Debunking the First Cause argument

First Cause is an argument that often comes up and only today I came across a Muslim making the claim. I also found a chap called Matthew Warner babbling about it on the Catholic Register. Here is how Mr Warner makes his case ...

Atheists belittle beliefs that are based on faith. Yet when I look around the world, I find atheism requires much more of a leap of faith than my Christianity.

When I come across a finely prepared meal on a table, it would be quite a leap of faith to believe that nothing put it there. And it would be far more reasonable to believe that something must have put it there. So it is with all of creation.

Yet, somehow these days believing (the obvious) that somebody put it there is seen as just a bunch of hocus pocus mumbo jumbo unscientific nonsense. After all, when we arrived, the meal had already been prepared. Did you see somebody prepare it? Do you have any scientific evidence to support your claim? No. Therefore, (so goes the popular illogic) it is much more reasonable to conclude that nobody prepared the meal until such proof presents itself.

Let me tell ya. That’s faith alright. It’s also irrational faith.

Ah yes … sorry about that … I should have warned you that you were about to facepalm. It is of course another first cause claim, but he spices it up with the claim that rejecting first cause requires “faith”, and yes he really is being daft enough to actually claim that the null hypothesis is a statement of faith.

So lets now take a quick look at the “First Cause” argument. It comes in various flavours that include:

  • in-esse: God is like a candle and everything else is like the light coming from that candle, so we exist because god does.
  • in-fieri: God set everything in motion. Most popular variations take this form including the famous kalam variation which is islamic in origin, but popularised by William Lane Craig.

If you boil it all down to the basics, the claim is essentially that something caused the Universe to exist, and that this First Cause must be God. Often by extension, the claimed god is not any old anonymous god, but is usually the specific god concept believed in by the claimant. What an amazing coincidence – of all the thousands of gods humans have believed in, theirs turns out to be just the right one and all the others are just myths. For example Mr Lane Craig deploys the Islamic kalam argument, but asserts that it proves his specific Christian god concept and not the Islamic variation.

OK, so what are the problems with this argument?

Problem 1 – It introduces utterly pointless layers of complexity

    • A rule is assumed that everything has a cause, including the universe
    • Since something must have caused the universe … god did it.

The most immediate and obvious reply is to ask, “But what caused God?”. The standard answer is, “Ah, but God has no cause, god is an exception to that rule”. So essentially, an entire layer of pointless complexity called God is invented and then declared to be an exception to the rule that everything has a cause. If you want to get into the game of deciding that there is no cause for the first cause, then it would be far simpler to simply decide that the universe itself has no cause, there is no need to invent additional and utterly pointless layers of complexity, especially when there is no credible objective evidence that can justify such a leap.

Problem 2 – The assumption that causality applies to the universe may not be true

Clearly causality applies to the known world but we have no evidence to verify that it applies to the universe at large, that is simply an assumption. When we think of the big bang, the rapid expansion of the early universe from the singularity, we think of that as the start of both space and also time. The thought that something causes something else describes a sequence of events one after the other in space-time. If you then ask questions such as what caused the big bang, the start of space-time, you are in fact asking a meaningless question. It is perhaps akin to asking what is south of the south pole.

Problem 3 – It is a modern variation of palaeolithic thinking

Once upon a time our ancestors faced deeply mysterious things, lights in the sky, thunder, wind, and so as an attempt to grasp meaning they attributed these to be manifestations of supernatural entities. We now know a lot more and understand all these to be quite natural – no gods required. Our current knowledge and understanding has an ever-expanding boundary, but right now the origin of the universe is still a mystery. There are of course many avenues of research and also thoughts regarding possibilities such as multiple universes, but so far no conclusions .. yet. Right now, when faced with this unknown the “god caused it” claim is simply a reversion to our earlier palaeolithic approach of attributing supernatural entities to the things we don’t understand. This is indeed an answer, and as in every other instance of its deployment, it is not the right one.

Problem 4 – The leap from deism to theism

Even if you accept the premise, which I don’t for the reasons above, it is at best a deist stance and is not in any way a theist stance.

The First Cause claim is not a credible answer and does not withstand factually based criticism, so don’t let others attempt to fool you with it. The problem with invented answers is that they hinder real progress and stop people from seeking the right answer.

Creation science is an attempt to give credibility to Hebrew mythology by making people believe that the world’s foremost biologists, palaeontologists, and geologists are a bunch of incompetent nincompoops.” – Ron Peterson

26 thoughts on “Debunking the First Cause argument”

  1. Your approach of merely referring to the need for “evidence” is so typical and narrowly construed that you beg basic questions. Are you really capable and interested in evaluating the proposed hypothesis and evidence? No, and that´s an ideology that can be called something like skeptical extremism. Or are you merely reflexively opposing your stereotype of “religion” and “science” itself?

    You don´t refer to the basic evidence behind the Big Bang theory. The evidence for the scientific Big Bang theory is scant, and requires coordinating complex information and observations to lead scientific philosophers to their conclusion that the Big Bang occurred. The red shift of many galaxies, their distance measurements, and later microwave background radiation are two sources of that evidence for the BB. The basic First Cause argument of Aristotle, however, was formulated in his day of 300s BC/E.

    As others here have suggested, you asking “Where did this God come from?” and then using “no evidence” as a criteria, confuses a few things, actually. First of all, the question is, where does your own use of criteria come from? It comes from “science.” Where does “science” come from? “Science comes from ancient Greece, and from Galileo defying the church” would seem to be your mythical mindset. Ancient Greeks didn´t actually experiment, for one thing. Secondly, not experimenting or having math variables and notation, their mathematics was very limited. In fact, before all of that, Universities were established. Before Galileo and Descartes et al, when Universities were first established, Aquinas addressed Aristotle´s limiting assumptions, including that there was only a “formal” First Cause of God as intellectual inspiration. There was no efficient First Cause of cause-effect relatedness. Aquinas showed how Christians were assuming control of philosophy in transforming it by applying their assumptions. God was the First Cause as per the Bible, because Jesus´ legacy of loving integrity for (Moses and) God was the theological guiding light of truth.

    That´s the historical sociology of “science,” and the empiricism that you are using in your ideological way.

    And, no less, there´s your evidence. It´s embedded in the very “evidence” you use as your criteria.

    Thus, your 1) is false. The speaker doesn´t mention the evidence adequately, and you don´t actually know how to identify your assumptions about evidence, but distinguishing between knowledge domains adequately, we can illuminate how your very use of the term “evidence” is derived from Aquinas´ First Cause reformulations, as in the Via Cinque. Craig´s philosophical Kalam is an extension of that and interrelating it with modern scientific philosophy.

    2) Oh, that´s ripe. “Remove a layer of complexity and jettison yourself into the multiverse.” The multiverse violates the impossibility of an infinite past. It´s your own contortions that you ignore. You ignore your contortions because of your underlying biases, apparently. Which is where psychology fits into things.

    3) “I don´t know” has it´s place and context. Ignoring basic “evidence” like the Historical Sociology of “science” and the meaning of Jesus´ legacy of loving integrity for God and science is rather worth articulating for yourself. Not the other guy, however. Still, he did get a number of issues mixed up or wrong, but you don´t show that you are informed about Systems Theory, or Capra´s Systems Theory of Life.

  2. As a fellow theist, I recognize your starting point, which you make with some flair referring to “conceptualization in some being´s mind” in terms of the source of the Universe. One issue that I´m seeing as I learn about the arguments and positions, is that most people don´t have much concept of what “mind” means, and its significance. I came to theism in my spiritual path, starting from a very casual point of intuiting that my relationship to the Universe´s aspects wasn´t just objectifying. I gravitated, carved, and followed my path to Bio Anthro in college, where I hovered around the evolution of speech and religion. Now, years later, I´m sad that anti-theist scientific materialists are so unscholarly and narrowminded in making simple mistakes like associating religion with fundamentalism, and their materialistic ideologies. But, there´s the challenge. “Minds” have a number of interesting qualities that we are likely to have some familiarity with. WL Craig makes simple points, like his kaleidoscopic ball found in the forest, or thinking about some person. Once he even used D D´Souza´s “person making tea” point. We might up the ante talking about Oppenheimer thinking of the Hindu goddess of destruction Shiva when he watched the first atomic bomb.

    As for your next point, you start to talk about “amoeba´s coming out of the chemical soup, and how they knew.” That gets at the proto-issue of human self-awareness and mind, I now realize. Fritjof Capra has talked about the view of the Santiago Theory of Cognition. Understanding the process of abiogenesis is the standard first consideration. Fritjof Capra is doing a great job tracking that in terms of the Systems Theory of Life. It involves unfamiliar complexities for scientists, and one aspect includes emergentism. How reality in this Universe and our experience of it is layered into systems that interact. Chemistry isn´t simply physics, and water´s liquid “wetness” quality can´t just be calculated from scientific info. Biology isn´t merely chemical, and the meaning of unicellular orientation as a living thing, its “tropisms,” is what you´re getting at. It´s an extension of that idea of mind, which reflects the biological evolution of human minds, and their bio-psycho-sociocultural pre-historical and historical development.

    “How did birds live long enough to know they needed wings?” Here, you´re showing that you´re not well-informed about basic evolutionary processes. In Natural Selection, dinosaur reptiles had precursor fuzz, or feathers, that led to archeopteryx type transitional forms. If feathers started out for warmth, and then led to flight advantages would sketch out a possible, or likely, scenario. That´s helpful to understand the grandeur of God´s Creation. It works according to natural laws. Materialists like Dawkins go so far as to call mutations “random,” meaning at best undirected by any intentional process. “Random,” however, also means what people don´t understand. All mutations and their selection were following various kinds of lawful processes, that account for homologous structures. Thus, lawful regularities and processes were interacting, in fact. That´s a scientifically important philosophical observation.

    “How did the brain know to form blood vessels?” With that question, you´re mixing up neurology with things, and instead getting at the DNA´s operation. What explains the biochemical wonder of DNA? That´s what they´re studying, and involves a range of new philosophical concepts like emergentism and epi-genetic phenomena. Again, the beauty of “science” is worth getting straight, because it doesn´t actually deny or negate spiritual-religious truth, Jesus related or otherwise. Of course, church dogmas are another thing. For one thing, there is an important point about “science” having limits. In fact, the point is more serious, since “science” is actually a fallacious name. “Science” isn´t portraying reality so truthfully that it deserves its popular name, since it was originally “natural philosophy.” The bad behavior and unscholarly fallacies of prominent scientists who become anti-theists is making the issue crucial. “Science” as a term is causing people to become delusional and megalomaniacal It is scientific philosophy, and that makes it necessary to study other philosphical disciplines and methodologies to understand many issues, including sustainability and human rights, along with spiritual-religious studies.

    As for scientific materialists thinking the Universe “popped out of nothing,” they tend to think in terms of multiverses, that fills their minds with a substitute image that avoids the logical truth of the impossibility of an infinite past, and the absolute nature of the First Cause. But, it´s related to other mechanistic assumptions they are carrying. That´s all possible because of conditions made possible by the other side of the equation. The Historical Sociological argument. Jesus´ Resurrection is another basic argument presented by Craig. That argument implicitly actually refers back to Jesus´ loving teachings, and implies his legacy. I didn´t gain my understanding of Jesus primarily through any mainstream churches, but mainstream churches have sustained a prominent presence of Jesus and his real meaning.

    Frankly, Jesus´ legacy has largely been misguided, since he taught the good news for the poor, as well as the need to “clean the cup on the inside.” That led to the Christian monastic tradition, which led to modern Universities. George Fox led the founding of the Quaker-Friends who value spiritual-religious experience highly, and high Christian integrity of conduct. They stand out in supporting the historical social movement that ended slavery in the West. Religious tolerance also emerged from Enlightenment Christians like Hugo Grotius and John Locke, then T Jefferson, and led to the 1893 Chicago Parliament of World Religions. FD Roosevelt´s pro-social presidency, and UN human rights vision. All these factors are part of the key of validating Jesus Christ´s legacy of loving integrity. Human rights, and now sustainability, are high integrity Christian-generated accomplishments that have become crucial to discerning the value of religion, and the importance of lovingkindness standards. Proving God´s existence runs headlong into the meaning of spiritual-religious experience. We need to use lovingkindness to address the range of issues driving human rights abuses and unsustainable lifestyles.

    Proving God by argument is largely effective around Craig´s frequent last point about spiritual experience. While he downplays it, it is in fact a serious argument, since it refers to the meaning of spiritual-religious practice and even anthropological shamanism. It also converges with the Historical Sociological argument, since University-based society and its many accomplishments up to the UN required Jesus´ legacy of loving integrity to be accomplished in the middle of all manner of human biological impulses to indulge in the abuse of power and pleasure.

  3. “How do you demonstrate that this is true…..?” That´s what the Kalam Cosmological argument starts to do. WL Craig has a decent start with his standard six or so cumulative arguments. Craig´s Cosmological argument is excellent, and addressing the fallacies of “debunkers” is a good exercise. See my comment above. The fact that an infinite past-time Universe is impossible shows how scientific philosophy itself frames the limitations of the physical Universe. Scientific philosophy itself got started in what I like to call the Historical Sociological argument. Thomas of Aquinas actually took the original First Cause argument of Aristotle and applied the adequate Biblical view in Jesus´ legacy.

    Jesus´ context is essential to the origin of modern Western Civilization, and studying the details of that requires getting past many popular fallacious stereotypes. Shamanic anthropology is another good thing to study to begin understanding that Jesus represents a reality beyond any church doctrines. There is also Transpersonal Psychology, and therapeutic psychology, which get at key issues. Comparative Religious Studies also shows key issues. The fact that University-based scholarship is not actually ancient Greek, but Christians who transformed ancient Greek plus philosophy makes the difference. Thus, Buddha´s experience in Hinduism demonstrated the power of meditation and local philosophy as he developed his Four Noble Truths. His experience of “nirvana” is comparable to Jesus´ teachings of “seeking first the Kingdom of Heaven” and being reborn in spirit. While the Apostle Paul and other Apostles are important, Anthony of the Desert initiated Christian monasticism and showed how a cathartic process leads to a Christian form of enlightenment, “theosis” or “divinization.” That´s not standard church doctrine, however. The Quaker-Friends were founded by George Fox and developed a new terminology and approach, talking about silent waiting and an inner light. Their reputation and historical influence are noteworthy.

    Thus, spiritual-religious experience is significant, and in Christianity´s complexity, needs to be distinguished from church membership, or ecstatic experience. Among phenomena then that demonstrate something non-natural are medically attested, medically impossible healings with accompanying testimonies. Craig Keener wrote an excellent 2011 book on the subject, while there are excellent sources in online testimonies, Christian Science, books like Lewish Mehl-Medrona MD, and Catholic Lourdes´ medical clinic, among others.

  4. So, you´re kind of going around in circles here. A key point about Craig´s philosophical treatment of, Aristotle´s originally, First Cause argument.and its Kalam form is that he identifies the transcendent nature of that Cause.

    A simple context to start making that clear is to look at the human mind itself. What´s the difference between a bruise on your leg, and a bump on the forehead? Not much. What about a broken leg and head injury causing brain damage? Uh oh. The brain is not something to take for granted. Yet, it´s not just for the brain´s sake. We don´t value ourselves, our loved ones or our friends, for our gray matter, despite Danny Elfman´s song by that title with Oingo Boingo. We value our psychological and social identities, at the very least. Our minds are not just our brains. Our minds are our brains on symbolic communication, to use a public service announcement. Being more than our brains, our minds are actually another level of reality. Not only do rocks not look in a mirror and say, “I see you,” but they don´t realize, say, that they have been damaging planetary ecosystems and need to get back to using biodegradable materials in order to avoid a human catastrophe. Human minds are not just the brains they emerge from. They represent a level of reality with self-awareness, cognitive and emotional-social capacities that can produce so much they can be destructive without self-reformation. Human minds are another level of reality, and transcendent of the physical world in one way or another.

    Craig observes the transcendent nature of the First Cause, and does so using the implications of standard scientific philosophy. It also helps to consider the scientific theoretical considerations developed so far about the Big Bang. It was an event that unfolded like a reverse Black Hole process, a kind of inflation from a singularity. Gravity didn´t apply. Thus, even in scientific philosophy alone, we have to recognize distinctions of context. Moreover, Systems Theory was developed because systems are identifiable contexts in scientific phenomena, and so need to be recognized in scientific knowledge. Physics developed cosmologically after the Big Bang until the first chemical processes, say, the first Supernova and the first water molecule formed in a nebula. Chemistry could occur until the first conditions of biological life that we know on Earth. The steps are complicated from abiogenesis, but we see the biological forms that reproduce based on cells and nucleic acids. Biological evolution occurred until human anthropological psychology. Tool-use and signal communication in primate proto-human species developed into symbolic communication emerged at least in H sapiens communicating cognitive and emotional capacities for understanding, with Rock and Cave art and human-animal figures suggesting shamanic intelligence and the appearance of individual human minds with self-awareness. All of that indicates the sequential development.of new systems. Chimps can use twigs, like song birds and beavers, showing how certain levels of systems can supervene on others. Human minds, with some symbolic capacity like tribal shamans at least, can exert unusual control over our states. We can go without sleep for a larger project. We can meditate to experience those benefits. Then there is meditation´s and prayer´s own progression in experiential behavior for theists.

    The point here, however, is emergentism. University-based philosophical development based on empirical methodology reveals epistemic processes, and epistemological issues. There are orders of reality. The human mind is a distinct one. It is an order of reality. It can even act on physics laws to create an atomic bomb, and concepts of sustainability, after much damage has been done.

    Thus, we çome back to the Big Bang and the First Cause. Your reflections are tending towards equating First Cause and First Effect. You´re missing the transcendent to material sequence, the process of emergence illustrates how orders of reality, new systems with endogenous properties, happen in this physical reality. The emergence of human minds, and human phenomena, require new levels of understanding beyond mere physicality. The human mind alone represents the existence of awareness, understanding, perception, and values. David Chalmers “hard problem of consciousness” isn´t necessarily a “problem.” It reflects issues raised by DesCartes and Spinoza, at least, in introspection, and by G Vico in understanding constructivist “making of truth.”

    Thus, Craig observes that when a different condition existed before the Universe, it is characterized by not having space, time, or matter-energy that we know here in this Universe. Some other condition prevailed. As a different condition and Cause of this Universe, Craig calls it “transcendent,” which might correspond to a physicalist concept of a Tesseract, a 2D drawing of a 3D image of a 4D condition. In conceiving the transcendent First Cause, we can hypothesize that it operates at a Higher Order of Reality in its own right, as emergentism operates in this Universe, from the physical to the social and human mental.

    You want to propose that time existed before time as we know it. You avoid the implications of the issues raised. The “regress-stopper” is at the past-time boundary, and the implications of a timeless condition. If you want to imagine a Universe generating mechanism, for example, let´s call it a “White Hole.” That “White Hole” might pop out a Universe with its temporal frame. The hypothetical “White Hole,” however, operates outside that temporal frame. Now, that starts the infinite regress problem. The only thing that stops the impossibility of anything being actually infinite in this Universe is a transcendent cause. That Higher Order of Reality has to contain by definition the actual Infinity, or Eternity. That context asks, Could a “White Hole” mechanism operate, sort of like Deism? Craig observes that in the transcendent, Eternal context, time is not an issue. “Clockwork” isn´t what goes on, it´s not how things operate in that realm. Random bursts? “Random” is a human concept based on categorizing an unknown cause. The post questions “causality.” Tell that to science, i.e. scientific philosophy.

    The transcendent First Cause isn´t mechanistic, isn´t random, and the only other causal process that we know is design and intention. We experience that with our minds, which have evolved and developed as a new Level of Reality over 3 million years or 200,000 years, or since the first life form evolved more than a billion years ago, depending. Actually, it was 3.8 billion years on Earth if I recall the known data.

    So, when you say, “There was time before time,” you´re failing to understand the implications of a past-time boundary and emergent systems. We don´t yet understand a number of physical scientific phenomena, including the Big Bang expansion/creation scenario.

    That´s where it also helps to get the restoration of “science” to “scientific philosophy.” “Science” is a term that tries to ride on establishing scientific knowledge that stands as “unquestionable facts.” However, for all its power and influence, “science” shows its principles as philosophical activity. Dark Energy and Dark Matter, Black Holes, and the Big Bang get proposed, but present unknown phenomena to our thinking, dispelling any other illusions.

    By grasping science as philosophy, we are returned to the philosophical level that applies to empiricism and the diversification of University-based disciplines. All have been supplemented by empiricism, and its advances in scientific methodology, but have had to apply them with philosophical methodology in anthropology, psychology, sociology, history, and so on. The human mind is not to be taken lightly, nor its implications for understanding the predicate conditions for the Big Bang. And historical issues, and spiritual-religious experience.

  5. P1 “Whatever begins to exist has a cause” is not at all clear, due to its brevity. I suggest this replacement – “Whatever has a beginning of its existence has a cause of that beginning, and the cause itself has a beginning of its existence.” It is mandatory here to distinguish between the causer and the cause – a cause is something done by a causer. The reference to “cause” in P1 is the cause, not the causer.

    If you accept my replacement wording, it follows that the cause (that has a beginning of its existence) itself has a cause (that has a beginning of its existence) – and it also follows that there is an infinite regress of causes. Because each begun cause is a change, if there is an infinite regress of causes, there is an infinite regress of changes. This has no provision for a First Causer which has changeless (unchanging) existence.

    If you do not accept my replacement wording, I assume the reason would relate to the infinite regress described above. In that case there would need to be a regress-stopper – that would have to be a beginningless first cause.
    If there was no propagation delay for this first cause, the first effect must have co-existed. So if the first effect had a beginning of its existence, so did the first cause – but this cannot be the case, because the first cause was beginningless – so the first effect was also beginningless. If this first cause/effect was the creation of the universe, the universe has beginningless existence that began ~13.5 BYA – this is incoherent to me.
    If there was a propagation delay, there must have been duration (measured or unmeasured). If the first effect was the coming into existence of the universe (and with this, the beginning of time), there was the duration of the propagation delay prior to the existence of time. So there was time before time existed.

  6. Hey there

    I noticed your question, will do my best to answer it.
    “Claim: ““every cause has a cause”” … but you then go on to claim that there is a first cause that has no cause. That conflicts with this claim. So how does that work?”
    This works because God is outside of space and time, the law of causality may not apply within His realm.

    P.S, I have a question for you…

    Have you ever heard the gospel of Jesus Christ?

    The word gospel means “good news,” so the gospel of Christ is the good news of His coming to provide forgiveness of sins for all who will believe (Colossians 1:14; Romans 10:9). Since the first man’s sin, mankind has been under the condemnation of God (Romans 5:12). Because everyone breaks God’s perfect law by committing sin, everyone is guilty (Romans 3:23). The punishment for the crime of sin is physical death (Romans 6:23) and then an eternity spent in a place of punishment (Revelation 20:15; Matthew 25:46). This eternal separation from God is also called the “second death” (Revelation 20:14–15).

    The bad news that all are guilty of sin and condemned by God is countered by the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ. God, because of His love for the world, has made a way for man to be forgiven of their sins (John 3:16). He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to take the sins of mankind on Himself through death on a cross (1 Peter 2:24). In placing our sin on Christ, God ensured that all who will believe in the name of Jesus will be forgiven (Acts 10:43). Jesus’ resurrection guarantees the justification of all who believe (Romans 4:25).

    The Bible specifies the content of the gospel message: “Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time” (1 Corinthians 15:1–6). In this passage, Paul emphasizes the primacy of the gospel—it is of “first importance.” The gospel message contains two historical facts, both supported by Scripture: Christ’s death and His resurrection. Both those facts are bolstered by other proofs: Christ’s death is proved by His burial, and His resurrection is proved by the eyewitnesses.

    The gospel of Jesus Christ is the good news that God provided the way for man to be freed from the penalty of sin (John 14:6; Romans 6:23). Everyone dies physically, but those who believe in Jesus Christ are promised a physical resurrection unto eternal life (John 11:23–26). Those who reject Christ will not only die physically but will undergo a “second death,” which the Bible describes as an eternal lake of fire (Revelation 20:13–14). Jesus is the only One in whom salvation can be found (Acts 4:12).

    The gospel of Jesus Christ is the best news anyone will ever hear, and what a person does with this news will determine where he or she spends eternity. God is calling you to choose life. Call on the name of the Lord and be saved (Romans 10:13).

    • God is outside of space and time” … how do you demonstrate that this is true and that such an entity actually exists?

  7. All I know is that the article above doesn’t explain origins.

    It should be obvious that if something exists in the material universe, a producer/creator of some sort had to produce/create that something. Whatever that something, it had to have a beginning. Conceptualization would HAVE to be present in some being’s mind.

    How did the 1st, say, ameba or whatever is said to have come out the water or chemical soup, KNOW what to do next? How could DNA form by accident, It just did it on it’s own? How did birds live long enough to figure out they needed wings? That those wings had to be a particular shape to enable them to fly? Where did the feathers come from & how did the first critter on it’s way to becoming a bird know it’s bones & feathers had to be light enough for the bird to over come drag & gravity? How did the bird, before it WAS a full fledged bird, figure out flying was the best for it? Spider webs anyone? DNA? Brain cells & electrical impulses? All those are just a happy coincidence?

    How could another critter know it needed 8 legs, a web to catch insects & a digestive tract all on it’s own? How did the brain of ANY creature ‘evolve’ all by itself? How did the brain know to form blood vessels, a heart, legs & so on? All that just happened by chance?

    Would those who believe in the hypothesis of evolution walk into a library & say there is no evidence for the authors of the books? Would they deny that it took workers to build the library? Would evolutionists go to a car lot & say there is no evidence for automobile factories? I don’t know, they might. ;-) Ok, ok, they would acknowledge authors & car makers…but they deny the evidence of all creation to say “there is no God/Creator”. Everything just popped out of nothing…

    So why then, do the evo’s walk around in a miracle of it’s own, their body & traverse around the planet saying there is no creator. As with libraries & auto plants, the material world & universe in themselves tell us there had to be a great mind & conceptual thinking behind these physical objects & the world they exist in.

    One would have to believe in a greater ‘miracle’: that all the universe, earth, people & critters just came from nothing & came to exist in balance all by themselves with no outside movement. That all they see & touch came from nowhere.


    • Your solution to the “Where did everything come from?” question is to claim “God”, on the basis of no evidence at all. It is simply an answer made up to answer that question.
      – It does not actually answer the question, but instead simply creates a new one – where did this God come from? (To use the logic you deployed to get to that step, “it can’t have come from nothing”).

      The common answer is to then claim, “But God is eternal and has no origin” … again on the basis of no evidence at all.

      You are faced with various choices here …
      1) continue with your current religious answer that has no evidence … it is simply an unverifiable claim
      2) remove a layer of complexity and consider the possibility that reality has no origin, and that we live in a multiverse where universes constantly emerge …
      3) be a tad more honest and go with “I don’t know” and come to terms with the observation that there is no answer to this question right now and make peace with that lack of knowledge rather than sticking in made-up answers.

  8. Nice try…but Something cannot come from nothing and every cause has a cause, which brings us to first cause. First Cause by it’s logical nature is infinite and eternal. All of the scientific hocus pocus you conjure will never change that fact. The Creator is saying, I made this simple enough for the average person to understand. The Creator is laughing at you. As am I.

    • Claim: “Something cannot come from nothing” … and your evidence for this is what? In fact, what exactly do you mean by “nothing”, how would you define that?

      Claim: “every cause has a cause” … but you then go on to claim that there is a first cause that has no cause. That conflicts with this claim. So how does that work?

      What does the term “scientific hocus pocus” even mean? Remind me again who is asserting a claim that a supernatural entity did it all via “hocus pocus”?

      Claim: “The Creator is saying, I made this simple enough for the average person to understand.”
      – How exactly do you know this, are you hearing voices by any chance?

    • Scott Denver, very true. A man of great knowledge was inspired to put it this way– “…For ever since the creation of the world His invisible nature and attributes, that is, His eternal power and divinity, have been made intelligible and clearly discernible in and through the things that have been made (His handiworks). So [men] are without excuse [altogether without any defense or justification],…” Romans chapter 1 verse 20. Verses 19 & 21 flesh this thought out a bit more.

      We all live & exist in all the evidence we will ever need to show that there is a ‘First Cause’ Creator. ALL creation speaks to the fact that some one somewhere CREATED the material universe, including man & the earth. The only true argument is WHO this Creator is. Because of my experience with Jesus when I asked Him to forgive my sin & come into my heart (innermost being), He did. So I go with the Bible. Everyone else can choose what they want to believe.

      Choosing to believe there is no Creator leaves mankind with the belief that all this came from nothing,


      • // We all live & exist in all the evidence we will ever need //
        Er … no, that’s really not evidence.

        You have a religious experience … others have a very distinctly different religious experience, and so they come to a conclusion regarding a very different God.

        You would dismiss their experience and their specific conclusion. If you applied that exact same criteria to your experience and your conclusion, then you would be consistent … but for what are essentially emotional reasons, you don’t. Humans are like that. It tells us a great deal about human psychology, and nothing at all about reality.

        How can you test and verify that your conclusion is correct, and them demonstrate that?

        The common answer to that is of course … “well you need to truly experience X and then you will ..” … and so you are right back to the vast diversity of religious experiences that all have very different conclusions. To be honest, all that gives you is geography and not a solution, because where you live will determine which religious variation you embrace.

  9. Problem 1: It is generally accepted that anything which begins to exist naturally has a cause, and I can’t really believe that anyone could logically deny that (I’d be please to hear it though). And while it may not be entirely satisfactory, it is perfectly logical to assert that IF god never began to exist, then he doesn’t need a cause. Thus, god is not an exception to the rule, but rather doesn’t fall under its precepts in the first place.

    Problem 2: Of course the assumption MAY not be true, its possible. But the personal explanation of the start of the universe offered by Kalam is better the non-answer offered by science “it simply happened, no explanation needed”. What an unscientific attitude.
    Furthermore, if one properly understands the places of science and its limitations (there, I said it. Science has limits) then it would be clear that we must take some things by ‘faith’. For example, its perfectly logical, rational, and scientifically based (in this case) to believe that the law of gravity is true. Why? Not because I can prove it, because that would entail testing every location in the universe to make sure that somewhere there isn’t a place where the laws of gravity don’t apply, I have to have FAITH that its correct. Plus the word ‘faith’ is not simply a religious word. It simply means to have trust or confidence in some person, entity, or concept (i.e. anyone who believes that apes overtime became humans without actually seeing it happen).

    Problem 3: The God of the Gaps fallacy is certainly a problem for some theists, and one that should be avoided (as should all ad hoc arguments). However, in the case of the beginning of the universe, its perfectly natural to postulate a cause (since science cannot) and even if scientists should some day arrive at a ‘natural’ answer for the beginning of the universe (i.e. explain the mechanics) that simply pushes the bar back a little, and an answer is still required for that specific event which led to the Big Bang. Since there is little rational reason to believe in a Infinite Regress of Causes, eventually there must be an Uncaused Cause (which theists, deists, etc, call God).

    Problem 4: This applies to Craig. Craig uses the Kalam cosmological argument as an argument for the Existence of God alone. He does not use it to define attributes or characteristics of God. (Craig vs. Hitchens So, Craig does not assert that Kalam proves his Christian god, and not the Islamic one, he simply asserts it proves A god. This one is painfully clear if you A) Read his books or B) Watch his debates.

    In addition, its unfair to apply/attach Craig’s arguments to Warner’s position, as they are two separate thinkers and therefore have different views.

    • Mark;
      1. We don’t know if everything needs a cause or not, whether it’s illogical or not, because logic is subjective, and facts are not dependent on that. For example, if we talk about logic, according to my logic, if God never began to exist as you claimed, then it never existed in the first place.

      2.There is absolutely no faith in science. Science has limits, that’s true, but when we refer beyond the limits, we simply say ‘WE DONT KNOW’. And it is a perfectly honest answer. When we start saying I don’t know but I have faith in… It is not a scientific answer anymore.
      Also, Gravity is a theory, and a theory is the highest statement in science you can ever achieve. If we ever discover somewhere in the universe that gravity doesn’t apply, then we are more than happy to change our current theory. We do not have to believe it happens everywhere in the universe of we can’t test it.

    • For every physical thing, there is a cause. That is true as we all see in our daily life. But this logic can not be applied to something which is non physical. God is not physical hence there can not be a cuse for the First Cause. Unfortunately, we believe in things because we can prove with our 5 senses. We forget that these 5 senses can sense only the physical things. Since God is not physical, we can not prove existence of God by testing it with 5 senses. We can prove existence of God only through a non physical way, ie thinking process. Thinking if done unbiasedly, can lead to the proof that God ( we may like to name Him by any word) does exist.

  10. When the claimant speaks of a meal he is talking about something that was re-ordered, not created. The atoms of the meal existed for billions of years before an agent reassembled those atoms into a meal. Everyone acknowledges that living things are agents and so the claim of ‘nothing’ ‘making’ something like a meal is disingenuous, as are most arguments put forth by believers. But let’s play along for a minute and ask the believer “What did God make the Universe out of? 1) Himself? 2) Something other than himself? or 3) Something conjured?” This quickly leads the believer down three possibilities 1) God is something energetic or material and not supernatural (the universe is just part of God’s makeup) 2) Something exists outside of God (the material God chose to make the Universe out of) or 3) Something can indeed come nothing, whether by divine or accidental means (God conjured the Universe from nothing). The arguments put forth by the William Craig’s of the world have all been shot down a long time ago. The problem is believers will never budge on exceptionalism. Their God is the exception to all rules, all morality and all logical and illogical possibilities. Their God is the exception to contradiction and on and on. It’s over. Atheists won and believers lost. If, incredibly, some day we discover a God-like entity creating Universes then that entity will only be God-like, relative to humans. That entity will still be unable to transcend the laws of the realm it exists in. Almost everything modern believers hold dear (afterlife, heaven, being re-united with dead relatives) is a relatively modern invention intelligently designed to keep a human in a state of perpetual childhood so that they can be exploited.

  11. being the “devil’s advocate here”…I don’t believe that adding in God to the mix causes pointless complexity. I also don’t think that the creationist above was implying any unstated rule that there had to be a cause of the universe, and the God was the exception to that rule. In it’s simplest form, I think he was saying “it’s harder for people to accept that nothing created the universe(i.e. that there was no cause), than for people to believe that God made it” In truth, what you should argue is that we don’t know *exactly* what made the universe, but we’re pretty darn sure it’s not God(because of other atheist claims).
    The problem I have with your problem two is that it is not a meaningless question, science is the very essence of that question. “What caused it?” is the reason why we are atheists today. The problem is that, currently, our level of technology is limiting in regards to the origin of the universe.
    the problem I have with your problem 3 is that many Christians(maybe not this creationist, but many) still approve of science. They are as ready to ask the same questions atheists ask in saying “what caused it” because they hope (and even believe) that at the end of it all, we will prove the existence of God. The pitfall of every christian, theist and other religious follower is stopping when you don’t find an answer instead of continuing on.
    in essence, while your response to the creationist’s first-claim is emotionally charged(appealing to some), stronger evidence to invalidate the message is needed. Another idea that would battle the creationist’s claims is this: in his example the meal is already there and prepared for you, and to question that someone prepared it would be foolish. But he doesn’t know that is because we have seen people prepare meals. If we were to never have seen someone prepare any meal in our lifetimes, and come upon that meal already made, we would come to some very weird conclusions. In that sense, the creationist actually agrees with the scientific method. If we see something, and don’t know the cause and automatically assume that it is a god and never question further, we become like the atheists he describes. But if we actually seek knowledge, we become the creationists he describes.

    • The connotations are very different. Deism is the idea that a god does not care about human interests at all. God is aloof and no longer involved. Theism is usually about god being active in human life and having a vested interest in our affairs. They are very different. They both believe in a god but that’s where the similarities end.

    • My Friend, Theism is the concept of a single personal deity. But Deism is the concept of a single but distant and impersonal deity.

  12. A very good analysis, I would and the problem of use-mention error in the phrase “created from nothing”. When the speaker says ‘created’, the are clearly referring to the creation of real things — energy or matter, but they invoke the concept of ‘nothing’ as a basis. This is a categorical error of logic. The speaker must first define ‘nothing’ as a real thing, which I have never heard anyone do in this context, for the phase to have any meaning.

    Categorical errors might appear to be profound statements of reason, but they are not.


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