If there is freewill, so is Providence: Refuting the best of atheism through the latest science

Epigraph:

And He (Allah) gave you all that you wanted of Him; and if you try to count the favors of Allah, you will not be able to number them. Indeed, man is very unjust, very ungrateful.  (Al Quran 14:34/35)

Written and collected by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times

Let me start off by saying, if my articles are boring to you, it may be that you need to read more of them, as was suggested by John Cage, who was a famous American composer of the twentieth century, “If something is boring after two minutes, try it for four. If still boring, then eight. Then sixteen. Then thirty-two. Eventually one discovers that it is not boring at all.”

The title of Stephen Hawking’s 2010 book that he co-authored with Leonard Mlodinow is The Grand Design.  In this book the authors have described their agnostic or atheistic world view, through the glasses of contemporary physics. However, the title itself is a Freudian slip revealing the underlying conflict of Hawking’s premise. He cannot express his proposition, even briefly so, without borrowing a phrase that argues the exact opposite and suggests a Designer, a Creator, a First cause, Alpha and Omega! The authors do not offer us any new evidence to prove their premise. The book repackages commonly known scientific information.

The main thesis of the book seems to rely on the multiverse theory and M Theory, which is used to rescue the sinking ship of atheism. These are invoked in one form or the other in concluding paragraphs of almost every chapter, of this book, after the fifth one. The multiverse theory, however, may belong to science fiction rather than science as we do not have access to multiverse to examine it through scientific methods.  Hawking teaches us in the final paragraphs of the fifth chapter that the M theory allows for ten raised to the power 500 different universes, together represented with the term multiverse, each universe with its own laws.

Nowhere in the book have the authors told us what could science have discovered that would have proved a Transcendent God, in other words their conclusion is in fact, only their starting premise.

In this article, I will show that science could have discovered something that would have ruled out the possibility of a Creator or a God that can influence this universe and grant prayers of the believers or give them true dreams and reveal scriptures to His prophets.

In this well written book, Stephen Hawking wants to take the miracle of our habitable earth away by suggesting that there are billions of planets and stars in our expanding universe so there had to be habitable zones in our universe and we naturally find ourselves in one of those.

Nevertheless, in chapter seven of the book he confesses that it takes 10 billion years to cook carbon from lighter elements at millions of degrees centigrade.  And then we needed supernova explosions to spread this carbon to habitable parts of the universe.  Carbon is absolutely essential for all life forms on our planet earth. To use the terminology of the atheists, the mother nature knew that we are coming more than 10 billion years ago.

Hawking does not stand in awe of this miracle of creation, which is more than 10 billion years in making and involves coincidence on top of coincidence on top of unending coincidences.  Perhaps he takes the 13.7 billion year miracle to be an accident or serendipity.  Or may be he attributes the whole phenomenon to the magical mathematical laws underpinning our universe.

But, mathematical laws have no creative power. A book describing all the laws beautifully can keep sitting in a book shelf for trillions of years and will not create a single planet or a solar system, not to speak of a universe with a dimension of 13.7 billion light years.

Napoleon, in one of the most notable conversations in the history of science, asked the French scientist Pierre Simon Laplace about the role of God in his scientific world view. It is said that Laplace had presented Napoleon with a copy of his work, who had heard that the book contained no mention of God. Napoleon, who was fond of imposing embarrassment, received it with the remark, “Laplace, they tell me you have written this large book on the system of the universe, and have never even mentioned its Creator.” Laplace is said to have replied, “Sir, I have no need of that hypothesis.” And so it goes. The apparent so called self-sufficiency of our physical universe has caused many a scientist to move away from the idea of a Creator of the universe or the God Hypothesis. But is it really so?

While nineteenth century physics was framing God out of the picture, the twentieth century physics and more specifically the Quantum physics has catapulted God back into mainstream scientific discussions to the amazement of scientists with an atheistic bend.

Baron John Rees, President of the Royal Society of UK writes in his book, Just Six Numbers: the Deep Forces That Shape the Universe, describes our biophylic universe in the following words:

I have highlighted these six because each plays a crucial and distinctive role in our universe, and together they determine how the universe evolves and what its internal potentialities are; moreover, three of them (those that pertain to the large-scale universe) are only now being measured with any precision.
These six numbers constitute a ‘recipe’ for a universe. Moreover, the outcome is sensitive to their values: if anyone of them were to be ‘untuned’, there would be no stars and no life. Is this tuning just a brute fact, a coincidence? Or is it the providence of a benign Creator?[1]
Firing squad
To drive home the full force of the fine tuning of these six numbers from physics, Martin Rees further quotes a very useful metaphor:
There are various ways of reacting to the apparent fine tuning of our six numbers. One hard-headed response is that we couldn’t exist if these numbers weren’t adjusted in the appropriate ‘special’ way: we manifestly are here, so there’s nothing to be surprise about. Many scientists take this line, but it certainly leaves me unsatisfied. I‘m impressed by a metaphor given by the Canadian philosopher John Leslie. Suppose you are facing a firing squad. Fifty marksmen take aim, but they all miss. If they hadn’t all missed, you wouldn’t have survived to ponder the matter. But you wouldn’t just leave it at that – you’d still be baffled, and would seek some further reason for your good fortune.[2][3]

So, the validity and eloquence of the argument of fine tuning of our universe is self evident. It is not merely a matter of six numbers, the fact of the matter is that according to the M theory as explained by Stephen Hawking in his above mentioned book, we need ten raised to the power of five hundred, independent universes to explain the biophylic nature of our known universe.

Free will

If the scientists had discovered that universe is completely deterministic as Laplace was proposing and a completely closed system then it would have obviously ruled out the Provident God of the Abrahamic faiths, if we could not find Him within the natural world. Such a closed system would have ruled out our freewill also. But it was not to be. I would suggest for additional details: Demystifying Quantum Physics: You Need it for Your Faith and a short video to understand our free will:

To drive home the enormity of the number ten raised to the power five hundred universes, proposed to explain away the biophylic miracle of our known universe, let me share that If some being could discover a universe every millisecond, it would have discovered only 10 raised to 20 universes, since the Big Bang. Still lot more to go.

So, as long as the notion of freewill survives, there is plenty of evidence for Providence and it will flourish.  If billions of humans’ freewill can affect the reality at the quantum level, so can a Divine being at the same quantum level without violating any known laws of nature or be discernable in any way other than what the quantum physics provides.

Unless the scientists ever demonstrate a self contained, closed deterministic world, Monotheism of the Abrahamic faiths is the best metaphysics and not the purposeless day dreaming or confabulations of the atheists.

References:

1. John Rees. Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces That Shape the Universe. Basic Books, 2000. Page 4.
2. John Rees. Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces That Shape the Universe. Basic Books, 2000. Page 4.
3. John Rees. Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces That Shape the Universe. Basic Books, 2000. Page 165-166.

Additional suggested reading and viewing for the Creator God of the Abrahamic Faiths

Ten Raised to Five Hundred Reasons for Our Gracious God

The Muslim Times, Perhaps the Only Medium Presenting the Creator God of the Holy Quran

A Cordial invitation to Sir David Attenborough to be a Theist

How Beauty Is Making Scientists Rethink Evolution

Charles Darwin: An Epiphany for the Muslims, A Catastrophe for the Christians

Allah the Creator, the Maker and the Fashioner: The Best Documentary on Birds

The anesthesia of familiarity: There should be a Creator of Our Universe

The Beauty and the GPS of the Birds and the Quran

A challenge for Dawkins: Where did carbon come from?

Plain Water will Tell you the Story

Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces That Shape The Universe by Martin Rees

The Goldilocks Enigma: Why Is the Universe Just Right for Life? by Paul Davies

Moon: Does it have a purpose?

The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences

Twelve Famous Scientists On The Possibility Of God

We have saved the above video in the Muslim Times as well to ensure its longevity:

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