Why does the universe exist? God vs science?

February 8th, 2014 in clues. Tags: , , , , , , ,

Crab Nebula

The Cosmological argument for the existence of God has been around for millennia, and is still much debated. Christian philosopher William Lane Craig has used various versions of it for years in debates with atheists, generally very successfully.

So when an agnostic cosmologist with an interest in philosophy examines it, we are sure to learn something useful.

Luke Barnes, William Lane Craig and Sean Carroll

I am a great fan of Aussie cosmologist Luke Barnes and his blog Letters to Nature. As a post-doctoral researcher in astrophysics with several refereed and published papers, Luke’s expertise cannot be doubted. And as an open-minded agnostic about God (as far as I can tell), Luke attacks bad science and bad arguments from christian and atheist alike.

Recently he has written 3 posts reviewing the likely arguments in an upcoming debate between William Lane Craig and atheist cosmologist Sean Carroll. Luke clearly has respect for both men, and sees Craig as a philosopher very well informed on cosmology, while Carroll is a cosmologist who has also studied philosophy.

The third post, Carroll vs. Craig (3): On Contingency (which provides links to the other two posts) is an excellent discussion of the issues and arguments both debaters will need to contend with.

The argument from contingency

The argument from contingency takes the following form:

  1. Everything that exists has an explanation of its existence (either in the necessity of its own nature or in an external cause).
  2. If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is God.
  3. The universe exists.
  4. Therefore God exists.

The argument is logically valid, so its success depends on how well the first two premises can be supported.

Don’t jump in too quickly

Many atheists object to the first two premises without giving enough consideration to the supporting arguments. Luke doesn’t fall into that trap, and recognises that the supporting arguments are strong, and outlines why. Premise 1 is often called “The Principle of Sufficient Reason” and would be accepted in most other situations. Premise 2 is based upon arguments that atheists themselves use.

Counter arguments

He then considers how Sean Carroll might respond. Based on things he has written previously, Luke believes Carroll might argue, against premise 1, that all chains of explanation must stop somewhere, and so he may argue that the universe and its laws require no further explanation.

He suggests that this is “one mother of a philosophical claim”, and his discussion illustrates why this claim may be hard to sustain. But at the same time, Craig still has to establish why we should trust the Principle of Sufficient Reason when applied to the universe and God.

Check it out and decide for yourself

I won’t give any more details, but encourage you to check it out for yourself – it is well worthwhile.

I am obviously biased, but I thought that his discussion showed very clearly that the atheist has much the harder task in this debate. (I also agreed with the inference that an atheist’s best bet is in effect to accept that he or she will come off second best in this debate, and needs to raise the problem of evil to make a reasonable case.)

I’d be interested to hear what any readers think of the discussion.

Read more

Read a more detailed discussion of two versions of the Cosmological argument.

Picture: NASA. Note: the Crab Nebula is not really relevant to the Big Bang. It was a star about 10 times the mass of our sun, that exploded about 7,500 years ago, though we only saw it on earth about 1000 years ago. But we don’t have any photos of the Big Bang, whereas this photo looks attractive and interesting.

32 Comments

  1. First of all Happy New Year unkleE

    I would probably be an atheist if it wasn’t for ,”1.Whatever begins to exist has a cause external to itself.”

    On the flip side , I would ask what caused “the cause” ? Of course you are going to say God did not “begin to exist” , he has always been.

    This is where I think many people are caught in the middle. They can’t accept that “the cause” (God) has always been nor can they accept that the Universe was a spontanious action without a cause .

    I think this is where everyone has to be honest and say they are either an “Atheist who also has to be Agnostic” or a “Theist who also has to be Agnostic”.

    An Agnostic says I cannot know. At this time “We cannot know” so why the debates ?

  2. I don’t find this question very interesting because we just don’t have the data which might make our speculations more than flights of the imagination. However, I would repeat a couple of popular things that might be relevant:

    There is a hypothesis which Lawrence Kraus uses. That is the idea that nothing is unstable. That is if nothing existed there would very quickly be something.

    The other way this question of existence is normally formulated is:
    Why is there something rather than nothing? This question has a not so subtle bit of question begging within it. If there were a reason for the universe to exist it would mean that a being with motive and purpose would have created it for that reason.

    The other thing that might be worth saying is that for the universe to have a cause time must have existed prior to its creation as the cause/event idea is dependent on causes predating events. But if time existed then clearly there was not nothing prior to the creation of the universe.

  3. There is a hypothesis which Lawrence Kraus uses. That is the idea that nothing is unstable. That is if nothing existed there would very quickly be something.

    “Nothing” is basically the absence of all properties. The property of a quantum vacuum to give rise to its energy fluctuations is still a property, so a quantum vacuum is not “nothing”. Think of it like this: does an empty Argand diagram give rise to anything?

    The other way this question of existence is normally formulated is:
    Why is there something rather than nothing? This question has a not so subtle bit of question begging within it. If there were a reason for the universe to exist it would mean that a being with motive and purpose would have created it for that reason.

    I’m not sure I get what you mean here. What do you find circular about it?

    The other thing that might be worth saying is that for the universe to have a cause time must have existed prior to its creation as the cause/event idea is dependent on causes predating events. But if time existed then clearly there was not nothing prior to the creation of the universe.

    Since I’m a theist who doesn’t believe there is time independent of space-time, I disagree that there should have been time before the universe on theism. All the cause has to be is to be logically prior to the result.

    I probably don’t get your last sentence either, because it contradicts the one before it. Did you intend to include a negation?

  4. @IgnorantiaNescia

    The property of a quantum vacuum to give rise to its energy fluctuations is still a property

    This is exactly why I think this subject is crap. If the property of a quantum vacuum was not to give rise to energy fluctuations that would still be a property also.

    If there were a reason for the universe to exist it would mean that a being with motive and purpose would have created it for that reason.

    Well I think this is obvious. If the universe was created for a reason, or has meaning or whatever, it would need to have been created by a creature that has motive and assigns meaning and purpose to things it does. So the original question “Why…etc” is assuming the preferred answer. In fact there is no evidence that “why” is an appropriate question here.

    All the cause has to be is to be logically prior to the result

    For something to be logically prior to something else time must exist and therefore whatever the state of play “prior” to universe creation it cannot be described as nothing because of the existence of time.

  5. Hi Ken,

    Thanks, and best wishes for this year for you too! 🙂

    I agree with you that if this was all the information we had, we’d have to be fairly agnostic about the first cause of the universe – though we’d perhaps be able to infer it was powerful, clever and purposeful.

    But this isn’t the only information we have!

    When I look at all the other information pointing in a similar direction, I feel we can (i) be much more certain God exists, and (ii) have a good idea about his character and ‘personality’.

  6. Hi Gordon,

    Thanks for your comments and continued interest. I won’t engage with most of them because I think we understand where each other sits, and I see no reason to re-visit some of our previous discussions. So I have just 3 comments.

    “There is a hypothesis which Lawrence Kraus uses. That is the idea that nothing is unstable. That is if nothing existed there would very quickly be something.”
    But everyone (probably even Krauss by now) knows he is talking nonsense. He is just making it up. If he was a theist, everyone would be down on him like a ton of bricks. You say: “we just don’t have the data which might make our speculations more than flights of the imagination” If this applied to anything, it would be Krauss’s totally unscientific nonsense.

    “the cause/event idea is dependent on causes predating events”
    “For something to be logically prior to something else time must exist”

    I would be interested to see your demonstration, either scientific or philosophical, for these confident statements. I believe I can give many instances that disprove them, but I’d be interested to see you try to justify them first.

    “This is exactly why I think this subject is crap.”
    I wonder whether you seeing this matter as something of a debate? Never give an inch to the opposition, etc?

    I don’t see it that way. If I receive a Nigerian scam email (do you get them where you are?) telling me I can gain $8M if I just give them my bank details, I know the chances of this being genuine are so small that I don’t reply. But if I get an email from a company saying I can enter a competition and win a free holiday, I may investigate it, because I may have reason to believe it might be genuine.

    The ‘benefits’ of belief in God are way more. I would have thought that they were worth further investigation on your part. For you to be right in rejecting belief, you have to be right about 2 things – you know the right way to investigate the claims about God, and you have assessed the evidence correctly.

    It seems to me that your rejection of God-belief often depends on very questionable premises, such as the ones I’ve commented on here. Are you really sure that you are so right about your method that you shouldn’t reconsider whether you have the right method?

    Just a thought. Best wishes.

  7. The ‘benefits’ of belief in God are way more.

    I would be very interested what these ‘benefits’ are?

  8. But everyone (probably even Krauss by now) knows he is talking nonsense. He is just making it up.

    No, you are sadly misinformed. Kraus did not originate the idea of the instability of nothing. It’s been around for years. It probable first came to significant public notice with this 2009 interview:
    http://tierneylab.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/12/the-physics-of-nothing/?_php=true&_type=blogs&hp&_r=0
    I’m fairly ignorant of this area but as far as I can see it’s an important idea in quantum mechanics and is very much alive and kicking.

    “the cause/event idea is dependent on causes predating events”
    “For something to be logically prior to something else time must exist”
    I would be interested to see your demonstration, either scientific or philosophical, for these confident statements.

    Again not an area of my expertise. Read the Wiki article on causality. You will see that although there are ideas out there of an independence from time, the consensus is that the existence of time is a necessary condition for causality:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causality

    The fact that you seem to think that “the benefits of belief” has got anything to do with the truth value of what you believe says it all really. For me belief is not a matter of volition. If there is enough evidence for something even as preposterous as the god hypothesis I could not avoid believing. And as there isn’t good evidence it is not open to me to choose to believe.

  9. @unkleE, “When I look at all the other information pointing in a similar direction, I feel we can (i) be much more certain God exists, and (ii) have a good idea about his character and ‘personality’.”

    But you cannot know . Isn’t this where your “Faith” comes into play ?

    All you have to do is walk into a Christian Book Store to know that No One has a clue 1.) If God exists 2.) Who he is This is why you will find 1,000’s of books there. Oh and it happens to be profitable too ! 🙂

  10. Interesting links and I can’t argue with the studies I guess. They seem sound enough.
    But I am not so sure about the afterlife?
    How can anyone tell?
    And many christians are adamant that if we don’t believe then we are all due to roast in hell for eternity,which I find strange as I thought Christians had abandoned this belief. But a bit of scratching on the internet turns out that it is still widely believed by millions!
    That was a wow, for sure. A bit scary too.
    All this strikes me as a bit like a threat rather than a promise of better things to come and doesn’t seem too good for your health either.
    What is a person supposed to say to the you’re going to hell brigade?

  11. I like the stuff about simplicity of explanation. The deeper we go, the simpler it gets. One of the silliest arguments I’ve heard against God is that he must be complicated, and therefore is unlikely.

    And this bit is interesting: “The naturalist must convince us that, for example, the law-like behaviour of the universe is ultimately inexplicable. But how? All explanations of the universe reach the fundamental laws of nature and stop. The laws don’t explain themselves.”

    It all begins to sound like an “atheism of the gaps”, where we aren’t allowed to ask questions about origins because it is intrinsically inexplicable.

  12. “But you cannot know . Isn’t this where your “Faith” comes into play ?”

    Hi Ken. I agree we cannot know, you, me, Gordon, One Sceptic, IgnorantiaNescia, MyGoatyBeard, all of us. But what we all can do, and generally do, is to choose what we believe is the most probable. That’s all I am putting forward.

  13. Hi One Sceptic, thanks for continuing the conversation.

    “Interesting links and I can’t argue with the studies I guess. They seem sound enough.”

    Thanks.

    “But I am not so sure about the afterlife? How can anyone tell?”

    Perhaps one day we’ll all know (I believe so). But for now, we each have to choose what we believe is most likely to be true. I think there are good reasons to believe the christian belief in an afterlife is true.

    “And many christians are adamant that if we don’t believe then we are all due to roast in hell for eternity,which I find strange as I thought Christians had abandoned this belief. ….. What is a person supposed to say to the you’re going to hell brigade?”

    I think that is still probably the majority christian belief. But I think (1) many who hold it do so with some discomfort, and (2) things are changing and it will soon be the minority belief.

    If I were a sceptic, I’m not sure I would say much to those who believe in it – why bother? As a christian, I am willing to explain the Greek meaning of the passages about hell, that shows that the traditional view is mistaken, but I wouldn’t argue much about it.

  14. Hi Gordon,

    “No, you are sadly misinformed. Kraus did not originate the idea of the instability of nothing.”

    I never suggested Krauss originated the idea, only that it was nonsense. Some cosmologists talk the way Krauss does, and Wilczek does, but it is pure speculation. Martin Rees says:

    “Cosmologists sometimes claim that the universe can arise ‘from nothing’. But they should watch their language, especially when addressing philosophers. We’ve realised ever since Einstein that empty space can have a structure such that it can be curved and distorted. Even if shrunk to a ‘point’ it is latent with particles and forces – still a far richer construct than the philosophers’ ‘nothing’.”

    “Again not an area of my expertise. Read the Wiki article on causality.”

    You made a very confident statement about time and causality, and it seems to me this is very weak justification for it. Let me offer three reasons why I think your statement cannot stand:

    1. If I understand them correctly, experiments in quantum physics show that an event remote from another and later in time can influence the earlier event via quantum entanglement. So the cause is later than the effect.

    2. Suppose I hold two books in my hand, with the back cover of one against the front cover of the other, and then lay them on the table, still together, one on top of the other. The bottom one will be causing the top one to be in its position, several centimetres above the table. But they both arrived in those positions at the same time. So in this case the cause is simultaneous with the effect.

    3. In his book ‘About Time’, Paul Davies discusses the possibility of time going in reverse.

    All of these examples indicate to me that you have a lot of work to do before you can make a statement about time to oppose the idea of God creating. Without that work, I would expect a person who depends so much on evidence, as you do, would not even think of making the statement you did.

    The fact that you seem to think that “the benefits of belief” has got anything to do with the truth value of what you believe says it all really.

    You have misread me. Check back and see. I didn’t suggest that you should believe because of the benefits. I suggested the benefits merited further investigation. And in particular I suggested that you might reconsider using such unsupported arguments as the one you did about time.

    But that is your decision, and I’ll leave it there. Best wishes.

  15. Hi MGB, thanks for reading Luke’s discussion and commenting on it, as I asked. You have touched on something I felt too – it seems that Sean Carroll knows the answer he wants and bases his decisions on where he’ll stop his investigation to suit. It seems to me, perhaps unfairly, that some scientists (including him) want us all to be open to all the natural facts we know, but never allow us to consider or investigate anything that doesn’t fit their naturalistic model. That’s why I appreciate Luke Barnes so much – because he seems to be willing to consider and discuss all options.

  16. As a christian, I am willing to explain the Greek meaning of the passages about hell, that shows that the traditional view is mistaken, but I wouldn’t argue much about it.<the

    Your’re right. No point arguing about it. Do you know how much acceptance there is for your view?
    I’ve never heard of a Greek meaning? What is it? And do you have some more information on it?

  17. Hi One Skeptic,

    ” Do you know how much acceptance there is for your view?”

    It is still the minority view, but I think it is growing. A few well known christians endorse it.

    “I’ve never heard of a Greek meaning? What is it? And do you have some more information on it?”

    The New Testament is written in Greek, even though Jesus spoke in Aramaic. There are two aspects to this question.

    1. Jesus talks about “eternal” punishment, which sounds like everlasting. But that isn’t so. The Greek word used means “in the age to come”. The Jews (Jesus was a Jew) believed the present age was evil, but the Messiah would usher in a new age (the age to come) which would be good. So “eternal punishment” means punishment or judgment in the age to come. (I got this from a professor of New Testament Greek at a reputable university in the UK.)

    2. Jesus never talks about ongoing torture for punishment, but warns against “destruction” in the age to come. The word for destruction means exactly what it says.

    Taken together, we can see that Jesus envisaged life in the age to come for those who followed him and accepted God’s offer of forgiveness, and loss of life in the age to come for those who rejected him. But not everlasting torture.

    I have written up all this in greater detail in Hell – what does the Bible say? Hope that all helps. Thanks for asking.

  18. This is exactly why I think this subject is crap. If the property of a quantum vacuum was not to give rise to energy fluctuations that would still be a property also.

    It could be considered a property, but it could also be considered a privation instead. I think in this case the relevant meaning is that it is not a property. I mean, we can talk about the properties of an empty set and then discuss all the features it lacks, but that seems mere semantics to me.

    Well I think this is obvious. If the universe was created for a reason, or has meaning or whatever, it would need to have been created by a creature that has motive and assigns meaning and purpose to things it does. So the original question “Why…etc” is assuming the preferred answer. In fact there is no evidence that “why” is an appropriate question here.

    So I suppose your problem in the question is with the word “why” implying a reason? My take on this would be that “why” originally/etymologically referred to causes, but is now for a long time also used for reasons. Maybe a more precise word would do the job? Is “Through what is there something rather than nothing?” fine with you?

    My take on “nothing” is that in this question it can only meaningfully mean complete non-existence. But a quantum vacuum doesn’t correspond to that, as it isn’t quite propertyless. The logical interpretation is that the non-existent doesn’t have any causal powers, so it is difficult to see how it would be able to cause something to exist. Suppose I’d tell you I’ve been whacked by a ghost while commuting. You’d be sceptical and might say: “Ghosts don’t exist.” How would you react if I concurred and added: “And then they still hit me! Can you figure?” I might add atheists generally aren’t happy to allow for God having created the universe and then say he never existed.

    For something to be logically prior to something else time must exist and therefore whatever the state of play “prior” to universe creation it cannot be described as nothing because of the existence of time.

    No, that is temporal priority, not logical priority. I think UnkleE explained the distinction well.

    Even then, the existence of time before the universe is not accepted in current cosmology. The common take is that the timelike factor developed from a fourth spacelike factor. So not does it only not predate the universe, the universe was originally (for a very short time) without time a fourth-dimensional spatial entity.

  19. @One Skeptic

    Interesting links and I can’t argue with the studies I guess. They seem sound enough.

    Oh yes you can argue with the studies! You can do this for two reasons:
    The conclusions drawn from the data are problematic and are not the only conclusions that could have been drawn.
    And also other statistics directly challenge these results.

    Two other explanations for the results are:

    The majority and dominant group in any society is almost bound to have a better sense of wellbeing than the, (probably discriminated against and perhaps persecuted), minorities. And this will have consequent effects on their general health and happiness.

    Any group that feels it has a firm direction in life and a clear philosophy will be better motivated and more likely to succeed in its endeavours. If you had carried out the same survey on committed national socialists in Germany in 1938 you would have gotten similar results.

    Then there is the contradictory statistics:
    If you look at the prison populations per hundred thousand citizens of the various states in the USA you find that the states with the highest religiosity also tend to have the highest prison populations.

    If you look at all the large advanced democracies in the world excluding those where some philosophy which included atheism was mandated by the government you will find that not only is the USA the most religious but that it has the highest murder rate and prison population. To find countries with a higher murder rate than the US you have to look at third world basket cases or ex-communist states.

    Then there are statistics for the happiest countries in the world. All the countries with the highest rates of organic atheism feature much higher on these lists than countries with high religiosity.

  20. Hi Gordon, I see you posted this comment three times, presumably because it didn’t appear. I’m sorry. I don’t know what happened, it got caught in the spam filter, I don’t know why since your other comments have been coming through OK.

    Anyway I rescued it, sorry it took me a few days to notice it.

  21. “Then there are statistics for the happiest countries in the world. All the countries with the highest rates of organic atheism feature much higher on these lists than countries with high religiosity.”

    Atheists love to quote these statistics, but you know as well as I know that they are quite misleading, quite unscientific and not consistent with the rigour you claim.

    Yes, there are differences between Scandinavia (for example) and the US, but what tests have been done to isolate the causes? You claim it is religion and lack of it, but on what basis? Why couldn’t it be because of different diet, or different culture, or different weather, or different politics, or different gun culture, or different genes, etc?

    Anyone designing or interpreting scientific studies knows that you have to standardise for all the factors you don’t want to test, to allow the ones you do want to test to be seen correctly. The studies I quoted all do this as far as I know. Did any of the studies you referenced?

  22. @unkleE
    re: your statistics.
    I don’t claim causation necessarily. I only point out the correlation and allow others to decide if it is indicative of causation. That’s exactly what your studies have not done. They have jumped to the preferred causation conclusion without considering more obvious possible causation.

  23. Actually Gordon, that isn’t the case. Most of the studies I reference on science and religion identify correlation or association. But they do it by isolating the factors they want to study. The ones you mention that I have seen don’t do that, and therefore can’t legitimately be used to draw the conclusion you have inferred. (If you weren’t inferring that, there was no reason to mention them in this context.)

  24. @unkleE, “Actually Gordon, that isn’t the case. Most of the studies I reference on science and religion identify correlation or association. But they do it by isolating the factors they want to study. The ones you mention that I have seen don’t do that, and therefore can’t legitimately be used to draw the conclusion you have inferred.”

    This is not necessarily true. I have read reviews of studies you have referred to only to find the same accusations made at the authors of your studies.

    You reference “Studies in medicine and religion” and specifically one done by Patrick Glynn, “God: the evidence” .

    Glynn devotes Chapters Two and Three of this book to arguing that belief in God is conducive to mental and physical health. In them he cites studies that purporting to show that people who do not attend church are four times as likely to commit suicide as those who attend it frequently. Similar studies are adduced to show that religious commitment is related to overall happiness, freedom from depression, stress, and alcohol abuse. However, Glynn makes no attempt to analyze this evidence, but even if it is accepted, it shows at most that belief in God is advantageous to one’s health–not that belief in God is epistemologically justified. Indeed, Glynn at one point acknowledges that certain kinds of illusions are conducive to happiness (p. 73).

    But should one accept the kind of evidence Glynn supplies ? One basic problem with it is that the studies he cites do not control for various relevant causal factors.

    Again we can all cite studies to support our arguments but to say the studies Gordon uses are wrong and yours are right is not necessarily so.

  25. Hi Ken, Glynn didn’t do any studies, he wrote a book summarising studies done by other people. But the studies I have checked (e.g. the ones referenced on the Science on Religion websites), do control in the way we have discussed. I’d suggest you check out those websites.

  26. Yes unkleE, I know Glynn didn’t do a study but rather a book which I found listed in your references on your Blog. Sorry I misspoke .

    One of the reviews I read of his book stated that one basic problem with him citing the studies he used is that the studies he cites do not control for various relevant causal factors.

    My point is do you always read the entire studies you refer to or do you simply refer to the “talking points” because they happen to point to the end result you are trying to achieve no matter what data they used to get there ?

  27. unkleE, I know you are a very studied blogger and yet something I have noticed about you which I among others have shared with you many times before is that you are always quick to dismiss the evidence others use as flawed and yet the evidence you use is always pure and correct. You may be right in saying this more than you are wrong, but I don’t believe you are right all the time.

    Have you ever realized that someone else’s evidence was right and yours was wrong ? Just curious. 🙂

  28. Hi Ken, I feel a little disappointed you would say those things, but here’s the best answers I can give.

    My point is do you always read the entire studies you refer to or do you simply refer to the “talking points” because they happen to point to the end result you are trying to achieve no matter what data they used to get there ?

    I get most of my information from the two “Science on Religion” blogs. These authors are PhD students or lecturers in the scientific study of religion, and they have access to the original studies through their academic libraries. I don’t have that access, so I accept their quotes and summaries.

    I accept all that they say. I have blogged on studies that have findings somewhat adverse for religious belief. But the fact is, the vast majority of them find that religious belief and practice has mostly beneficial outcomes.

    you are always quick to dismiss the evidence others use as flawed and yet the evidence you use is always pure and correct. You may be right in saying this more than you are wrong, but I don’t believe you are right all the time.

    Of course I am not right all the time. But I always try to distinguish between when I am referencing the best information available (from historical or scientific studies) and when I am drawing my own conclusions.

    You are of course free to disagree with my opinions. But I find many people, including you sometimes, don’t want to accept the findings of the experts. And that seems to be the case here.

    I think accusing someone of biased reporting of facts is an unpleasant and easy way out. If you think I’m wrong about the facts, please check out the references and explain where I’m wrong. If you are correct, I will apologise and change what I have written.

    Have you ever realized that someone else’s evidence was right and yours was wrong ? Just curious.

    Of course. I read heaps and I develop my views in accordance with what I read.

  29. @unkleE
    re: your stats.
    I think it more likely that your stats are the more suspect not only because they do not control, in some cases, for factors which will affect their results but also because of the causal inferences they have drawn when correlation is all they’ve got.
    The worst aspect of some of your studies is that they have been commissioned by an organisation with a vested interest in a particular research result. The Templeton foundation has effectively bought a scientific veneer for their beliefs.

  30. Hi Gordon, may I ask you a couple of clarifying questions please?

    they do not control, in some cases, for factors which will affect their results but also because of the causal inferences they have drawn when correlation is all they’ve got

    Which studies are you referring to that do not control for extraneous factors, and which ones draw inferences when they have only demonstrated correlation?

    The worst aspect of some of your studies is that they have been commissioned by an organisation with a vested interest in a particular research result. The Templeton foundation has effectively bought a scientific veneer for their beliefs.

    Can you please tell me which of the studies were commissioned by Templeton, and exactly how did that affect the results?

    Thank you.

  31. The question ‘Why does the universe exist?’ can be answered in two steps:
    1) First of all we will have to know as to whether there is any God or not;
    2) If we can somehow come to know that there is a God, then we can further ask as to why he created the universe. When we will have the answer to this question, we will also come to know as to why the universe exists, why we exist.
    Here are two links below where the above two questions have been answered:

    1) https://sekharpal.wordpress.com/2016/01/11/is-fine-tuning-actually-required-for-proving-the-existence-of-god/
    2) https://sekharpal.wordpress.com/2016/02/07/why-did-god-create-the-universe/

    But even if we somehow come to know the reason as to why we exist, yet this will not answer all the questions. Because we can still ask: Why does God exist?

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