How do atheists incorporate the Big Bang cosmology into their worldview?

It’s easy! Just watch the video of his debate with William Lane Craig, who responds to Atkins’ explanation.

So, just who is this Peter Atkins, and why is he a good spokesman for atheism?

From his Wikipedia bio.

Peter William Atkins (born August 10, 1940) is an English chemist and a fellow and professor of chemistry at Lincoln College of the University of Oxford. He is a prolific writer of popular chemistry textbooks, including Physical Chemistry, 8th ed. (with Julio de Paula of Haverford College), Inorganic Chemistry, and Molecular Quantum Mechanics, 4th ed. Atkins is also the author of a number of science books for the general public, including Atkins’ Molecules and Galileo’s Finger: The Ten Great Ideas of Science.

[…]Atkins is a well-known atheist and supporter of many of Richard Dawkins’ ideas. He has written and spoken on issues of humanism, atheism, and what he sees as the incompatibility between science and religion. According to Atkins, whereas religion scorns the power of human comprehension, science respects it.

[…]He was the first Senior Member for the Oxford Secular Society and an Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society. He is also a member of the Advisory Board of The Reason Project, a US-based charitable foundation devoted to spreading scientific knowledge and secular values in society. The organisation is led by fellow atheist and author Sam Harris.

Now watch that 6-minute video above. Peter Atkins thinks that nothing exists. He thinks he doesn’t exist. He thinks that you don’t exist.

If you watch the full debate, he also argues that objective morality doesn’t exist, and that moral values and moral obligations are illusory. That’s right: atheists cannot even make rational statements about morality because there is no such thing as an objective moral standard in their worldview. This denial of morality is in addition to denying the mainstream science of the Big Bang cosmology. I don’t have the ability to believe things are true that are obviously false the way Atkins does, so I guess I can’t be an atheist. Oh well, I tried!

3 thoughts on “How do atheists incorporate the Big Bang cosmology into their worldview?”

  1. And if nothing exists, then I can go and help myself to all of Atkins’ money and possessions, and my response to his objection would be, “Wha’? Who said that?”

    WLC is my hero.


  2. Note that while Atkins — as most debaters do, atheist or otherwise — goes subtly snipey (“…happily, Dr. Craig has done that for me.”), Dr. Craig remains objective. He doesn’t call Atkins’ position “silly” or “ridiculous”. (A courtesy he, himself, is rarely given.) He uses objective, dispassionate language, calling it “radical”. This is something that Craig has done better (ironically) than all of the atheist opponents of his that I’ve seen.

    I would like to address one weakness in Craig’s rebuttal. He seems to slightly mishandle the perfectly acceptable money/debt analogy. His direction seems wrong. If you have an equal amount of money to debt, it *can* be argued that *you* have no money. What *can’t* be said is that that situation means no money exists, which would be more the kind of argument Atkins’ “nothing” paradigm would suggest. It’s a fair analogy. I just think Craig misapplied it a little.


  3. The ‘nothing’ Atkins is using isn’t an absence of being. It’s merely a mathematical representation as Craig points out. It’s the same problem Krauss has in his book ‘A Universe from Nothing’. Mathematical equivocations are not physical reality. 0 does not create a positive and negative number in reality. 0 isn’t actually ‘nothing’; it’s simply a way of representing something that’s neither positive nor negative. We cannot extrapolate from 0 what positive and negative values combined to become 0. At best we can say that the universe was ordered in such a way that the total energy was at or very near 0.

    Who or what created that order and who or what changed that order?


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