Sorry for the delay, but answering these posts will at best be a tertiary hobby for me - lots going on this time of year. I’ll try to avoid a lengthy argument over semantics, but before answering your “matter & energy” question let me briefly clarify something. I think we agree that everyone has their own continuum of plausibility. Obviously we disagree where evolution falls on this spectrum. But for both of us the flat-earth/geocentrism/Zeus-lightning claims fall toward the unbelievable end. I was only trying to point out that your comments to friends on these unbelievable topics would likely also just contain “criticisms & generalizations” (e.g., “Yeah, they think the earth is shaped like a coin! Can you believe that? What a bunch of kooks!”). In such a case would you consider yourself “preaching to the choir”, and that your comments are shallow & without substance (as you’ve implied about me & other evolutionists)?
How did all the matter and energy come into existence when the first law of thermodynamics shows that matter and energy can’t come into existence through purely natural means?
OK, on to your first question (for now I won’t quibble over your paraphrasing of the first law) which has a pretty straight-forward answer - science does not yet know how all matter & energy came into existence. However, presuming to know where you’re going with this, let me outline the next steps. Creationists’ first pitfall here is often the logical fallacy “confusing currently unexplained with unexplainable” (e.g., “god of the gaps”) - just because we can’t currently explain the origin of the universe, does not mean that we will never be able to explain it. Along those same lines is thinking this current lack of understanding demonstrates the need for a supernatural explanation, which is a great example of the logical fallacy “argument from personal incredulity” (e.g., I can’t explain/understand, therefore… God did it!). And the final misstep is a series of unsupportable assumptions made about this alleged supernatural explanation, refuted as follows: 1) it doesn’t have to be eternal, 2) it doesn’t have to still exist, 3) it doesn’t have to be personal (e.g. a “god”), and 4) it certainly doesn’t have to be one of the specific gods of any current religion (e.g., the Christian god, Allah, etc., etc.).
There are countless perfect examples of how this series of logical missteps has led to erroneous conclusions previously in human history. Before understanding the science behind rain, the sun, & fertility, people believed various deities (Rain/Sun/Fertility gods) were the correct explanation.
Based solely on the “science doesn’t yet know” answer, the above clearly shows that the “first law of thermodynamics” argument fails to demonstrate that the Christian god is the creator of the universe. However, there are also a variety of scientific rebuttals to your question:
1) TalkOrigins.org CF101 - “Formation of the universe from nothing need not violate conservation of energy. The gravitational potential energy of a gravitational field is a negative energy. When all the gravitational potential energy is added to all the other energy in the universe, it might sum to zero.”
2) TalkOrigins.org CE440 - “Some questions are harder to answer than others. But although we do not have a full understanding of the origin of the universe, we are not completely in the dark. We know, for example, that space comes from the expansion of the universe. The total energy of the universe may be zero [see CF101 above]. Cosmologists have hypotheses for the other questions that are consistent with observations (Hawking 2001). For example, it is possible that there is more than one dimension of time, the other dimension being unbounded, so there is no overall origin of time. Another possibility is that the universe is in an eternal cycle without beginning or end. Each big bang might end in a big crunch to start a new cycle (Steinhardt and Turok 2002) or at long intervals, our universe collides with a mirror universe, creating the universe anew (Seife 2002).”
3) TalkOrigins.org Big Bang Origin – references three possible models - chaotic inflation, mirror universe, and cyclic universe.
4) TalkOrigins.org Big Bang First Law:
- “while the laws of thermodynamics apply to the universe today, it is not clear that they necessarily apply to the origin of the universe; we simply do not know.”
- “it is not clear that one can sensibly talk about time “before the Big Bang”. “Time” is an integral part of our universe (hence the G[eneral] R[elativity] term “spacetime”) - so it is not clear how exactly one would characterize the energy before and after the Big Bang in a precise enough way to conclude it was not conserved.”
- “Assuming we have some way to handle notions of time outside of our spacetime, the universe appearing out of nothing would only violate the first law of thermodynamics if the energy beforehand were different from the energy afterwards. Probably all people will agree that “nothingness” should have an energy of zero; so the law is only violated if the energy of the universe is non-zero. But there are indeed good arguments that the energy of the universe should be exactly zero!” (etc., etc.)
5) Scientific American article “The Myth of the Beginning of Time” (April, 2004) – subtitled “String theory suggests that the big bang was not the origin of the universe but simply the outcome of a preexisting state.” Article begins, “Was the big bang really the beginning of time? Or did the universe exist before then? Such a question seemed almost blasphemous only a decade ago. Most cosmologists insisted that it simply made no sense—that to contemplate a time before the big bang was like asking for directions to a place north of the North Pole. But developments in theoretical physics, especially the rise of string theory, have changed their perspective. The pre-bang universe has become the latest frontier of cosmology.”