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Proving God?

Posted in The Rogues Gallery by Skepdude on November 17, 2008

Listener David Driscoll from Atlanta thought this video of Frank Tipler explaining his “proof” for the existence of God would make a good Name that Logical Fallacy. I agree. Tipler is a crank, plain and simple. That he is a professor at Tulane University must be somewhat of an embarrassment for Tulane.

Others have already dissected Tipler’s nonsense, such as this article in the Skeptical Inquirer. I want to focus on the core fallacy of Tipler’s logic.

He says that the math and the physics lead directly to the conclusion that God exists. In the ridiculous local news video, where we are assured the reporter asked the “tough questions” (cough, cough), they even show some mathematical-looking equations on a blackboard leading to the final conclusion – “God exists.”

Tipler’s main logical error is that he is confusing explanation for proof. He believes that since he can concoct a highly speculative explanation for God or for specific miracles in the Bible (amounting to nothing more than special pleading) that God and the miracles are proven.

For example, he argues that because physics can explain the conversion of matter to energy and back gain, this “proves” the Biblical account that Jesus vanished in the tomb and then later reappeared before the disciples.

His proof of God is too complex for him to summarize it in any meaningful way (according to him) so you better buy his book. But it distills down to some fanciful descriptions of cosmology leading to the dubious conclusion that the universe will end in a singularity without an event horizon requiring infinite information. This singularity (which Tipler dubbed the Omega Point) is God.


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