I had never heard of “Awaken Generation” before I started getting OneNewsNow.com updates, but I’m rapidly learning that it operates from downtown Nutsville, at the intersection of Ignorant and Paranoid.
This is possibly the worst argument for God’s existence I have ever seen an adult invoking cosmological principles make. I have no idea who Frank Turek is or why Chris Hitchens bothered with him, but he offers a florid version of “start with the certainty of God as creator and invent the necessary evidence.” I would bet that his commission of logical fallacies is as unconscious as it is brazen, and that if you explained to him his various errors he would only smile politely, if a little vacantly, and then utter something vacuous and yet somehow paternal in its irrelevance.
What Turek does is take a number of quotes from astronomers who liken, at some level, the presumed “instantaneous” creation of the universe with the Biblical creation account and use these quotes as evidence for the existence of God.
This strategy, taken alone, is a pitiful one for several reasons. For one thing, I don’t know about Turek’s Bible, but the ones I’ve seen all describe creation as a multi-day process that took place been about 6,000 and 10,000 years ago and saw, among other absurdities, humans strolling around within a week of the appearance of Earth (described in terms of a flat-disk-with-watery-fixed-dome-above arrangement seated at the center of everything, but that’s not important now). For another thing, the precepts of the Big Bang relate to this lunacy at only the most superficial level–“something appeared from nothing.” Well, what creation story doesn’t start in such a way? I mean, it’s a creation story! One could just as reasonably relate the Big Bang to any such fable, not just the Christian one. And finally, even if astronomers in general were not merely a religious lot but a Christian one and believed that the Big Bang harmonizes neatly with biblical creation, this would mean nothing in the absence of corroborating evidence. Ken Miller is an ardent evolutionist and anti-creationist who leaves room for the role of God in the genesis of life, but he doesn’t pretend to have evidence from this, and anyone who uses his beliefs as support for their personal God-did-it idea is hellishly misguided, and certainly shy of anything resembling a convincing or cogent argument.
But this is only scratching the surface of how bad Turek’s reasoning is in his essay, because the quotes he uses do not, in general, support the idea that the astronomers who uttered them even believe, let alone propose within a rational framework, that the Big Bang and Genesis are anything alike. Read them; a few leave the door open in a “Sure, I can see why they believe that” sort of way,” but that’s about it. And Turek invokes a perverse but common canard–“this guy is agnostic/atheist and even he admits…” The problem is that these scientists are simply not admitting to anything resembling Turek’s advance conclusion. And why would they? Modern astronomy and cosmology have taught humankind that the universe is close to 14 billion years old, that Earth didn’t show up until a good 9 billion years after this “creation” event, and that our planet is not flat, not a few thousand years old, and not even the center of the solar system to which it belongs, let alone the center of everything. It is hilarious–and sad, really–that Turek looks to astronomers, who have incidentally lain waste to his deeply cherished mythology, and tries to uses their words to support that mythology.
But even that isn’t all. Turek uses a completely garbled and ludicrous series of non sequiturs to paint the qualities of a created universe as “supernatural.” The only evidence he uses for this is his own strange syllogisms and wordplay, and even were this salvo a reasonable one, it would not point to the existence any one god.
Basically, Turek takes advantage of the fact that scientists don’t know everything–something they even admit!–and clumsily tries to stuff these gaps and cracks full of godcaulk. Perhaps the most entertaining, and telling, part of this post is Turek’s “See! I knew he’d say that!” response to Hitchens’ telling him (surely in a bored, pitying, and possibly drunken way) that he was speculating, and painting this glee as evidence for his propositions. Yep, you’ve got everyone running scared, Frank. Except for the makers of phenothiazines and religious paraphernalia, both of whom rely on folks like you for their sustenance.
(Yes, I realize this post is evidence for the god of the Christian Bible but I can live with that)