Universe’s existence isn’t evidence of God

A Feb. 2 letter sought to counter a Jan. 27 letter that advocated religion be kept out of public schools and that belief in a supernatural being is “unsubstantiated.” You’d think a rebuttal contending evidence for the existence of God would include some, but the writer asserts only that there is a natural world and a “spirit world,” and then moves on. As Christopher Hitchens used to say when debating curiously confident theists: “You’ve still got all your work ahead of you.”

The plain fact that the universe exists is not evidence for anything supernatural, let alone the God of Christianity. The writer criticizes the notion that something could spring from nothing, and clearly thinks this is an accurate summary of the Big Bang theory. It isn’t. Physicists have no doubt long confused the general public by speaking of “nothing” as if in the common conceptual sense. What preceded the Big Bang is referred to as “nothing” only in the context of physics and the macro-level laws of general relativity. The “kind of nothing,” and nearly everything else about it, is hotly debated. This rhetorical misunderstanding is crucial.

Lastly, the writer warns of “the rise of evil” as a society rejects God. Religious beliefs and their effects vary widely, as do the influences that might vie to take their place. However, countries like Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands (among many others) are highly atheistic and yet exceed the United States in most aspects of societal and individual health. The writer’s conception of “the world” seems limited to an out-of-context United States, which is actually an anomalously religious nation among its developed peers.

Wyeth Jones