April 19, 2023 | Jerry Bergman

On the Origin of Natural Law by Materialism

Attempts to prove that the universe’s origin
occurred purely as a result of natural law fail

 

by Jerry Bergman, PhD

The multiverse hypothesis faces major problems, (as documented in my last post), forcing the modification of the multiverse concept, or the creation of another solution to the origin of the universe. The attempt to prove that the origin of the universe occurred purely as a result of natural law faces one big multi-faceted problem: how, where, and when did “natural law” originate?

The Atheist Motivation

One author, who writes under the pseudonym Rosa Rubicondior, has written 13 books against Christianity and Intelligent Design. All 13 focus on one theme, as stated by Richard Dawkins, namely that Darwin’s theory “made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.”[1] Before Darwin, 99.9 percent of all Western naturalists were creationists. Today, after Darwin, 98 percent of all eminent scientists are functional atheists, persons living their lives as if there is no God. Rosa writes: “Darwin’s theory of evolution by Natural Selection effectively ended the last remaining reason to believe in a creator god….  Before Darwin, the argument for a creator of some sort seemed unassailable.”[2] In his book, Rosa would like to put the last nail in God’s coffin.

Origin of the Universe

One big question remaining is “Where did the universe come from?” The late Stephen Hawking is one of the major and most respected researchers in this area. He had spent the last two decades attempting to answer this question.[3] In short, the theory he proposed was that

the universe’s biofriendly laws were forged in a series of random transitions during its earliest moments of expansion. Reasoning along these lines, cosmologists started wondering whether, perhaps, there was more than one universe. Maybe we live in a multiverse, an enormous, inflating space with a variegated patchwork of universes, each with its own big bang, leading to its own local physical laws.[4]

Note the speculation in the use of terms such as perhaps there was more than one universe, maybe we live in a multiverse. As the problems with the multiverse idea accumulated, modifications of the theory were developed by Hawking and his colleagues. One is to personify the cause of the fact of the privileged planet, such the following: “the universe is the way it is because nature had no choice.” Nature had no choice? To support this claim, Hawking and his colleagues concluded that

The laws of physics and cosmology have many more such life-engendering properties. It almost feels as if the universe is a fix – a big one. Traditionally, most scientists regarded the mathematical relationships that underpin the laws of physics as transcendental Platonic truths. In which case, the answer to the riddle of cosmic design – to the extent that it is an answer – is that it is a matter of mathematical necessity. The universe is the way it is because nature had no choice.[5]

The claim that “The universe is a fix – a big one” begs the question a big fix by whom, how and why?  Other non-scientific issues include the riddle of cosmic design.  The big bang is a riddle? A “mathematical necessity?” This answer is not an answer.

How could the Big Bang produce a mathematical necessity that is perfect to allow life to thrive? Hertog explains: “The universe is so well suited to life that it can appear designed.”[6] Of course the conclusion that it was designed goes against both Steven Hawkins’ and Thomas Hertogs’ atheistic worldview. They attempt to explain how the Big Bang could have produced a universe that seems perfectly designed, but they allege is not designed, but rather evolved to enable life to survive.

Can Laws Write Themselves?

This claim includes the speculation that some of the physical properties of the universe, such as gravity, were not firm, but rather, Hawking explains, could instead be the outcome of the specific manner in which the early universe cooled and condensed after the Big Bang. The problem is that, from all that is known about cooling and condensing, it does not create the laws that explain reality. Some of the most well-known scientific laws, all of which my physics students were able to demonstrate in their class labs, include:

  1. Newton’s 1st law of motion: a body at rest or in uniform motion will continue to be at rest or in uniform motion until, and unless, a net external force acts on it.
  2. Newton’s 2nd law of motion: the acceleration of an object is produced by a net force directly proportional to the magnitude of the net force, in the same direction as the net force, and inversely proportional to the object’s mass.
  3. Newton’s 3rd law of motion: states that there is an equal and opposite reaction for every action.

A few more laws, which are based on Newton’s observations applied to friction include:

  1. The friction level of moving objects is proportional and perpendicular to the normal force.
  2. The friction experienced by the object is dependent on the nature of the surface it is in contact with.
  3. Friction is independent of the area of contact as long as there is an area of contact.
  4. Kinetic friction is independent of velocity.
  5. The coefficient of static friction is greater than the coefficient of kinetic friction.

Other laws dealing with the physical universe include:

  1. The inverse square law: “The intensity of the radiation is inversely proportional to the square of the distance from its source.”
  2. Boyle’s law: the pressure and volume of a gas are inversely proportional to each other as long as the temperature and the quantity (mass) of the gas are kept constant.
  3. Curie’s law: the magnetization in a paramagnetic material is directly proportional to the applied magnetic field. If the object is heated, the magnetization is inversely proportional to the temperature.
  4. The Doppler effect: when the source of waves moving towards the observer results in an upward shift in frequency. For observers from whom the source is receding, a downward shift in frequency will be noted.
  5. Ohm’s law states that when all physical conditions and temperatures remain constant, the voltage across a conductor is directly proportional to the current flowing through it.

Hawking postulates that all these and many other laws were somehow formed in the early universe by a process similar to natural selection.[7] Variation in physics laws, he explains, “happens because random quantum jumps cause frequent small excursions from deterministic behavior and occasional larger ones.”[8]  Thus, Hawking reasoned, the value of gravity is the same today everywhere in the universe only because the value was frozen to its current 9.8 m/s2 during the Big Bang. Selection occurs, Hawking argues, because some of these random quantum jumps, especially the larger ones, can somehow be “frozen” within the Big Bang. How and why they are frozen, he never explains. This freezing, then, he explains, gives rise to new conditions that help to shape the subsequent evolution of all the laws of physics.

Multiverse Speculations

According to the common assumption of cosmologists, “the multiverse is a patchwork quilt of separate universes all bound by the same laws of physics.”[9] However, Hawking posits a very different situation, namely that different laws exist in different universes, at least in the one of the many universes that produced the right conditions for abiogenesis.

Hawking has no evidence, only armchair speculation, that the laws of physics evolved, or even could evolve. Nor does he have any evidence, like a fossil record does for biological evolution, that documents that they were different in the past. All of the required laws, Hawking claims, were not due to design; they were a “fluke” that were for some unknown reason just right to allow life to thrive.  Therefore, according to this idea, although

most universes would be sterile, in some, the laws of nature are bound to be just right for life. String theorist Leonard Susskind once likened the local character of physical laws in the multiverse to the weather on the US east coast: “Tremendously variable, almost always awful, but lovely on rare occasions.” In his view, our delightful cosmic weather is a fluke and the impression of design is an illusion.[10]

Furthermore, each random quantum jump

creates a new universe when a diversion in events occurs, as in the real-worlds variant of the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics. The holographic multiverse is derived from the theory that the surface area of a space can encode the contents of the volume of the region.[11]

A quantum fluctuation (also known as a vacuum state fluctuation or vacuum fluctuation) is the temporary random change in the amount of energy in a point in space.[12] The problem with this explanation for the universe’s origin from random fluctuations is that it doesn’t explain anything. The question remains, “What is fluctuating?” Energy, but what kind of energy. Matter that becomes energy? Up, down, strange, charm, bottom, or top quarks? Electrons? Protons? Neutrons? Neutrinos? Muons? Photons? Positrons? These are not peripheral concerns, but are at the very heart of Hawking’s theory.

Pick Your Theory

Multiverse cosmology is theoretical and no evidence exists of any other universe other than ours. Hawking’s theories are not limited by fact. The theory which is central to Hawking’s cosmology, is that the laws vary in the different universes. The other multiverse cosmology theory is that there exist “metalaws”, which are those in our solar system which govern all of the many universes. The metalaw theory assumes gravity is the same everywhere, but these metalaws don’t specify in which of the habitable universes we are supposed to be in. Without significant verifiable fact, multiverse musings get caught in a spiral of paradoxes that leaves us without verifiable predictions.

Summary                                                                                                                             

Hawking is well known for his ability to explain his theories to the general public. As I have taught physics, chemistry, and biochemistry at the college level, I find that much of his theory is gobbledygook; language that is meaningless or made unintelligible by excessive use of abstruse technical terms. Laboratory-based, observable physics is what scientists have focused on for 300 years. This focus has allowed them to make enormous progress. Imagination-based speculation dressed in manipulated mathematics has not been very productive. In his effort to deal with all of these problems, and still hold to the idea of a universe that looks like it was designed but was not, Hawking has postulated what he calls his Final Theorem, which will be evaluated next. This Final Theorem that Hawking proposes deals with what he sees as the remaining problems in his theory.

References

[1] Dawkins, Richard. The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe without Design. W.W. Norton & Company, New York, NY, 1986, p. 6.

[2] Rubicondior, Rosa. An Unprejudiced Mind: Atheism, Science & Reason (The Light of Reason). CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, Scotts Valley, CA, 2015.

[3] Stephen Hawking’s parting gift. New Scientist 257(3431):5; https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0262407923004967, 25 March 2023.

[4] Hertog, Thomas. Stephen Hawking’s final theorem turns time and causality inside out. New Scientist, Issue 3431, p. 40; https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg25734310-200-stephen-hawkings-final-theorem-turns-time-and-causality-inside-out/, 20 March 2023.

[5] Hertog, 2023, p. 40. Emphasis added.

[6] Hertog, 2023, p. 41. Italics added.

[7] Hertog, 2023, p. 40.

[8] Hertog, 2023, p. 40.

[9] New Scientist. The Universe Next Door: A Journey Through 55 Alternative Realities, Parallel Worlds and Possible Futures John Murray Press, London, England, p. 12.  Emphasis added.

[10] Hertog, 2023, p. 40.

[11] Hertog, 2023, p. 40.

[12] Pahlavani, Mohammad Reza. Selected Topics in Applications of Quantum Mechanics. IntechOpen Publishing, London, England, 2015.


Dr. Jerry Bergman has taught biology, genetics, chemistry, biochemistry, anthropology, geology, and microbiology for over 40 years at several colleges and universities including Bowling Green State University, Medical College of Ohio where he was a research associate in experimental pathology, and The University of Toledo. He is a graduate of the Medical College of Ohio, Wayne State University in Detroit, the University of Toledo, and Bowling Green State University. He has over 1,300 publications in 12 languages and 40 books and monographs. His books and textbooks that include chapters that he authored are in over 1,800 college libraries in 27 countries. So far over 80,000 copies of the 60 books and monographs that he has authored or co-authored are in print. For more articles by Dr Bergman, see his Author Profile.

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Comments

  • tjguy says:

    Materialism makes people dumb. It forces you to question the obvious and deny reality. So it looks and feels like humans have free will, but NOPE, that’s an illusion.

    It looks and feels like the world and life itself was designed, but NOPE, that’s an illusion.

    It looks and feels like “I” exist, but NOPE, that’s just an illusion according to Materialists.

    I doubt anyone anywhere is really able to live consistently as a Materialist.

    Humans and apes are OBVIOUSLY VERY different, but Materialism forces one to think that we are closely related and to view humans as animals – as nothing more than evolved apes.

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