Thursday, October 11, 2018

Interview with Manuel Alfonseca in a Spanish Newspaper

On February 23, 2018, a Spanish Newspaper (La Opinión, El Correo de Zamora) published this interview with me, performed by Ana Arias, which I am now translating into English. The interview was re-published a few days later (March 10) in the website ReligionEnLibertad (ReligionInFreedom). This is the translation of the interview:

He took an interest in science since he was quite small, as he says. At age 16 he wrote a book of zoology in two volumes that was never published. Anyway, whenever he has to consult information about some little known animal, he consults his book. "And I can find almost everything there," he adds. Now, at 71, he is an honorary professor at the Autonomous University of Madrid.

He believes in science. And also in God. Under the sponsorship of the Caja Rural Foundation and the Science-Religion University Forum held yesterday at the University College, Manuel Alfonseca gave a lecture about The Faith of Contemporary Atheist Scientists.

What is the faith of those scientists?

That God does not exist.

But you do believe in His existence.

I believe in God. I believe that God created the universe. The fact that God made the universe makes this universe more probable. It is highly improbable that life would be possible in a random universe. This is called fine tuning, which was discovered by atheist scientists in the late eighties, ruining their hypotheses. That’s why they invented the multiverse theory.

What is the multiverse theory?

It says that our universe is not alone, that there are many, and we must be in that universe compatible with our existence. But the multiverse theory is not science, it is philosophy. We cannot prove scientifically that other universes exist, because we would have to leave our own universe.

Do you believe in the multiverse?

About that, I am agnostic. Also, I don’t care. If God has made one universe, why couldn’t He have done several?

Your position must have generated many debates with your atheist colleagues.

Atheism is a faith based on the problem of evil. If Almighty God existed, he would be able to do anything and wouldn’t want evil to exist. Therefore, as there is evil, there is no God. That is the most typical atheist argument. Once in a debate, someone raised it and I answered: “You need an extra step, you must prove first that it is logically possible to make a universe where there is no evil.” And he answered: “No, for I define Almighty God so that he can do anything, even logical impossibilities.” This is the well-known straw man fallacy. They define a God different from the God we believe in. Then they prove that this God does not exist. True, their God does not exist, but they have shown nothing about our God, in whom I believe.

Who is that God you are talking about?

An Almighty God who can do anything that is not logically impossible. Atheists must prove that it is logically possible to make a universe without evil.

How can a scientist reason that God made the universe?

Fine tuning is quite rare. Life is very unlikely. However, we are here. If God exists and created a universe, it is to be expected that He would create a universe where life is possible. Why would God want an empty universe? The belief in the existence of God makes our universe more likely, because this is exactly the universe that God would have created. On the other hand, for an atheist who believes that God does not exist, the universe must have arisen spontaneously from nothing, which is impossible. This is a typical confusion. When they are talking about philosophy they show their ignorance. When they talk about nothing, they mean the vacuum. But if we accept their theory, the following question would arise: Where does the vacuum come from? Who has made it? Nothing does not exist. The vacuum has properties: existence, space, time, energy. Vacuum is something. And the universe seems to be adjusted to make life possible. Atheists use arguments full of fallacies. Either they start from a wrong concept, such as confusing nothing with the vacuum, or they have missed a premise, as in the argument of evil. And to escape that premise when it is pointed, they fall in the classic straw man fallacy. It is very easy to catch them. When they are told, they get angry. The problem of atheist scientists is, that they have no idea of ​​philosophy. Stephen Hawking at the beginning of his 2010 book The Great Design, says: “Philosophy is dead, science is now the only way to handle human knowledge.” And then he proposes a theory of model realism that is philosophical, not scientific. In other words, he starts doing philosophy just after saying that philosophy is dead. He mistakes it for science, he does not know how to distinguish them.

What is the difference?

Science has to do with the material world, with which one can experiment to obtain confirmations or refutations. Philosophy is made of mental speculation about things that may or may not exist. This is not a criticism. It is a very important field of human knowledge. But the problem is that modern atheist scientists despise philosophy, but are constantly doing philosophy without being aware of it.

Anyway, that we can talk today about the possible compatibility between both fields, shows there has been an evolution.

There is no incompatibility between faith and science. There is an incompatibility between faith and atheism. Which is logical. Belief in God and atheism of course are incompatible. But atheists try to assert that they are science, therefore they see an incompatibility between science and faith. The only incompatibility is between faith in God and faith that there is no God. Science has nothing to do with either, for science can never prove that God exists or does not exist. Science studies the material world and God is not in the material world.

You are one of the co-authors of the book 60 questions about science and faith answered by 26 university professors. What questions are most consulted?

I have the feeling, although statistically this is not meaningful, that readers are mainly interested about evolution and cosmology.

You are very active in the Web.

Of the 31 novels I have published, eight are available for free in my website. Another eight are sold by publishers, and others, which are now out-of-print, I have self-published. In digital format they cost two or three dollars, so that my theories and my novels are brought closer to the public.

Mystery novels, science fiction, works on popular science... in which genre do you feel most at ease?

In everyone. I have lately written a series of five mystery novels about two young detectives, entitled The sleuths of the Spanish transition.

Any projects under way?

I am writing a philosophical novel describing my ideas about the next life.

Any scoop?

In the next life, time is orthogonal to ours. I mean, its time axis is perpendicular to ours.

And what does that mean?

That we all arrive at the afterlife at the same time. The moment of death becomes the initial moment of time in the next life, and we come there together. We don’t have to wait for each other. Both times are perpendicular and the soul is never outside the body.

Thematic Thread on Science and Atheism: Previous Next
Manuel Alfonseca

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