Believe in God in 5 Minutes

Youtube suggested to me a video entitled “Believe in God in 5 minutes (Scientific Proof)”. Of course my sceptical mind had to go and check it out. I watched the video which does indeed take up about 5 minutes of your time. The long and short of it: I still don’t believe in God.

Before diving further into the video, let me embed it here for you to watch.

So, do you now believe in God in 5 minutes? Well, if you’re like me the answer to that question is most likely “no”. There are several serious issues with this video which should make anyone simply reject its claim. First however, let’s take a look at Gerald Shroeder, the man who is presenting the video.
From his Wikipedia page: “Gerald Lawrence Schroeder is an Orthodox Jewish physicist, author, lecturer and teacher at College of Jewish Studies Aish HaTorah‘s Discovery Seminar, Essentials and Fellowships programs and Executive Learning Center, who focuses on what he perceives to be an inherent relationship between science and spirituality.”
So here we have a physicist who studied at MIT who says that science has found God. The blurb underneath the Youtube video details this some more: “Gerald Schroeder is a scientist with over thirty years of experience in research and teaching. He earned his Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctorate degrees all at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with his doctorate thesis being under the supervision of physics professor Robley D. Evans. This was followed by five years on the staff of the MIT physics department prior to moving to Israel, where he joined the Weizmann Institute of Science and then the Volcani Research Institute, while also having a laboratory at The Hebrew University. His Doctorate is in two fields: Earth sciences and physics.”

So here’s really a man of impressive education and a scientist who is presenting a video that is supposed to prove the existence of God to me. So why don’t I believe in God in 5 minutes?

Like I said, there are several issues with this video. For starters, Schroeder says that “you can talk to hard-line atheists and they will say that it looks like science has discovered God”. Personally, I am not familiar with any hard-line atheist who says this. I’ve also not seen it published in any atheist resource. Besides, since atheists don’t believe in God, why would they say that at all? There’s a lot more though.

All through the video, Schroeder returns to this diagram below. It’s a representation of the development of the universe since the Big Bang.

Time-line of the development of the universe since the Big Bang
Time-line of the development of the universe since the Big Bang

According to the video, the extreme left shows the beginning of the universe. However, that is not what the extreme left is intended to show. We don’t know if the Big Bang (which is in itself a misleading name) was the beginning of our universe. The Big Bang theory merely explains how the universe as we currently see it, expanded from an earlier, highly contracted state. In fact, there may not have been a Big Bang at all, as this BBC documentary will explain.
Even if there was a Big Bang, that does not mean that the Bible got it right and that our universe had a beginning. It may still be eternal for all we know, expanding and contracting again and again. We just can’t “see” further back in time than the Big Bang.

Next, Schroeder says that the black area around the diagram is “nothing”. Not a vacuum, but just plain nothing. Unfortunately for him, there is no way for us to know what is beyond our universe, if there is a beyond at all. There may be other universes around ours. Just like we can’t see further back in time than the Big Bang, we can’t see beyond our universe. So to say that there is nothing outside of our universe is merely speculation.

Schroeder goes on to say that science has discovered that as long as you have the laws of nature, you can create something from nothing. Here, he is referring to the quantum fluctuations that are mentioned at the far left of the diagram. Schroeder literally says that if the “laws of nature create the universe, they pre-date the universe”. Here, he makes two mistakes. The first we’ve already seen: the universe being created out of nothing. We don’t know if there ever was a time when our universe didn’t exist in some state or other. The second is worse though. The laws of nature didn’t create the universe! At most we can say that the laws of nature as far as we understand them, allow our universe to exist in its current state. The laws of nature describe our understanding of how the universe functions, they are our discovery. They are not some entity that exists so they can not actually do anything.
Besides that, as we approach the moment of the Big Bang, the laws of nature as we understand them, actually begin to break down which would suggest that they may be a product of the universe rather than the universe being a product of them.

After this, the video goes downhill rapidly as Schroeder lists the four characteristics of the laws of nature:

  1. They are not physical
  2. They act on the physical
  3. They created the physical out of nothing
  4. They pre-date the universe

As Schroeder puts it: these four characteristics are the Biblical definition of God. We’ve already see above how 3 and 4 simply aren’t true according to current cosmology. Number 2 is also untrue. The laws of nature don’t act on the physical, they are our descriptions of how the universe works. As to number 1, they are not physical, that should be a given.

So, at the end of these 5 minutes, I am forced to conclude that I have not heard a single, valid point for science discovering God. For that reason, I do not believe in God in 5 minutes.
Even if what Schroeder is talking about in this video were true, for argument’s sake, we’re still nowhere near the God of the Bible. The best you could arrive at is some form of deism, the idea that there is an impersonal creative force that shaped our universe. That’s still a far cry from the personal God in the Bible, who spoke to Abraham and Moses and who died on the cross for our sins. Why should it be that God at all? Why not Zeus, Ra, Jupiter or any of the other 3000 odd deities that mankind has made up?
The only thing that we may safely conclude at the end of this 5 minute video, is that we have another piece of evidence that faith can make you believe silly things.

Update: I just found that, not unexpectedly, I am not the first to pick apart this video on a blog. Not counting the comments left below the Youtube video itself (which include some excellent refutations), there is a thorough debunk on the blog of Michael Sherlock.

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