Here we have Frank Pastore, former professional baseball player (and atheist) who, once becoming religious, jumped the rails when he went to the evangelical Biola University. This all explains his video (below) giving four “new” arguments for the existence of God. Pastore died in 2012, but these arguments weren’t new even then; all of them are long-familar and long-refuted arguments about either first causes or biological complexity that seemingly defy naturalistic or evolutionary explanation. In this case the short (5.5-minute) video, made for the conservative Prager University, lists four “Big Bangs” that science supposedly can’t explain. Pastore calls them “bangs” because he sees these transitions as not only momentous but virtually instantaneous, which for the last three cases certainly wasn’t so.
Here they are:
1). The “Physical Big Bang”: how could “time, matter and energy” arise from nothing? Pastore says this is convincing evidence for God, but he doesn’t raise the question of where God came from. Now that needs a cause, and would have to be a fifth Big Bang. It still amazes me that theologians don’t bother themselves about the origin of God. They blithely claim that he didn’t need a cause, but give us no reason why a complex divine being would be exempt from causation. For an answer to his invocation of God, read this piece by physicist Sean Carroll.
2). The “Biological Big Bang”: This refers to abiogenesis, or the origin of life from nonlife. We don’t know how this happened yet, and perhaps never will, but if we’re able to create what we consider “life” in the lab, under conditions mimicking those of the early Earth, then it’s much more parsimonious to assume a naturalistic than a supernatural origin of life. But this event—which must have begun with chemical evolution with those evolving chemicals somehow crossing the nebulous threshhold of we call “life”—was almost certainly gradual. To understand this, read Addy Pross’s nice book, What is Life?: How Chemistry Becomes Biology.
3). The “Anthropological Big Bang”: According to Pastore, evolutionary theory can’t explain the diversity of life, or (especially) the origin of humans (humans are always the kicker). The big question for him here is this: “How did evolution begin?” Well, we already know the answer to that: after chemical evolution produced genetic replicators that could be considered proto-life, natural selection would operate on those replicators, favoring ones that made better copies of themselves. It’s just natural selection, and is inevitable if we have heredity with replication that is imperfect. This process is, contra Pastore, certainly not instantaneous, as the fossil record well attests. As for the many diverse species, well, someone wrote a book on this (Coyne and Orr, Speciation, 2004), and the process is pretty well understood and definitely not gradual!
4) The “Psychological Big Bang”: According to Pastore, it’s a mystery how “a mechanistic animal brain can become a self-reflective human mind”. (Apparently he sees the human mind as not “mechanistic.”) Trotting out Shakespeare, Beethoven and our ability to produce art and ponder morality, Pastore simply asserts that there must have been some “Big Bang”—presumably in the hominin lineage—that produced our aesthetic and moral senses, as well as our ability to reflect and exercise free will (!). Again, this is likely a product of both genetic and cultural evolution. And it would not have been instantaneous, although it would be accelerated when humans developed language and the attendant ability to produce culture and art, as well as pass on the thoughts of those who died before us. Language almost surely produced a punctuated change in culture. But language itself probably evolved (both genetically and culturally) in a gradual fashion.
As for punctuation, at 4:47 Pastore asserts “You must understand that these problems require bangs—sudden binary pops into existence— since there’s no evidence for gradual development in any of these.” But we have the evidence for the last two, and the theory of abiogenesis certainly does not require an “instant evolutionary transition.” Nobody except religionists think that chemicals evolved into living organisms all at once.
At the end, Pastore says we have a choice: faith to believe in these FOUR Big Bangs (not just one!) or “faith in some kind of Creator God behind it all.” You know his preference.
Shame on Prager University for disseminating not just a religious viewpoint, but actual lies about what scientists say about the pace of abiogenesis, the origin of biological diversity, and human biological and cultural evolution.