Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Tipler on creationism

Falsifiable Young Universe Theory   
Speaking of Tipler, be sure not to miss his paper, "How to 
Construct a Falsifiable Theory in Which the Universe Came Into 
Being Several Thousand Years Age,"  PSA  1984, Proceedings of the 
Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association (Vol. 2, 
pp. 873-902). Tipler is not a creationist, indeed, he writes, "I 
personally am an atheist" (p. 895), but he finds that "the 
political position taken by many opponents of the creationists 
offends my liberal instincts" (p. 874). Further, Tipler argues that 
federal judge  William Overton  made a serious error in his 1982 
Arkansas decision, when Overton ruled that creation  ex nihilo  is 
"inherently religious;" Tipler writes:

The problem with this is that..the standard big bang theory has 
the Universe coming into existence out of nothing, and 
cosmologists use the phrase "creation of the universe" to 
describe this phenomenon! Thus if we accepted Judge Overton's 
idea that creation out of nothing is inherently religious, it 
would be illegal to teach the big bang theory at state 
universities! I pointed out this amusing implication of Judge 
Overton's opinion to John Wheeler, who teaches big bang cosmology 
with great enthusiasm at the University of Texas, and he wrote to
me that "he would be unable to obey the law" [i.e., Overton's
decision]. (p. 894)

This paper is fascinating, but beware:  you'll need (at least) a
Ph.D. for the astrophysics.

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