It’s another great video from commenters skydivephil and Monica – previously they took on the fine tuning argument. Now, they’re tackling William Lane Craig’s cosmological argument:

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org and appears on the weekly Skeptics' Guide to the Universe podcast. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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34 Comments

  1. Avatar of leosaumure
    August 7, 2011 at 6:13 pm —

    You know, I realize that this whole video is about debunking a theist’s argument for how god created the universe…But I just thought the science itself was mind blowing. Like the idea of time looping back on itself to create the universe? THAT IS SO FRIGGING COOL!!!!

  2. Avatar of blissed
    August 7, 2011 at 6:14 pm —

    Thanks for posting.

    Time doesn’t exist. The past exists only in our memory and the future exists only in our imagination. Einstein’s time is about how objects move in relation to each other. A broken vase can’t reassemble itself ever. Only if you go back in time and that can only happen in your imagination, because time is a human notion that needs a brain and doesn’t actually exist. Everything is now

    That’s what my head says. My heart says Monica is totally gorgeous :)The Big bounce is my intuitive favourite. The answer to what came before the big bang (see you can’t escape the time notion, it’s in our language) is at present beyond outré horizon but that’s never bothered theists. “Science will win” Nice thought from Stephen, I agree. Iy could even prove my intuitive thoughts wrong.

    • Avatar of blissed
      August 7, 2011 at 6:23 pm —

      They’ve got a nice channel, I’m getting sucked into it now :)

      • Avatar of Raggedy Ann
        August 7, 2011 at 9:59 pm —

        “That’s what my head says. My heart says Monica is totally gorgeous”

        Your heart should shut up instead of downplaying a woman’s contribution for her looks.

        • Avatar of blissed
          August 8, 2011 at 4:41 am —

          The fact that she’s gorgeous is partly because of her looks yes and totally about the way she is and the fact that she’s gorgeous doesn’t down play anything it’s a wonderful adition to life. and so are compliments from whatever gender wether they’re gynosexual or androsexual appreciation of anyone, so up yours :)

          • Avatar of blissed
            August 8, 2011 at 4:50 am

            Also to say her sexuality (which she owns) downgrades her in anyway when complimented is a very negative view of sexuality. We’re all sexual beings and our sexuality is valuable and should be respected not down graded.

          • Avatar of blissed
            August 8, 2011 at 5:07 am

            I said up yours because you said shutup. I think if we have anything else to say on this it should be a discourse where we mutually respect each other.

          • Avatar of BeardofPants
            August 8, 2011 at 1:48 pm

            A woman called you out on what elevatorgate was essentially about, and you tell up “up yours”? Really?

          • Avatar of blissed
            August 8, 2011 at 10:02 pm

            There is no distinction, my heart is part of me, so she told me to shut up. and I think your making a

            Conversationally saying your heart thinks someone is gorgeous as a tiny part of a larger post about time isn’t objectifying. When we do actually fall in love we fall in love with a whole person. The emotion is totally subjective. And me making lengthy posts in an effort to convince you isn’t telling you what to think. Your projecting your preconceived notions onto me.which is why your making a huge deal of this. I think our sexuality is noble and has respectful equal billing as part of us it’s not owned by people who disrespect it. I don’t agree with the slut shaming that helps support male privilege, why shouldn’t any gender express desire, and the gender polarised notions of men and women aren’t the only genders.

            If you read the entirety of what I’ve said above again, I’m talking about women and men or any gender and sexual orientation and that we should approach someone if we think an attraction is mutual. You can only make a judgement on that and if your wrong then who wouldn’t apologise. Though I’m just using that to demonstrate the dynamic of respect in mutual attraction, I haven’t approached anyone, I’ve just made a genuine compliment. .and if she can accept a genuine compliment with a smiley and enjoy it that’s lovely..

        • Avatar of blissed
          August 8, 2011 at 6:36 pm —

          Is she had.nt said shut up I wouldn’t have said up yours. If your rude don’t be shocked whrn someone stands up for themselves. and as I’ve said now that bad karma has been returned my desire is that we all repect each other.

          And no that wasn’t what elevatorgate was about. Elevatorgate wasn’t about an appreciation of sexuality or complimenting someone it was about objectification which is enrirely different.

          Remarking that someone is gorgious is nice. We’re conversational beings and If you incidentally remark that someone has a fabulous singing voice that’s got nothing to do with cosmology but wouldn’t downgrade them because we respect that talent. As a society we have a fundamental disrespect for sexuality, To save myself writing a book on the subject heres a link to Dods and Ross, sex educators. If you want to bookmark it and read it regularly ypu’ll realise the difference between objectification and a sex positive respect for sexuality in all it’s diversity. And if I put Penis in the post the moderators are asured to see the site too :) http://dodsonandross.com/

          • Avatar of blissed
            August 8, 2011 at 6:55 pm

            Yeah patriarchal objectification doesn’t own everyone’s sexuality. Don’t let it shut you down. Whether you want to simply compliment someone in a way you think they;ll enjoy or make a 1st move towards someone you think desires you too then do it. If we respect each other, lust isn’t a sin it;s just sexual attraction, which is wonderful.

            What happened to Rebecca in the elavator wasn’t respectful to her sexuality or previously stated personal bounfaries. That’s why I spent so long defending her across the net.

          • Avatar of BeardofPants
            August 8, 2011 at 8:01 pm

            You’re not getting it. Women (on here & other sites) have talked about the frustration of being objectified. You just objectified the woman in the video linked above. Another woman called you out on it (and note: she didn’t say shut up, subtle distinction there), you told her “up yours”. I’m also calling you out. Look what you wrote above. You’re making the judgement on whether to approach a woman or not. You’re not even giving her the choice. You’re making a value assessment based on YOUR privilege that she’ll be open or amenable to the compliment. YOUR assessment. You’ve had two women here take offense to what you’ve said, and you’ve not only been dismissive, you’ve told us what we should be thinking, and how we should take it.

          • Avatar of blissed
            August 8, 2011 at 10:06 pm

            There is no distinction, my heart is part of me, so she told me to shut up.

            Conversationally saying your heart thinks someone is gorgeous as a tiny part of a larger post about time isn’t objectifying. When we do actually fall in love we fall in love with a whole person. The emotion is totally subjective. And me making lengthy posts in an effort to convince you isn’t telling you what to think. Your projecting your preconceived notions onto me.which is why your making a huge deal of this. I think our sexuality is noble and has respectful equal billing as part of us it’s not owned by people who disrespect it. I don’t agree with the slut shaming that helps support male privilege, why shouldn’t any gender express desire, and the gender polarised notions of men and women aren’t the only genders.

            If you read the entirety of what I’ve said above again, I’m talking about women and men or any gender and sexual orientation and that we should approach someone if we think an attraction is mutual. You can only make a judgement on that and if your wrong then who wouldn’t apologise. Though I’m just using that to demonstrate the dynamic of respect in mutual attraction, I haven’t approached anyone, I’ve just made a genuine compliment. .and if she can accept a genuine compliment with a smiley and enjoy it that’s lovely.

            I posted this in the wrong place by mistake, sorry :)

          • Avatar of Raggedy Ann
            August 8, 2011 at 10:24 pm

            a genuine question to blissed: why did you put a smiley face after the ‘up yours’ when you clearly meant it. Does it signal “up yours bitch, I’m a Nice Guy(TM)”?

            yes, I did tell your *heart* to shut up. Because your “heart” was objectifying Monica.

            Monica was using her brain, instead of commenting about how her thoughts are rad, you chose to complement her looks.

            That’s objectification.

          • Avatar of blissed
            August 8, 2011 at 11:56 pm

            I put a smiley face because because it wasn’t totally serious. The bad karma needed returning but hating is foolish and loving is wise so I’d rather we were mutually respectful. And there your projecting your own gender polarised prejudice and assumptions on to me, I’ve never use the word bitch and never will, as I’ve said elsewhere here.

            “Monica was using her brain, instead of commenting about how her thoughts are rad, you chose to complement her looks”
            Her brain and personality are part of why she’s gorgeous and most of my post was about the substance of the video.
            I’ve tried to explain the difference between objectification and subjective appreciation, but I think you seem to want to just project a gender polarised stereotypical notion on to me and your also accepting the religious view that even the slightest mention of sexuality degrades someone. It doesn’t. Society degrades sexuality, we don’t have to, it’s noble and valuable in all it’s diversity.

  3. Avatar of tmac57
    August 7, 2011 at 9:36 pm —

    13.7 billion years ago,God was feeling a bit off his game,and bought a Power Balance bracelet.Our universe is the holographic projection from that bracelet.

  4. Avatar of dpeabody
    August 7, 2011 at 11:50 pm —

    That was awesome! And not just because of the RadioHead music.

  5. Avatar of blissed
    August 8, 2011 at 4:59 am —

    OK so no-one has any thoughts as to wether time exists or not. I can appreciate if no-one finds that interesting but do we spend so much time debunking obviously stupid notions and easy targets that there’s so little room for imagination? of our own ideas? and creativity? Science is about all those things as well as critiscism. Contrast the skeptic movement with TED. Not saying we should be bursting with imagination but a productive debate very often finds solutions rather than just being destructive.

    • Avatar of Tortorific
      August 8, 2011 at 10:02 am —

      This is a skeptic page, as in we believe in science and evidence and you are arguing theoretical physics based on things you think sound right. You don’t debate science based on half baked ideas but on evidence; though I am a physicist I am not a cosmologist and I recognise that I do not have the knowledge to debate this. You’ll notice we do have robust debates about skepticism and politics, representations of science and the media and a lot of other topics but most of us recognise that we do not have the ability to evaluate legitimate competing scientific theories out of the area of our expertise.

      • Avatar of blissed
        August 8, 2011 at 11:16 am —

        Yes but that’s the thing about creativity the idea pops from our subconscious straight into our conscioius as a seed idea and a debate can if not fully bake an idea, move it in that direction because it attracts people who do have expertise and the idea can develop, so can the oportunity to advance understanding as those with expertise share it.

        I’m not alone in thinking that time is just a human notion. I can prove that once events have happened they only exist in our memories. and I can prove the future only exists in our imagination. I think that’s pretty sound evidence on which to base a observation. and what is science if not a shared observation of evidence with a resulting debate or demonstration (planes actually fly :)) to determine a level of proof.

        • Avatar of Tortorific
          August 8, 2011 at 8:41 pm —

          Since you seem to be missing the point I’ll try a different tack. Imagine your argument was about the proper treatment for a particular type of stomach tumour or neurological development in zebrafish. When you debate a scientific without knowledge or evidence (and you have neither) then you get a meaningless nonsense answer.

          There is some very interesting work being done in theoretical physics in this area and this site is a good place to discuss that. Instead you bring up fundamentally incorrect concepts like:

          “A broken vase can’t reassemble itself ever.” Yes it can, the configuration of the constructed vase is a very improbable configuration and unlikely to occur but it is just as improbable as any particular smashed configuration. It is just as valid to say “a vase can never smash exactly like this”; yes it can.

          “I can prove that once events have happened they only exist in our memories” really, you have scientific proof of this?

          “I can prove the future only exists in our imagination” I know of actual theoretical physicists studying the nature of time who would disagree with this.

          Just because scientists do not understand the nature of time does not make all opinions on the subject equally valid. If you want to discuss real theories of time please do so but understand that neither you nor I have the expertise to add anything at all to the science in this area and should not speak like our basic understanding has any validity. If you assert otherwise you will get responses like this or be ignored.

          • Avatar of blissed
            August 8, 2011 at 11:12 pm

            True the it is mistaken of me to assert that something can never happen, but excluding that the vase is just an analogy.

            Tumours and zebrafish are out of most peoples expertise but time isn’t, it’s observed by just about everyone. So like philosophy most people have a valid observation about others perceptions of time. For example. Our notion of time effects our observations as the furthest galaxies are supposed to be traveling away at the greatest speed. They’re not. They were traveling at that speed 13 billion years ago. Today they might not even exist. There is only now.

            The existence of linear time is based on an assumption, and is a rather ridiculous notion with people going back and killing their own father, I think it’s beholden to those who assert the existence of linear time to prove it and not for me to prove it doesn’t exist. why wouldn’t that be reasonable. God and linear time seem credible only in a universe that’s predestined and so available to prophecy aren;t they part of ther same illusion? And haven’t we all got plenty to say about that?

          • Avatar of Tortorific
            August 13, 2011 at 9:57 am

            “Tumours and zebrafish are out of most peoples expertise but time isn’t, it’s observed by just about everyone.”

            So is Gravity, will you be presenting your quantum theory of gravity next?

            “So like philosophy most people have a valid observation about others perceptions of time.”

            No. Theories of time are based on complex theoretical physics, quantum theory, relativity and very advanced mathematics. Your “observations” are not valid for arguing about how time works.

            “Our notion of time effects our observations as the furthest galaxies are supposed to be traveling away at the greatest speed. They’re not. They were traveling at that speed 13 billion years ago. Today they might not even exist. There is only now.”

            Can you see my point? You don’t understand relativity, there is no universal framework of time, time is relative. If two things are not in the same place they cannot be said to be in the same time, it’s called the myth of simultaneity and it’s high school/first year physics. They are moving away “now”, even though signals from that galaxy have been travelling for 13 billion years we can only interact with that galaxy through those signals. It is literally how that galaxy is “now”. That’s why you can’t come up with your own theory of time, it needs to be left to the theoretical physicists.

            “The existence of linear time is based on an assumption, and is a rather ridiculous notion with people going back and killing their own father…”

            No. Just no. There is no theory of time based on killing your own father or not killing your own father. Linear time? You’re hurting me, you are physically hurting me. Please just understand that you do not have the expertise to come up with your own theory of time.

          • Avatar of Buzz Parsec
            August 13, 2011 at 10:55 am

            This is actually in reply to your later post, where you say “… even though signals from that galaxy have been travelling for 13 billion years …”, but the followups only nest about 4 levels deep.

            Actually, from the perspective of the photons, they weren’t traveling for 13 billion years. That is only true in our Earth-based inertial frame. (Actually, the Earth’s frame is accelerating, but not enough to matter, so let’s not go there yet.) The photons see no time elapse between their emission event and there arrival in our telescopes. The same is true for the photons comprised be the microwave background radiation, the photons emitted by the Sun 8 minutes ago, and the photons emitted by your monitor 2 or 3 nanoseconds ago.

            From another frame, for example a galaxy 6.5 billion light years (2 Gigaparsecs) away, “half way” between us, and moving at half the Hubble velocity, would see events very differently than we do. A fourth frame, that of a 2Gp distant galaxy at a 45 degree angle, would observe something else entirely.

            There is no such thing as linear time. Blissed really needs to read up on Special Relativity. When I was in high school, my introduction, in a minimally mathematical form, were Bertrand Russell’s ABC of Relativity and Martin Gardner’s <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Relativity-Million-Martin-Gardner/dp/B001CCCFHG/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1313246150&sr=1-1<Relativity for the Million. There are probably more recent books, but these two have the virtue of actually explaining relativity rather than just Gee-Whizzing about it.

            If you are familiar with 1st year Calculus and freshman-level physics, there are much more rigorous books available which should be perfectly understandable.

            P.S. Poke around a bit for the Russell book. It is long out of print, but there are various reprints and bundled editions, and a Kindle version is available. Also, your local library might have it. (Mine doesn’t, but they can reserve it for me through the local library network, which has 5 copies available.)

          • Avatar of Buzz Parsec
            August 13, 2011 at 11:00 am

            Somehow I screwed up the link for Martin Gardner’s book, Relativity for the Million, so here’s a second attempt.

            <rant>When are we going to get previews and/or editing back?</rant>

          • Avatar of Tortorific
            August 13, 2011 at 7:34 pm

            I’m perhaps not the most cognisant late at night but what I should have said is that the light has travelled 13 billion light years. Trying to keep it simple and explain the basics of relativity to a non physicist.

            When are we going to get previews and/or editing back?

            Second that rant. I also miss the links to the next and previous articles.

  6. Avatar of digger
    August 8, 2011 at 8:12 pm —

    It’s no secret that I’m male and a theist. A disclaimer to be sure in this forum. I really do like the video and I found it very informative. That said, it pains me to report to the skeptic and athiest societies that no matter what scientific evidence of a creation is used, theist (like myself), will continue to cite a supreme intelligence as a cause. I realize that this must be extremely fustrating and you have my empathy.

    Also, as a fan, Rebecca I hope that one day you will be able to become the respected skeptic you strive to be and not the “elevator girl”.

    • Avatar of lefrench
      August 8, 2011 at 10:22 pm —

      I think it’s also no secret that you clearly have fantasies playing out in your head, most notably the need for a supreme intelligence to justify your existence “no matter what”, and more recently your latest self-absorbed delusion that Rebecca is not already a respected voice in the rational thought movement, or that “one day” she needs to pass your personal, yet, and this can’t be stressed enough, insignificant valuation of what it is to be “respected”.

      (yup i’m the poster child for the “so you found something on the internet that made you mad” flowchart.)

      But in an attempt to try to be more constructive, i have this to say on the issue of Time mentioned by some posters;

      I’ve always thought of Time as Movement. If you freeze every molecule (or quantum string) in place in the universe it’s not hard to reason that time is standing still, like a photo freezing a moment in time forever. But when it all moves (molecular vibration) things begin to change. So Time is REAL to me. It’s the physical change that results from vibrations at the basic level (and seen on the larger scale as movement of physical things and all life). If we can record the change in matter, then surely we are recording Time.

      • Avatar of blissed
        August 9, 2011 at 5:38 am —

        I agree and that;s That’s the point I’m making, Eistiein’s time is about how things move in relation to each other, wether we’re there to record them or not. What I think is being given credence is the notion that linear time, that we record still exists and can be moved through when that’s simply the mental graphic interface we need to understand change. When people go further and talk about the possibility of moving back through “a continuum” of time I’d need a lot of convincing that they’re not entering the realm of fantasy, of pre ordained events and prophets. It makes the notion of infinity difficult to imagine as this “story” must surely have a beginning and an end. When in reality a bit like my swiss bank account If linear recorded time doesn’t exist it can’t be infinite :)

        Poor digger, you need a trip to the Dutch church :)

        • Avatar of blissed
          August 9, 2011 at 5:47 am —

          But wait! lefrench, have you asked Tortorific if you have enough expertse to work all that out all by yourself :)

          • Avatar of Tortorific
            August 13, 2011 at 10:09 am

            “It makes the notion of infinity difficult to imagine as this “story” must surely have a beginning and an end.”

            You do not understand infinities. I am no longer going to post longer explanations for you.

  7. Avatar of frankieavocado
    August 8, 2011 at 9:38 pm —

    I like this lady, she is snarky. WE NEED MORE SNARK. If there’s one thing that I want to define the “Atheist movement”, it’s snark. A lot of you may be thinking; “but Frankie, what about being defined by scientific reasoning and intellectual discourse?”. Seriously people? That isn’t even catchy. Snark.

  8. Avatar of fourier
    August 9, 2011 at 5:04 pm —

    I think this is a really excellent analysis of the argument. As you said, I think the single strongest objection to the KCA is to deny its first premise, namely that “all things that exist must have started to exist”. I don’t have any good reason for believing that in the strict sense necessary for a watertight theoretical philosophical proof. And then there’s the follow up – that thanks to quantum fluctuations, plenty of things have a beginning, but no cause. So that’s the second premise gone, too… ;)

  9. Avatar of lefrench
    August 9, 2011 at 8:48 pm —

    Einstein used space-time to better describe how time and matter are intrinsic (i think) and if anything it highlights how easily our common sense will misunderstands concepts on how they are actually part of each other (such as space time) or perhaps not even a rational idea.

    @fourier: you said it right. there is often no good reason for accepting premise assumptions based on supposed common sense.

    “Nothing” and “Infinity” were two of concepts the video mentioned which, appears to me, to be often abused by common sense culture.

    The concept of Nothing or Zero, i believe was initially not even included in various civilizations accounting or popular cultures. they were mathematical tools introduced later on. Even quantum physics can’t seem to find anyplace where “nothing” exists. (the documentary mentioned as much).
    So if “nothing” is a irrelevant concept we can dispense with the “what existed before there was the universe” question, because the answer appears to be that there only IS matter/energy, and the only question is of the different forms or phases it goes through as it moves/vibrates/fluctuates/pops eventually creating big bangs, etc.

    Infinity is certainly also a mathematical tool and it also found its way into popular culture, even though i would be surprised if it ever was found to occur in reality.
    It’s useful to describe the center of a singularity mathematically for mathematical reasons, i’m sure, but it’s more likely that at the center it is just another kind of massively dense form of energy doing all kinds of cool things at the quantum level.
    Yet we hear infinity getting used, outside the confines of mathematics by theists to describe nature as if it means something…

    Regardless, almost all theists hijack physics and mathematical tool concepts, and interpret them into fundamentally weak common sense ideas.

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