Monday, 18 October 2010

Creator but not a God

I've been asked from time to time how I can study physics and yet not believe in god (or gods). My reason is simple: I don't see any evidence for a god so why should I believe in one? What I will allow, as a possibility, is a creator. This is where most people get confused so I'm going to attempt to explain exactly what I mean.
As it stands science (precisely cosmology and quantum physics) cannot state what happened before the big bang; it's a singularity which means that the mathematics of describing the universe stops working. The upshot is that there is nothing that we observe that can tell us what happened 'before the big bang' even such a question is meaningless as we don't even know if time existed. The obvious assumption made by my theist friends is that this is where god (the creator) sits and makes the universe; therefore there is god; therefore that god is god X (normally the Christian God but change as appropriate). It's the last two assumptions that I have a problem with; there is no reason that the creator is still here and certainly no reason to believe (s)he is god X.

So I believe a creator is possible: although I don't believe there is one, I just acknowledge that there is no way to make a definitive statement either way. If there was a creator (s)he doesn't seem interested in making her/himself known to us even if (s)he is still there.

The final point I think I've made before but I hope to put it more elegantly: in all odds any creator is a computer programmer. Our society has made virtual worlds and there is no reason to assume that you would be able to tell that you were in a simulation over the real thing (no, if you squint hard enough you don't get to see the world as green lines of text you just get a headache) so there are pretty good odds that a more advanced civilisation has just simulated our world.

In summary: there is no god, there might be a creator but if there is he's most likely using this world for porn (don't believe me? how much of the 'net is porn... there you go).


  1. I think you're saying you're just unhappy with the concept of a deity or all powerful being. You've essentially just described a belief in a god albeit one that doesn't sit happily in any major religion or foundation of mythology.

    You are suggesting that the initial building blocks of existence were set in motion by an inteligent being, or at least an entity with some purpose. This gives you more in common with your theist friends than you might imagine and makes the differences in some of your beliefs largely semantic. :-)

  2. Not so (I guess once more I fail at this). It's more that I acknowledge that it is entirely possible there is an omnipotent creator that could have made the universe look as it does. What I think is crucial is that I don't believe this is the case and I certainly don't see any evidence of one.

    It's more that I believe that we cannot test if there is a god/creator but I believe there isn't. I certainly don't believe in any god described by any of the major religions.

    Another way to look at it is I believe it is possible that sitting on my shoulder is an invisible, undetectable elephant. I don't believe there **is** an invisible, undetectable elephant I just realise that it is possible, if a bit silly.