New Proofs for the Existence of God: Contributions of Contemporary
Physics and Philosophy, by Jesuit scholar Robert J. Spitzer  --
in the review by Andrew Pinsent (Research Director, Ian Ramsey
Centre for Religion and Science at Oxford) we read that "In recent
years ... the perception has been growing that the Big Bang theory
has ceased to be offensive to atheist sensibilities. ...
"The part of Robert J. Spitzer's New Proofs for the Existence of
God that responds to these developments is timely and excellent.
Spitzer collates research that shows not only that the mysteries of
the Big Bang have *not* been solved but that certain problems
related to 'fine-tuning' have become even more intractable.... To
picture what is meant by a fine-tuning problem, one can imagine that
all the parameters of the universe, such as the speed of light in a
vacuum, the gravitational constant, electromagnetic coupling, and
the masses of the elementary particles, are the settings of the
dials of a 'cosmic control panel.' Contemporary physics implies that
if the settings of these dials were to be nudged very slightly, then
we would not be here to ponder the mysteries of creation. ... Most
dramatically, calculations by [mathematical physicist Sir] Roger
Penrose of the entropy of the universe have suggested that our
universe is in an absurdly precise state, compared to the available
range of possible values. Indeed, as Spitzer points out, simply to
write down the odds for this arrangement happening by chance, using
ten-point type without exponents, would itself fill up a large
portion of the observable universe.
"Two major lines of research have developed in recent decades to
try to account for these numbers without recourse to divine
intervention or unbelievable good luck. The first attempt, covered
briefly in Spitzer's book in a postscript by Bruce Gordon [Research
Director, Discovery Institute Center for Science and Culture], has
been to try to reduce the range of alternative possiblilities for
the parameters of the cosmic control panel by developing a grand
unified theory of everything. ...
"The second major attempt, often combined with some grand unified
theory, has been to propose that the observable universe is embedded
within an unseen larger reality, often called the 'multiverse.' The
aim of this approach is to use certain features of the hypothetical
multiverse to constrain the range of possible parameters on the cosmic
control panel of the observable universe or else to increase
indefinitely the number of attempts that can be made at spinning the
dials to obtain these parameters by chance. Spitzer pints out,
however, that there are several subtle problems with the physical
implications for the multiverse hypothesis. ...
"[W]hile Spitzer's treatment of these issues shows a grasp of
contemporary cosmology that is remarkable in a work of theology, the
philosophical aspects of the book are considerably weaker. ... The
most problematic aspects ... are Spitzer's claims in chapter five
regarding the nature of time and their theistic implications."
Pinsent discusses this at length.
"Chapters three and four present two further metaphysical proofs
for God's existence, following for the most part, ideas adapted from
the Catholic philosopher Bernard Lonergan. My principal concerns
with these chapters are twofold. First, they tend to mix concepts
drawn from medieval and classical sources with those of contemporary
physics, sometimes with insufficient attention to metaphysical
differences. ... My second concern is that there is surprisingly
little reference to secondary literature, making Spitzer's
definitions rather *sui generis* [one of a kind]. ...
"The final section of the book, on the five transcendentals and
five human yearnings for the ultimate, is perhaps the weakest part.
Spitzer probably tries to cover too many topics, without sufficient
reference to the history of scholarship, and glosses over a number
of important issues." Harvard Theological Review, 104:2 - 2011,