Time to indulge in a little history lesson concerning how science came to be dominated by atheists.  [Yes, not all branches of science, but most assuredly physics and astronomy.]  Why do we care?  To be able to prove that atheists no longer have a logical basis, we have to understand that when atheism became popular, they did.  At one time atheists, theists, agnostics, naturalists, all had a logical basis for their beliefs.  Although that time began 250 -300 years ago, it persisted for a long time.  Certainly it was viable as late as 1920.  But that’s not when it started.

In the ‘dark ages’ [roughly 1000 to 1400], after Rome had converted to Christianity, the Roman Catholic church dominated everything.  Then came the Renaissance.  The influence of the Roman Catholic church [of which I am a member] began to wane.  But the Inquisition was still in progress.  [Strangely, perhaps, the reformation, started by Luther in 1517, which diminished the control the the Roman Catholic church, fueled the most egregious witch hunts — which were not a part of the Roman Inquisition.]  The Roman Inquisition lasted, more or less, through 1750.  [The Spanish, through 1834 in Euruope.]  But, even though the influence of the Roman Catholic church was waning, everybody believed in God, in heaven and in hell.  What happened?

The Renaissance awakened scientific thought free from outright control by the Roman Catholic church.

The first clash between science and religion happened.  It was the argument about heliocentricity.  Heliocentricity [accepted centuries before in India, etc.] was cautiously lectured on before Copernicus.    The Church, of course, believed the earth was the center of the universe [although their concept of the universe was very ill-defined].

Then along came Copernicus.  He had data to prove the sun was the center of the solar system; the earth revolved around the sun as did the other planets.  He was afraid to publish his theory and supporting data because of the church and the Inquisition.  A student nagged him into doing so.  Did that lead to an inquisition trial?  Did the Church prosecute Copernicus for his beliefs?  No; it wasn’t published until he was on his death bed in 1543; he was given a copy, appeared happy and died.

The Roman Catholic church did not accept his teaching, of course.  In the early 1600’s, another heliocentrist was burned at the stake.  But the idea wouldn’t die; Galileo picked up the torch and advocated heliocentricity.  He was tried in 1633, convicted and sentenced to house arrest for the crime of heresy.  He died under house arrest.  [He was too famous to execute.]

Obviously, scientists [all of which were heliocentrists, of course] in the late 1600’s to mid-1700’s were not enamored with the Roman Catholic church.  Not having Kierkegaard’s ‘Attack on Christendom’ [it was written about 100 years later] to help them distinguish from belief in God and belief in the church [‘Christendom’], they lashed out at God and widely rejected belief in God’s existence.  They needed a theory to support such an outrageous [at that time] belief.  [Outrageous then, reasonable 75 years ago; outrageous now.]

As the Scientific Revolution progressed, by the mid-1700s, the doctrine of Materialism had gained much strength.   It dates back, at least, to ancient Greece.  There the ‘materialists’ thought nothing mattered except matter.  [The other major branch of philosophy then was the ‘idealists’.  They believed matter didn’t exist; it was just an ‘idea’.]  The materialists thought reality began and ended with matter.  They thought matter was eternal, immutable and unchanging.  It had existed eternally.  Consequently, so had the universe.  There was NO creation.

That was just what the atheist scientists needed.  If there was no creation, there was no God.  This was their foundational position!  They adopted materialism, and the God-less universe, en masseHume writes of the ‘eternal universe’ in the 1750’s.

Perhaps Politzer stated it best circa 1840:  “The universe was not a created object; if it were, it would have to have been created instantaneously by God and brought into existence from nothing.  To admit creation, one has to admit, in the first place, the existence of a moment when the universe did not exist, and that something came out of nothingness. This is something to which science can not accede.”

He recognized the ‘something out of nothing’ fallacy;  note that he makes it clear that if the universe was created, there must be a Creator.  [He constrains the Creator to do it in a moment — he failed to recognize that before the creation of the universe, as we have discussed, there was no time; he also constrained the Creator to do it out of nothingness, but he didn’t know about e = mc^2, did he?]

The important thing is that he recognized the bet.  He believed he had the ultimate hole card:  Nothing comes from Nothing.  But e = mc^2 shows us that the universe came, not from nothing, but from God’s incredible energy.

The Atheists made their point clear:  The Universe was Eternal, Immutable and Unchanging. Therefore, there was no Creation; Nothing comes from Nothing; they said there was no Creator; ergo, there was no God.

That was the bet:  ‘Until you can show me that the universe is not eternal; until you can show me that the universe had a beginning; until you can show me the universe was created, I will tell you there is no God.’

The agnostics, when agnosticism became the choice of the intellectual more or less in the 1920’s, made it clear as well.  They told the atheists:  ‘You deny the creation of the universe and therefore the existence of a Creator, namely God, but you can’t prove the universe is eternal and that there was no creation.  Therefore, we decline to believe as you believe until you can prove what you believe.’    On the other side of the coin, they told the theists:  ‘You believe in the creation of the universe and therefore the existence of a Creator, namely God, but you can’t prove that any more than the atheists can prove the other.  Therefore, we decline to believe as you believe until you can prove what you believe.’ 

They recognized The Bet.  Everyone did.

Then came Einstein,, Eddington, Lemaitre, Hubble [aided by Leavitt and de Slipher], Gamow and Penzias & Wilson:  By 1967, with the latter’s work published and accepted [they were to win the Nobel prize in 1978], it was clear that the the theists had won the bet.  Creation was proven.  God, the Creator, existed!!!  End of bet!  End of any logical basis for atheism [and, of course, for agnostism].  [Naturalism, herein defined as the belief that God is everywhere within the universe {in the stars, in the trees, in the birds, in the bees} also bit the dust.  A word about that later.].

Next post we’ll talk about what happened to atheism and today’s atheists, ie, the welchers.