a sudden explosion, we have an initial small explosion which then settled into a uniform spread of energy, followed by a sudden instant expansion of matter.
This rather crude revision does remove the non-uniformity problem and fits in with the mathematical models of how the universe really is.
Another problem for the standard model came when it was discovered that the stars in distant Galaxies were seemingly not following Newton’s law of gravity. This law devised by Newton stated that, the further away an object was from the centre of its source of rotation i.e. the further away it was from the object that held it in orbit, the slower its velocity.
The planets in our Solar system orbiting the Sun display this property, as their distance from the sun increases, so their velocity decreases.
However it seemed these distant Stars were moving equally fast regardless of their distance from their centre of Gravity. This meant that in order for the theory of the Big Bang to hold in an expanding universe, there must be some greater source of gravity stopping these stars just flying apart. Yet no matter how much they searched, the astrophysicists could not find the mass required to create such a gravitational force.
Enter Dark matter; with the creation of this exotic substance the equations could once again balance out and the theory remain in place. This new hypothesis stated that there is a substance out there which exists at a ratio of 5:1 with normal matter i.e. there is five times more of it than the matter we can observe and measure.
Due to its exotic nature, not only can it not be seen, it also passes through ordinary matter in such a way that so far nobody has yet been able to capture any of it, due to the fact that it passes through ordinary matter.
Now scientists postulate that the reason we cannot find this exotic substance may be because machines we build to observe matter, may not be capable of observing a type of matter that may be completely alien to the stuff we know of.
At this point I think we can now see that a theist could argue that the invisible pink unicorns are in fact the invisible unmeasurable force holding the universe together. Or an even smarter one might argue that God is in fact made of Dark Matter.
My point here I think is obvious, but it draws a parallel between science and religion that may mean they are not as far apart as the atheist would have us believe. In ancient times God was used to fill in the gaps of our knowledge as an explanation of why things happened the way they did. To give reason to the seemingly random acts of nature. God was for some, just the name of the hypothesis for the then standard model of cosmology.
Science and atheists alike are prepared to put their faith in a hypothesis of an invisible force that cannot be seen or measured, but whose influence holds together our Universe, Again to a theist this may not sound too unfamiliar.
The dialectic approach to truth states that with two opposing views the truth is often found in the middle, maybe it’s time the atheist and theist sat down and realise that maybe they have more in common than they thought.