Lawrence Krauss & Sam Harris Do It Again

Noted Atheist thinker Sam Harris recently interviewed fellow atheist Lawrence Krauss on his blog in order to help promote Krauss’s new book “A Universe from Nothing.”   If you’re interested you can read the whole interview here –

As I’ve stated before it is offensive to me when atheists claim a monopoly on reason.  I actually find that the more convinced anyone becomes that their own view is correct, the less reasonable they are when faced with a contrary view.  The fact that Mr. Harris refers to his non-profit foundation “Project Reason” is in my humble opinion the height of arrogance!

True to form, in reading the interview with Krauss I came across something not only unreasonable but downright deceptive in the way that many atheists approach the top of the origins of the universe and the so called “Big Bang” theory.

Krauss; Empirical discoveries continue to tell us that the Universe is the way it is, whether we like it or not, and ‘something’ and ‘nothing’ are physical concepts and therefore are properly the domain of science, not theology or philosophy. (Indeed, religion and philosophy have added nothing to our understanding of these ideas in millennia.) I spend a great deal of time in the book detailing precisely how physics has changed our notions of “nothing,” for example.

Krauss is saying that science has essentially changed the meaning of the word “nothing”.  Is it really possible for a scientific discovery to change the meaning of a word?  It’s an interesting debate tactic, don’t like the meaning of a word, just change it. 

Essentially Krauss is saying that since he doesn’t like the implications of “nothing”, he has set out change what it what it means, don’t get me wrong, science can change our understanding of a physical concept but it cannot change the definition of a word!  And while “something” and “nothing” are physical concepts, they also carry significant theological and philosophical connotations.  Any “reasonable” person would know that no amount of linguistic gymnastics (twisting of words) is going to change that. Without really meaning to Krauss has actually strengthened the theistic point of view by getting closer to proving that what we once thought of as “nothing” has the power to become something after all. 

This brings me to the so called “Big Bang” theory.  Many atheists are surprised when I tell them that I actually support this theory for the creation of the universe and a careful reading of Genesis Chapter One doesn’t contradict it.  The central concept of the “Big Bang” theory is that the universe evolved from nothing while the central concept of Genesis chapter one is, wait for it; that the universe evolved from nothing.  The two theories share one key ingredient, that before there was something, there was nothing.  How the process of moving from nothing to something started remains a mystery but denying the plausibility of an intelligent creator as unreasonable on the one hand while attempting to change the meaning of the words that are central to the debate on the other is not only unscientific, it’s disingenuous, hypocritical and arrogant.  Any high school debating coach would slap Krauss on the wrist for even suggesting it.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (BANG!)  Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.  And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. (BANG!) God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day. (Genesis 1:1-5)


  1. I certainly couldn’t deny a little hubris on their part, but you may be making a little too much out of this redefinition. I read it a completely different way, not in a re-defining of nothing, but a recognition that “nothing” isn’t really nothing in most cases. This is sort of like how my high school science teacher used to take a flask out a cabinet and say:

    “I have here in my hand an empty flask. But wait! It’s not empty! It’s full of air!”

    It didn’t matter if air wasn’t in part of the experiment or not. He just would remind us that there was “something” there, not nothing. In the same sense, we may look at space and say “look at that nothingness between Earth and Venus, but it is not really nothing. It may not have perceptible matter, but it is full of energy; electro-magnetic energy, gravitational fields, etc.

    1. As you know I get a little worked up over the “reason” issue. I’ve examined the evidence and made what I believe to be a very reasonable conclusion. I’m not above criticism and am willing to have an open and honest debate but when atheists like Mr. Harris and others claim a monopoly on reason they insult the intellegence of those who are more reluctant to make such bold statements. That’s debating in bad faith and I won’t stand for it.

      As for the definition of “nothing” I may not have been clear. It appears to me that Lawerence is denying the philosophical implications of the word, thus attempting to use science to redefine a concept that is both physical and philosophical. When it comes to the definition of “nothing” science and philosophy exist hand and hand and denying one while examining the other simply can’t be done.

  2. The scientist challenged God and said that we have now become as great as God and we can do anything He can. To prove his point, the scientist gathered some dust together and started to create life from the dust. God looked on and said “Well done, you have learned well, but who created that dust you are using ?”

    (note that i am myself a scientist and have “nothing” against scientists 🙂 )

    Wise fool: you are right, your science teacher had quite a lot of things in the empty flask. BUT when the Great Science Teacher created he had a vacuum. The real nothing. The nothing of non-existance.

    He had, to the true sense of the word, nothing to work with. Not even an empty flask. I have to agree with Lauren: you can’t change the definition of the nothing that God started out with.

    Also, Krauss states that “…Indeed, religion and philosophy have added nothing to our understanding of these ideas in millennia…” Religion has been saying there is a beginning to the universe. Science only found that out in the 1960’s (with the discovery of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation).

    We can argue philosophy, science and religion all day long but this wont change the message of Jesus and His authority.

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