A Creationist Interviews Lawrence Krauss
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* Real Science Radio has a Far Ranging Conversation with Krauss: Co-hosts Bob Enyart and Fred Williams present Bob's interview of theoretical physicist (emphasis on the theoretical), atheist Lawrence Krauss. Fred says, "It's David vs. Goliath, but without the slingshot." As the discussion ranges from astronomy and anatomy to cosmology and physics, most folks would presume that Dr. Krauss would take apart Enyart's arguments, especially when the Bible believer got the wrong value for the electron-to-proton mass ratio. But the conversation reveals fascinating dynamics from the creation/evolution debate. (The planned 25-minute interview ran 40 minutes, so there's also a Krauss Part II and once in each half we say, "Stop the tape, stop the tape," to comment.)
* "All Evidence Overwhelmingly Supports the Big Bang": Contradicting Dr. Krauss' over-the-top sales pitch, see RSR's List of Evidence Against the Big Bang, cataloging major observations made by NASA and leading institutions which, as the discoverers typically admit, contradict what was predicted based on the most fundamental expectations of the Big Bang.
* Atheists Admit Fully Half of the Argument: When admitting that biological life appears designed, and that the universe appears finely tuned, the atheist admits fully half of the intelligent design argument. Krauss friend Richard Dawkins often says and has written that, "Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed..." (Dawkins, Watchmaker, p. 1). And the leading cosmologists acknowledge the appearance of the fine tuning of many of the parameters of the universe. Stephen Hawking titled his 2010 book, The Grand Design, and since the 1980s has been admitting, "The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life" (Hawking, Brief History of Time, p. 129). The first half of the argument for the existence of a Designer is the identification of that which appears to be designed. Bob tried to get Krauss to acknowledge this much.
* Krauss Never Heard of Common Terms: Atheists say the darndest things. Apparently, Bob Enyart's command of the English language and extensive vocabulary took Lawrence Krauss off guard to where he had to repeatedly ask for definitions of complex terms. "What is an atheist?" "What is an evolutionist?" Etc. Real Science Radio documents the quirk of evolutionists who pretend during debates with creationists that they've never heard certain common terms. Below, Krauss adds to our list...
- AronRa in the last round of our RSR debate, asked, What's an evolutionist? and What's Neo-Darwinism?
- Eugenie Scott couldn't figure out what I could possibly be referring to when Bob asked her to provide "evidence" for evolution. When he quoted a leading evolutionist on 'problems' for evolution, she even asked, "What's a problem?"
- Richard Dawkins describes as "the kind of question only a creationist would ask", this one, which he still can't answer, “Give an example of a genetic mutation or an evolutionary process which can be seen to increase the information in the genome.”
- Larry Krauss however set a record for not recognizing the most common terms in the least amount of time. RSR will keep Webster's Desktop Reference handy for any future interviews with Lawrence or other atheists. Krauss asked, often incredulously, as though he had never heard of such things:
- "What's a person?"
- "What's an atheist?"
- "What's an evolutionist?"
- "What's Darwinism?"
- He never heard of the "multiverse" proposed as an answer for the fine-tuning problem. Like his friend Eugenie being unfamiliar with the concept of a "problem", Larry had never heard of the multiverse as an answer to a problem, until moments later when he remembered it.
- Krauss acts as though he's never heard of the idea of directed panspermia, nor the idea of the complexity of life being explained in part by claiming that it originated in outer space. Moments later Krauss says panspermia is an "interesting" idea, and then later, a "fascinating" idea. Panspermia, though of the non-directed type, is an idea that he himself presented on CNN just weeks earlier. As physicist Rob Sheldon, at the Marshall Space Flight Center, writes, "a not-insignificant thread of scientists who have held this view, including Arrhenius, Crick, Hoyle, Wickramasinghe and now supported by the observations of Hoover", Richard Hoover being an astrobiologist also with NASA’s MSFC who imagines that life developed somewhere in outer space. Beyond well known scientists like Francis Crick, the co-discoverer of DNA, even Krauss' own friend Richard Dawkins suggested directed panspermia, that is, that aliens intentionally seeded life on earth. Atheists take note however: Aliens didn't create man, man created aliens. Note also, by the way, that this entire argument is one of punting. Sheldon wrote that, "if it occurred somewhere else in the galaxy, it would have had more time..." More time? The same evidence precluding life from forming here applies elsewhere, and while BB cosmology alleges that some other planet might have existed three or four times longer than Earth, the mere statistical hurdles presented by a "simple" biological organism assembling through chance chemical interactions is an orders-of-magnitude problem, with trillions and trillions of universes enduring trillions of times longer that ours still vastly insufficient for the task. Further, life is information based, and no merely material entity can create information. (Computers manipulate physical representations of information and are tools of sentient beings.) Thus in mere moments Krauss moves from ignorant to enthusiastic about an endeavor which is nothing more than the desperation of a failed worldview.
The Conclusion of the Matter: Evolutionists use this debate quirk (rsr.org/atheists-say-the-darndest-things), of pretending to be unfamiliar with common terms in order to obfuscate, to try to keep the debate away from substantive challenges, and as a delay tactic to minimize the number of challenges from creationists that they have to address.
* Krauss Says All Scientists are Darwinists: When you hear consensus, consensus, you may have reason to doubt the consensus. First, Krauss is ignoring the .6 million U.S. Ph.D.s, professors, etc., who doubt the fundamental claim of materialistic origins. Secondly, while there is nothing wrong with quoting an expert on a topic, Krauss uses the bait and switch tactic of identifying experts in one field and then without acknowledging the switch, proceeds as though they were experts in a different topic. By this Krauss commits the logical fallacy of an invalid argument from authority. Being a pilot doesn't mean that you know how to make an airplane, let alone gravity. The same is true, as explained below in the applied sciences item, regarding operational scientists vs. origins theorists. Yet even the Journal of Evolutionary Biology itself admits doubt over primary evidence sold to the public, "A persistent debate in evolutionary biology is one over the continuity of microevolution and macroevolution – whether macroevolutionary trends are governed by the principles of microevolution."
* Krauss Says All Scientists are Atheists: Another example of his constant unscientific hype was when Dr. Krauss said on today's program that, "All scientists are atheists." A moment later he admitted that many of them believe in God. (See also rsr.org/doubters#big-bang.)
For today's show RSR recommends
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* Applied Science and Krauss' False Appeal to Authority: Krauss tells the audience that they should believe in the Big Bang because the telephone, by which Bob Enyart is interviewing him, works. However, since 1876, when Alexander Graham Bell first transmitted intelligible speech by electricity over a wire, atheistic origins theories have changed wildly, yet telephones continued to operate. "Applied science, however, survives enormous changes in secular theories about the beginning of the universe and of life. Thus, such scientific accomplishment does not depend upon those changing theories of origins" (Enyart, 2013, CRSQ 49(4), p. 297). Neither did Darwinism help Bell invent the telephone. (Read the impressive list of inventions and modern technologies at rsr.org/what-inventions-needed-darwin and ask yourself: Do which of our great inventions and technologies required Darwinism, or any atheistic origins theory, for their discovery? The obvious answer is: None of them.) So, among the logical fallacies common to atheist arguments is Krauss' false appeal to authority, that because applied science, which has broad agreement on all sides, works, therefore atheist beliefs on origins should be accepted.
* No one Krauss knows has ever said life is too complicated to have evolved here: One of the authors of the theory of chemical evolution (that elements heavier than helium form in stars and supernovas), Sir Fred Hoyle, famously held that:
"The likelihood of the formation of life from inanimate matter is one to a number with 40,000 [zeros] naughts after it... It is big enough to bury Darwin and the whole theory of evolution. There was no primeval soup, neither on this planet nor any other, and if the beginnings of life were not random, they must therefore have been the product of purposeful intelligence." -Hoyle
"Once we see, however, that the probability of life originating at random is so utterly minuscule as to make the random concept absurd, it becomes sensible to think that the favourable properties of physics, on which life depends, are in every respect deliberate... It is, therefore, almost inevitable that our own measure of intelligence must reflect higher intelligence - even to the extreme idealized limit of God." -Hoyle
Yet Krauss says at 25 minutes into today's program that, "There's no one I know who says that life is too complicated to have evolved here." Perhaps in trying to win this one point in the disagreement, he was being coy in saying, "no one I know." However, even his friend Richard Dawkins has suggested recently:
"Well, [the origin of life on earth] could have come about in this way: The evidence may show, as we look at the complexity, as we look at the genetic mechanisms, that might be evidence that a long time ago, far far away in another galaxy, that there was a civilization that evolved by Darwinian means. And that civilization designed life and seeded it on our earth." -Richard Dawkins to Ben Stein in Expelled (in no way taken out of context)
After quoting this to Krauss, I added that "If biological life is so complex that it couldn't evolve here on such a hospitable planet, then, why would it evolve somewhere else? You've got the same problems there as here. Don't you agree that they're just punting."
"Well, first of all," Krauss said, "there's no one I know who says that life is too complicated to have evolved here." That statement itself of course is evidence of Lawrence's selective memory.
* Krauss Claims that Scientists Don't "Believe" Anything: Krauss contradicts his claim that he doesn't "believe" anything in that he believes:
- that life arose naturally from inanimate matter
- the philosophical cosmological principle
- the philosophical anthropic principle
- in a dozen things he claimed just during our brief RSR interview, including in the first one minute.
For other examples of what Krauss and atheists "believe" and take on a blind faith, see RSR's List of Things Atheists Take By Faith. Likewise, while claiming that science doesn't have beliefs, but rather, it only disproves claims, Krauss doesn't realize that claiming that a theory has been falsified is itself a positive statement of belief. (Krauss' fellow atheist AronRa also makes this kind of error. Regarding the philosophical claim that the universe has no center, AronRa could not get himself to realize that such a claim is a positive assertion.) Atheist self contradiction includes their eager belief in falsehood (readily admitting to disproving theories) and their opposition to truth (even denying the existence of truth, which was inevitable seeing that Jesus Christ said, "I am the truth). Thus atheists are increasingly uncomfortable even with information per se, with mind, with the validity of the laws of logic, and so with truth itself. So atheists find a confused kind of comfort in claiming that they don't believe things, they just falsify ideas. Come to think of it though, they're even uncomfortable with the very existence of "ideas", since ideas themselves are not made of matter. (See realscienceradio.com/math#Einstein.)
* Krauss "Surprised" by Friend Eugenie's Junk DNA Claim: Eugenie Scott made the same Junk DNA argument to Bob Enyart that thousands of evolutionists along with the leading Darwinists have made for decades, yet Lawrence Krauss acted surprised to hear it. And Krauss agrees that she was wrong to tell Bob in 1998 that biologists knew for sure that pseudogenes (aka Junk DNA) had no function and so, were evidence against intelligent design. Virtually all leading evolutionists validate the ID concept, except that they use its argument in reverse, and poorly, claiming that what they assess as poor design is evidence against a Creator. (Next week RSR will air four minutes of the Enyart/Eugenie disagreement over junk DNA as the guys discuss the landmark Nature study reporting on 440 genetic researchers who so far have identified function in 80% of the human genome!)
* Two Examples of Krauss' Bias Leading to Erroneous Thinking: In his 2012 book, A Universe from Nothing, motivated by his atheistic bias, Krauss attempts to refute that scientists often use their minds rather than scientific equipment, to make astounding discoveries of the physical universe. He is trying to support the absurd statement that he said to Bob Enyart, that scientists don't "believe anything;" that instead, they merely acknowledge empirical observations. Of course that claim is a virtual hallucination. But it would be interesting to see him argue his case. So in his book, trying to justify his denial, Lawrence Krauss presents a story about Albert Einstein which EXACTLY contradicts Krauss' purpose for referencing the anecdote. In Krauss' own telling of the account, Einstein used telescopes, yes, to make an astronomical observation, but NOT to form his theory, for his theory had already been written on paper after being formulated in his mind, even as Krauss presents it. As Discover magazine's Richard Panek explains:
In the late 17th century, Isaac Newton helped inaugurate a scientific revolution by taking Galileo's observations of the heavens' motions and expressing them mathematically. Then in the early 20th century, Albert Einstein helped inaugurate a second scientific revolution by reversing that process, taking his own calculations and looking for their physical expression in the heavens.
The second example of Krauss' bias affecting his thinking is his insistence that a quantum field is "nothing." Krauss (and Stephen Hawking, from whom Krauss borrows the title of his book) believe that the word nothing really means something that has physical properties. So Krauss begins his book with a very brief criticism against anyone who would dare use the word "nothing," to mean... well, nothing. Of course what he's trying to do is to justify the anti-science, bait-and-switch title of his book. His claim that the word nothing has been improperly defined (by linguists and philosophers) flows from his bias to justify increased book sales by use of a title that he later admited was misleading. So as a second example of his hype-based bias clouding his ability to think clearly, his argument regarding the word "nothing" is itself completely devoid of substance. That is, he provides absolutely no justification for his bizarre claim.
* Krauss Never Heard of Alleged Fine-Tuning Multiverse Solution; Then Proposes It: Cosmologist George Ellis, et al. wrote, "The idea of a multiverse -- an ensemble of universes -- has received increasing attention in cosmology... as an explanation for why our universe appears to be fine-tuned for life and consciousness." Whereas Dr. Krauss denied Enyart's statement that atheists were positing multitudes of universes in order to explain apparent design, back in 1985, the consummate astronomer, British cosmologist Ed Harrison, wrote, "Here is the cosmological proof of the existence of God – the design argument of Paley – updated and refurbished. The fine tuning of the universe provides prima facie evidence of deistic design. Take your choice: blind chance that requires multitudes of universes or design that requires only one.... Many scientists, when they admit their views, incline toward the teleological or design argument." Now fast forward to this year when biologist and fellow of both Cambridge University and of the Royal Society, Rupert Sheldrake, wrote, "To avoid a creator God emerging in a new guise, most leading cosmologists prefer to believe that our universe is one of a vast, and perhaps infinite, number of parallel universes..." So beginning at 9 minutes into today's broadcast Enyart asserted to Krauss that he and other atheists readily accept the notions of trillions upon trillions of universes assuming this gives them a possible explanation for the wildly unlikely finely tuned parameters (rsr.org/fine-tuning) of our universe. At 13:42 in, Krauss denied this. Enyart says, "The reason that so many astrophysicists, cosomologists, have gone to asserting the multiverse, that there are trillions upon trillions of universes, is because they say ours is such that, it is so wildly unlikely, there's no good reason for it to be here, unless there were septillions." Krauss "No, that's not the reason; no, no, that's not the case." This prompted Enyart to state, "Let me object, for the record..." And in denying that he had ever heard of the multiverse proposed solution as an answer for the fine-tuning problem, he then claimed that the multiverse is posited only because of string theory, and though he himself rejects string theory, yet he then claimed that there might indeed be an infinite number of universes. What a web we weave. Famed cosmologists John Barrow & Frank Tipler, on the back cover of their standard treatment, The Anthropic Cosmological Principle, "Could there be other universes? How large is the range of conceivable universes that can give rise to living observers?" On page 6 they write, "we are tempted to make statements of comparative reference regarding the properties of our observable Universe with respect to the alternative universes we can imagine possessing difference values [for] their fundamental constraints. But there is only one Universe [no?]; where do we find the other possible universes against which to compare our own in order to decide how fortunate it is that all these remarkable coincidences that are necessary for our own evolution actually exist?" See more RSR multiverse excerpts from this text, by cosmologists whom Lawrence Krauss knows very well.
* Then Krauss Proposes Multiverse Solution: At 14:40 into today's broadcast, Krauss admits to Enyart, "something along the lines of what you're saying, namely, that if [certain fine tuning] were any different... so if [the fine tuning] is a random event, then if it we're any different, we wouldn't be here. Now, I should say that that's a plausible and possible answer, resolution to that problem, and it's motivated in some sense by the possible existence of many universes, which are predicted by many particle physics theories." Then at 18 minutes in, Krauss again basically agrees with what he had been rejecting, saying, "There are many physicists who argue that the parameters of our universe are difficult to comprehend and many who predict the existence of many universes... We only exist in the universe with the parameters that allow life." This is not surprising because:
- Krauss' own book embraces the multiverse in Chapter 8: A Grand Accident
- Statistician and codger William Briggs noted last year that Krauss himself proposes multiple universes to explain ours.
On RSR, Krauss even stated that there might be infinite universes (which of course could include millions of universes wherein Lawrence was married to Hillary and elected president as Bill Krauss; millions of others wherein he was Chelsea's brother; and in all of which, atheists spend far too much time thinking about the Physics of Lost in Space). Krauss and his associates were slow to the table though on the multiverse, which was not as supposed invented by physicist Hugh Everett, but a year earlier in 1956 by DC Comics.
* Atheism, Not Physics, Leads to Belief in Multiverse: Cosmologists like Lawrence Krauss claim that physics and the study of subatomic particles led to the multiverse. Alternatively, Real Science Radio argues that it is not particle physics but atheism which led to the proposal, and acceptance, of the multiverse. Prof. Peter Coveney and Roger Highfield in their popular book, The Arrow of Time, present the "many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics" (MWI, aka, the multiverse) as an alternative to the Copenhagen interpretation because whereas the science itself suggested the existence of God, a multiverse was viewed as a way out. At Princeton University in 1957 Hugh Everett working with Prof. John Wheeler proposed that, as in the wave-particle duality double-slit experiment, a photon (electron, etc.) doesn't pass through one slit or the other, but rather, the entire "universe splits into two" as its wave goes through both, and when an observer sees the collapse of its wave function, we're merely registering the outcome in our own universe. According to Coveney and Highfield, "Everett's many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics has found favour with many cosmologists because it removes the apparent necessity for an external observer. [For] the only observer who could collapse a conventional wavefunction of the universe must be God." (pp. 133-134) Incidentally, Everett's thesis affirms a "psycho-physical parallelism" which rejects the human soul and spirit for a purely physical mechanism, and New Scientist's review of a Tegmark book asks, has multiverse "cosmology veered towards something akin to religion? ... Multiverse champions seem quite happy, even eager, to invoke infinite numbers of other universes as mechanisms for explaining things we see in our own universe. In a sense, multiverse enthusiasts take a 'leap of faith'". Famed astronomer Seth Shostak, asking, "Who or what built the universe?" speaks of Stephen Hawking's claim that, "With gravity in place, the cosmos-as-we-know-it was just a matter of hanging out for a few billion years." And then Shostak observers:
...this approach inevitably begs the question, "who designed gravity?" Isn't it remarkable that this gentle force seems so perfectly suited to the job of assembling a grand and habitable universe? And indeed... there are many other physical parameters that seem to be nicely adjusted for our presence. This is frequently referred to as a "fine tuning" of the cosmos. If, for instance, the charge on the electron were of a slightly different value, stars wouldn't work adequately, and you would be spared both this blog and your existence. Depending on your personal philosophies, you can either credit this custom fitting to the intentions of God, or go for Plan B. The latter posits a multiverse...
Thus the dislike of God is so unquestioned and intense among secular scientists that it motivated the initial proposal (though absurd) of parallel universes. Or, in the slightly veiled terminology of Max Tegmark: "Going from our universe to the Level I multiverse eliminates the need to specify initial conditions." Exactly.
* Multiverse vs. Bible Verse: "In the beginning God created" begins the first Bible verse. Krauss' objections aside, here's the multiverse alternative as described in the NY Times by Paul Davies:
Imagine you can play God and fiddle with the settings of the great cosmic machine. Turn this knob and make electrons a bit heavier; twiddle that one and make gravitation a trifle weaker. What would be the effect? ...there wouldn't be anyone around to see the result, because the existence of life depends rather critically on the actual settings that Mother Nature selected.
Scientists have long puzzled over this rather contrived state of affairs. Why is nature so ingeniously, one might even say suspiciously, friendly to life? What do the laws of physics care about life and consciousness that they should conspire to make a hospitable universe? It's almost as if a Grand Designer had it all figured out.
The fashionable scientific response to this cosmic conundrum is to invoke the so-called multiverse theory.
* Krauss: "It would be very surprising to find ourselves in a place we couldn't live." At 11:30 into today's program you can hear Lawrence Krauss ask Bob Enyart his oft-repeated question: "It would be very surprising to find ourselves in a place we couldn't live. Do you agree with that?" Note two things.
1) Krauss' question ignores the extraordinary fine-tuning that goes far beyond our mere ability to exist, and enables human beings to thrive and share with a million species this Earth of ours, within a discoverable universe of extraordinary size and exquisite beauty.
2) His question functions like a magician's effort to distract attention to trick the audience. The fine-tuning question that he is responding to arises out of the materialists' claim to be able to explain our origins based on scientific observations of the physical universe. But instead of their investigation affirming their claim, the deeper they look, they themselves recognize that the vastly more improbable has it become that life might arise from a non-directed origin of our material universe. So rather than displaying humility and acknowledging that their problem of explaining our existence has become a googolplex times more difficult than they at first thought it was, they turn around and say to the creationist, "Well, stupid you. Did you think you would find yourself in someplace that you couldn't exist?"
Today’s Resources: Get the Spike Psarris DVD What You Aren't Being Told About Astronomy and Vol. II, Our Created Stars and Galaxies! Have you browsed through our Science Department in the KGOV Store? Check out especially Walt Brown’s In the Beginning and Bob’s interviews with this great scientist in Walt Brown Week! You’ll also love Dr. Guillermo Gonzalez’ Privileged Planet (clip), and Illustra Media’s Unlocking the Mystery of Life (clip)! You can consider our BEL Science Pack; Bob Enyart’s Age of the Earth Debate; Bob's debate about Junk DNA with famous evolutionist Dr. Eugenie Scott; and the superb kids' radio programming, Jonathan Park: The Adventure Begins! And Bob strongly recommends that you subscribe to CMI’s tremendous Creation magazine!
Atheist Origins -- 2013 Update: Bob enjoyed chatting recently with Chauncey, a member of a Denver atheist group. Bob asked Chauncey to consider two things: 1) If you don't have a theory of origins that accounts for human consciousness, then you don't even have a hypothesis. And 2) There is a demonstrable pattern to atheist claims about origins in that:
- the origin of species for Darwin begins with species already in existence
- the origin of stars begins with existing protostars and the explosion of existing stars
- the origin of genes that code for new proteins begins with modifying existing genes
- the origin of species for the neo-Darwinian synthesis begins with wildly sophisticated existing life
- the origin of life on earth increasingly is seen as seeded from pre-existing life in outer space
- the origin of the universe increasingly is explained by claiming that our fine-tuned universe is merely a byproduct of the pre-existing multiverse which is forever popping trillions of universes into existence.
This pattern demonstrates that many in the public, following the gullible media, have undue confidence in the origins claims of evolution marketing reps like Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss.