Answering the right questions…


Reposted from my Facebook notes, by request:

“What proof and evidence can you provide that atheism is accurate and correct?”

Atheism is not a world view or a philosophy, it does not assert claims that could be viewed as accurate and correct – it is the rejection of theistic claims. It is disbelief of the claim “some god exists” – there is no requirement that one believe that no gods exist in order to be an atheist.

The question, as phrased, represents a misunderstanding of both atheism and the burden of proof. It’s an attempt to frame atheism as if it is asserting that no gods exist and it does so in order to shift the burden of proof. It’s not only hand waving…there’s a big, rotten, fallacy-ridden, red herring in that hand. Why phrase the question that way? Because, to those who don’t understand the burden of proof or the subjects at hand, it sounds so much more clever than “can you prove that there are no gods?”

In my case, I reject theistic claims because they have not met their burden of proof. That’s it. I’m an atheist because no one has been able to provide sufficient evidence to support their theistic claims. They’ve failed to answer a question similar to the one they aim at me…and after being called on that failure they’re desperately trying to point the finger in any direction except where it belongs.

If you believe you can read minds, why would you ask a non-believer if they can provide proof and evidence that you can’t — instead of simply demonstrating the truth of your claims? The simple answer is that you can’t, and you know you can’t.

Consider the following:

I get e-mails from Christians on a regular basis. Many of them are convinced that the Holy Spirit has instructed them to contact me and give me valuable evidence that will change my mind. These people believe that their god is real, that he wants me to know that he’s real and that he’s charged them with providing me with the evidence.

We can, via reductio ad absurdum, demonstrate that these people are simply wrong:

If their god exists, then it knows precisely what information they’ll need to convey to convince me and it would communicate this information to a person who is capable of accurately presenting it in a way that achieves the stated goal. (I’m not going to draw out a syllogism for this…it’s all from the definition of the god that they believe is real.)

Why then do these people consistently present the most obviously flawed arguments and absurd anecdotal evidence? Why then do these people often say the very thing that confirms that they have no clue what they’re talking about?

Are they just inept at communicating the needed information? Then their god has made a terribly stupid mistake, inconsistent with the character of the god they believe in.

Is their god incapable of accurate communication? Not according to their beliefs. Their god is perfectly (or nearly) wise, intelligent, capable, powerful, etc…and clearly directed them to present the information.

No matter how you break this down, the god they believe in simply doesn’t exist. There may be a god, and it might even be the one that they’re trying to represent, but they’re clearly wrong about its desire and ability to demonstrate its existence. At best we’re left with something that is, to a third party, indistinguishable from delusion.

Is there something that you’re really good at or knowledgeable about? Perhaps you’re a bit of an expert at a game, or at repairing cars, or you’re a trivia wiz about a certain show. Perhaps you’re highly educated in a particular scientific discipline or you’ve been doing a particular job for many years.

If so, then you’ll have some idea of how easy it is, in many cases, to determine (roughly) how skilled someone else is in that same area. You probably also have some sense of the extreme frustration you feel when someone who clearly has no clue what they’re talking about is trying to “educate” someone else. It’s almost as frustrating as when they’re trying to “educate” you. You can spot the bullshit from a mile away and it’s almost physically painful to watch someone get away with poisoning another mind with nonsense.

That’s what I feel like when I read many of these e-mails. That’s what I feel like when I see apologists videos or blogs.

I’ll continue to take on all callers, including (especially?) the overly-glib bullshit artists who willingly lie to promote their beliefs…because it’s something that I find important and something that I’m pretty good at.

The phone lines are open.

Comments

  1. says

    The funny thing about apologetics is, even when we separate the amateurs from the experts we find that the arguments don't get any better with the "experts." The biggest difference between the average apologist YouTuber and, say, Dinesh D'Souza or W.L. Craig is that D'Souza and Craig are (most times) slightly more articulate. But the substance and validity of the arguments are usually about the same.Good post, Matt.

  2. says

    That sure is a long answer to a short question. The point you made about someone getting an assignment from the holy spirit is a nice way to nail them. Before they present the argument, they should acknowledge that if they're unable to convince you, their god is not real. I guess no theist will take you up on that.

  3. says

    Matt, there's a flaw in your logic. You seem to suppose that the believers could persuade you if they presented the right evidence, but we all know that the fact is you have hardened your heart against THE LORD, you have been seduced by Satan and will reject anything they put before you although, deep within, you really know that God exists.Which proves exactly the theist's point: Of course God is perfect, but atheists are just evil.

  4. says

    Correct me if I'm wrong, Matt….but is that not that youtube guy who claimed to have pwned you guys when in reality he called in to another show entirely making the same argument?

  5. OnceProudKnight says

    Shock of God has what I would like to call Shock Syndrome. It's where he straw mans every argument that mentions Santa, Big Foot, or Faeries as "Santa Syndrome." He twists an analogy into an argument from analogy and then claims an equivocation fallacy. It fails on both levels, no one is saying that because Santa doesn't exist, God therefore doesn't exist. They mean that in the same way there's no evidence for Santa, there's no evidence for God. The only part they're comparing is the no evidence part, to demonstrate that without any evidence there is no justification for believing in God, Santa, or anything. Santa and God ARE on the same footing with having no evidence, so there's no equivocation fallacy: it's a good analogy. Instead of refuting the actual argument, which can be worded without mentioning Santa; he chooses to clearly straw man the best answer to his fallacious question so he can bullshit people into believing he is right and/or Atheists are so incompetent as a whole that we can't answer his loaded question.

  6. says

    I'm standing up cheering after reading that! You have a way of expressing yourself that I envy and admire. Thank you for posting that.

  7. says

    A bigger issue, in my mind, is why, if this "god" wants you to believe in him so badly, he doesn't just come to YOU directly. If he's so all-powerful, why would he go through someone who can't get the job done at all?? Ridiculous.

  8. says

    "What proof and evidence can you provide that atheism is accurate and correct?"And of course that person probably doesn't lose sleep at night wondering "What proof and evidence can you provide that fairy godmothers don't exist?"But what I find truly interesting about this is something you see in a lot of apologetics. And it is the simple inability to accept that reality is real. What you see is what you get. All that we observe around us is the real world and believing in the real world is perfectly justified. Believing in fantasy worlds is not. That is why saying there is no god because I haven't observed anything in the real world that would indicate its existence is a perfectly reasonable stance. No other evidence beyond observed reality is needed. And honestly, what more evidence could you have then all of reality?Then they go to great lengths to try and define reality out of existence. Like the whole, you can't have absolute knowledge, or solipsism, or god created fossils to make the earth look old, or where did the universe come from. So on and so forth, they expend great energy to break reality down into nothing, to say that reality is unreliable, to say that anything is possible, because essentially that is what you have to do if you are going to compare the real world to a fantasy one (which is what religion is). It is the only way to put the two on equal footing. You would think that if in order to make your argument you have to define away reality in such a way as to make anything possible that your belief might not be something that you should really take all that seriously.What is most vexing of all is that all the apologists naturally do the same thing we do in 99% of the situations. Nobody goes around thinking that a 14 foot tall amazon woman might be around the next corner because 'anything is possible'. Indeed it would be impossible to survive and function and not go completely mad if you had no anchor in reality and that your mind truly considered anything that is technically possible as equally probable. You couldn't even take a drink of water if you thought that it was equally likely that gravity could flow up or that water is really poison, or that it was all a dream, or… whatever. Yet that is exactly the kind of mindset that they would have us adopt just to make a place for their god.

  9. says

    The most lucid explanation of an atheist, that also conveys a lot of intuitive implications, that I enjoy is:"A theist says 'There is a god'. An atheist says 'I don't believe you.'"I would think it'd be difficult to arm twist that into being something illogical.On another note, it's pretty likely that the person who wrote Matt with that question probably had his/her eyes glaze over by word 3 of this response. The point isn't to get an enlightening response. The purpose of such a question is to take a swipe that'll stump you.

  10. says

    @ MurielLogical conlusion from your story: satan is more powerful than god, since satan can persuade you, while god can't. Therefore the allpowerful god you believe in cannot exist. Reductio ad absurdum.

  11. says

    "That is why saying there is no god because I haven't observed anything in the real world that would indicate its existence is a perfectly reasonable stance."–JeremiahThe 'real world' did not create itself. Anything that has a beginning has to have a cause. The universe had to have a beginning. The 'real world', which you can see all around you, has a cause. That cause has to have more actuality, or power, than the effect which is the universe.That being said, the universe then, also, does not sustain itself any more than you sustain your own existence (by the way, we can prove that we exist). So, there is a cause, and a sustainer. You tell me who, or what, that is.

  12. says

    "That is why saying there is no god because I haven't observed anything in the real world that would indicate its existence is a perfectly reasonable stance. No other evidence beyond observed reality is needed. And honestly, what more evidence could you have then all of reality?"First, Jeremiah here, or any person for that matter, is not omniscient, so his argument that he does not need any more evidence than all of existence is futile. However, it is extremely amusing that he uses the idea of reality as lack of evidence for a god when reality, the universe, is the most powerful evidence for the existence of a god. In this argument, we can call him the cause. Here is the formal argument:Anything that has a beginning has to have a cause;The universe has a beginning;Therefore, the universe has a cause.Further, the universe does not sustain its own existence any more than any of us sustain our existence. However, clearly, here we are existing within a universe we did not cause, claiming there is no evidence for a cause, using energy sustained by an exterior force.You tell me who, or what, that force and cause is.

  13. says

    Kinda like:'It annoys me that the burden of proof is on us. It should be: "You came up with the idea. Why do you believe it?" I could tell you I've got superpowers, but you can't go up to people saying "Prove I can't fly." They'd go: "What do you mean 'Prove you can't fly'? Prove you can!"' — Ricky Gervais

  14. says

    Dave, that's correct, ShockofGod (Rich) is the one pretending multiple different people now are "The Atheist Experience" and that they refuse to address him, all the while refusing to call the actual AE show.

  15. says

    Many things bother me with this question, and Matt proved pretty much that was it was both a pathetically poor and a deeply dishonest one (at least in this instance, I am sure some theists are genuine when they think atheists claim anything), but one of the things that makes it so poor is that it is full of pleonasm. Okay, so "proof" and "evidence" are not the same thing, but "acurate" and "correct" are in this context pretty much synonymous. If you are correct about something, you must be acurate. Atheism is acurate and correct on what? On the existence/non -existence of God (on which we make no claim), or on the value of the theistic claims themselves? Of course the vagueness and redundancy cannot hide that it is a stupid question to begin with.

  16. says

    Faith is to believe in something as an act of will. Will is to desire something and make it happen. Therefore, faith is founded on the will to believe. Will has created massive structures like the Hoover Dam, initiated world wars, forged technology where telescopes view the universe back to the first moments of creation, and created philosophical works that fostered revolutions in scientific, practical and speculative thought. All we experience, all of existence is the effect of natural forces and the will and its subsequent actions from conscious beings. Action is the vehicle of the will.The philosopher,William James, in his work "The Will to Believe" suggests that we believe based on certain criteria. Criteria not necessarily based on evidence. We are apt to believe based from our will to believe based solely on the outcome of the belief. He cites the case of "Pascal's Bet with God". Its not a proof of god, but a wager on God's existence. Accordingly, The odds are fifty/fifty, God exists or he does not. But what are you willing to wager knowing that believers go to heaven with all the perks and benefits of everlasting life/ If you are wrong and god does not exist, oblivion abounds. On the other side, if you chose to wager that God does not exist, and he does, there is hell and damnation in the wake. If you are correct and God does not exist, you face the same fate as the believer–oblivion. Pascal suggests believing in God is you best bet. The truth and veracity of the results are still in question, but we are likely to believe solely on the anticipated positive outcome. This discussion is expanded in my soon to be published book, Proof of God.Atheism is supported by facts found in experience. Metaphysical naturalism may explain existence through science and the natural world. Proof of God may be supported by the logical proofs constructed by many philosophers throughout the ages. The ontological proof and "The Five Ways" are examples. Most believers prefer proving God's existence through revelation of the word albeit. Our will to believe is often founded on some basis no matter how weak or strong that foundation is. From our will to believe, our faith in God, or our atheism is based on the choices we make to arrive at our fundamental beliefs. And, I think some just believe blindly, because they are supposed to, but that too is an act of will.

  17. says

    "You probably also have some sense of the extreme frustration you feel when someone who clearly has no clue what they're talking about is trying to "educate" someone else. It's almost as frustrating as when they're trying to "educate" you."Ugh, I just had an experience of this nature, and let me tell you, it really is irritating. I had an online 'debate' of sorts with someone who was positing some bullshit new age mumbo jumbo with respect to sleep, which, unfortunately for him, is the area in which I work (polysomnographic technology).I called him on his nonsense, and he then tried to 'educate' me about something I studied in school, wrote a thesis on, and have been involved with, professionally, for 6-7 years. There's usually a gap in knowledge on my end when it comes to debating a particular subject, but this one time I was absolutely justified in being direct and authoritative, and he ended up spouting off some "you scientists (of which I am not) are all the same, you just keep out any alternate theories you don't like."Ugh. "Shock of God has what I would like to call Shock Syndrome. It's where he straw mans every argument that mentions Santa, Big Foot, or Faeries as "Santa Syndrome." He twists an analogy into an argument from analogy and then claims an equivocation fallacy. It fails on both levels, no one is saying that because Santa doesn't exist, God therefore doesn't exist. "Yep, and he has been educated on this particular notion about 1000000 times. He never listens. D-e-l-u-d-e-d."Matt, there's a flaw in your logic. You seem to suppose that the believers could persuade you if they presented the right evidence, but we all know that the fact is you have hardened your heart against THE LORD, you have been seduced by Satan and will reject anything they put before you although, deep within, you really know that God exists.Which proves exactly the theist's point: Of course God is perfect, but atheists are just evil." Please inform me as to what next week's lotto numbers will be. Pretty please? I could reaaaaally use a few million bucks, as I would finally be able to build the big animal reserve I have always wanted to build and save a whole bunch of lives. Seeing as how, you know, you're psychic and all. No level of naturalistic extrospection would lead you to that sort of information, so you must be psychic. Btw, Matt, my wife, a recently deconverted catholic (I swear I didn't badger her) says hello, and thanks. Some particular clip of yours from TAE was a part of the deconstruction process.

  18. says

    ShockofGod is hilarious (in a similar goofy, slogan-chanting way to how Ray Comfort is hilarious, though I doubt he can ever aspire to quite that caliber of comedy). I still hope he calls the show, but I suspect he never will. And…"I'll continue to take on all callers, including (especially?) the overly-glib bullshit artists who willingly lie to promote their beliefs…because it's something that I find important and something that I'm pretty good at."This reminded me of the following Hume zinger:"[N]one but fools ever repose less trust in a man, because they hear, that from study and philosophy, he has entertained some speculative doubts with regard to theological subjects. And when we have to do with a man, who makes a great profession of religion and devotion, has this any other effect upon several, who pass for prudent, than to put them on their guard, lest they be cheated and deceived by him?"(David Hume, _Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion_, Part XII)

  19. says

    Great post Matt. Nearly every theist I speak with falls back on the "you can't prove God doesn't exist" position when they find themselves unable to provide me with any evidence for their particular god's existence.All of the theists I've spoken with also fail to understand that Atheism is simply a rejection of theistic claims and not a religion, etc. nor do they understand that the burden of proof is on them.Of course every single one of the theists I've dealt with eventually concludes that their god has provided me with the evidence I seek though I'm just to stubborn to see it, or simply want to deny it so that I can continue living the lifestyle I do.I enjoy your rebuttals Matt they are always entertaining and enlightening.

  20. says

    Jsfenno,I'm getting the first cause argument thown at me? Really? Well lets cut to the chase then. You say the universe needs a creator and I'll say but who created god and then you say that god is the exception and doesn't need a creator and I will point out that if god can 'just exist' then lets cut the crap and just posit that the universe 'just exists'. Sure is a hell of a lot simpler, so why add extra steps before you get to 'just exists'. So, no I don't have to tell you "who or what that force is" because I don't accept your premise that 1) the universe had a beginning (caveat, this hinges a bit on definitions of universe and beginnings but I want to keep the reply short) and 2) all beginnings have a cause. Besides, even if I acceptted all that stuff the intellectually honest answer to the question would be "I don't know", not "lets make up a guy with magical superpowers and say he did it."

  21. Wired For Sound says

    That's actually how Dr. William Lane Craig, Ph.D., begins his highly nuanced arguments, by stating, "There's no evidence to prove that atheism is true."

  22. says

    "Anything that has a beginning has to have a cause;The universe has a beginning;Therefore, the universe has a cause."Prove assertion 2. I'm pretty sure physics isn't strong enough on that issue to say definitively that the universe has a beginning."Further, the universe does not sustain its own existence any more than any of us sustain our existence. However, clearly, here we are existing within a universe we did not cause, claiming there is no evidence for a cause, using energy sustained by an exterior force."That is the stupidest fucking thing I ever heard. The universe, as far as we can tell, i smost likely a Zero-net game system. All energy that exists already exists. We sustain ourselves by moving energy from the environment into ourselves. Saying the universe doesn't sustain itself is so fucking wrong there's nothing to address, it's a nonsense statement. "How can cats move if they're too small for us to get in and drive them" it's that level of nonsense. The universe isn't a fucking Rolex that needs a power source.

  23. says

    "You tell me who, or what, that force and cause is."I don't know, and neither the fuck do you. So shut up, sit down, and let the physicists look into the question.

  24. says

    A. J. Grady: "The odds are fifty/fifty, God exists or he does not."This is an elementary school level fallacy. Just because there are only two possibilities, does not mean that you split the odds equally between those two.I will either win the lottery… or I won't. There is no other outcome. Are my odds 50/50 AJ?

  25. says

    Burden of proofAre you guilty of murder?Are you guilty of another murder?Are you guilty of X number of murders?Prove it!Or alternatively dont prove it in a court of law. Because unless someone is making the claim that you are guilty of murder you have no burden to prove you are innocent.It is the act of accusation that demands some proof be presented. The innocent man does not need to prove his innocence.The non-believer* does not have to defend his lack of belief.Because until a claim is made for them to doubt there is no doubt to present. The burden of proof is always on the claiment. [*There is a difference between non-belief and un-belief.]

  26. says

    @MJ: Ich hope you're as much joking as I am, but just for the heck of it: You're wrong. I never said that Satan is more powerful than THE LORD. It's that Matt has free will and God will not force him to believe, although of course he could, but that would be akin to spiritual rape and would rob Matt of his free will. So God is good and Matt is evil. Checkmate, atheists!@magx01: I'm no psychic, I just listen to the holy spirit when he talks to me. You should, too. (And, of course, I'm kidding. Sorry if I confused you.)

  27. says

    Free will contradicts itself. AND CAN NOT EXISTS(in your case) Your god is all powerful, and all knowing. He has our lives lined out. He knows how everything begins and how everything ends. Free will would mean we get to alter "his" plan and therefore being much more powerful than he is. Therefore making him not all powerful. Making us as humans much more capable than he. If anything it would make your notion of satan much more powerful. Satan would have us alter our lives in such away that goes against gods plan. And if god were always in control… then there would be no free will.

  28. says

    Jeremiah, "…I don't accept your premise that 1) the universe had a beginning (caveat, this hinges a bit on definitions of universe and beginnings but I want to keep the reply short)…"If the universe does not have a beginning, the only other case would be that it has existed for an infinite amount of time. In other words, an infinite amount of time has come to pass before today.Q: How long would an infinite amount of time take to pass?A: An infinite amount of time.To believe this idea is simply absurd. The only case that logically makes sense is that the universe had a beginning."… and 2) all beginnings have a cause."To deny that anything with a beginning had a cause is just… naive. You cannot make something from nothing. Further, without an uncaused cause, you only get infinite regression, which we all know is a fallacy.So I ask again, "What is this uncaused cause?"

  29. says

    A. J. Grady says"The odds are fifty/fifty, God exists or he does not."The chances of your logic being flawed must be 50/50. Its either is or it isn't.and"This discussion is expanded in my soon to be published book, Proof of God."Will your book come a with a set of colouring in pencils to colour in the pictures or are you not allow sharp objects where you live?

  30. says

    "That is the stupidest f***ing thing I ever heard. The universe, as far as we can tell, i smost likely a Zero-net game system. All energy that exists already exists. We sustain ourselves by moving energy from the environment into ourselves."Yes, I agree about Conservation of Energy, i.e., energy is not created nor destroyed within the universe. However, the point that was missed is that we do not continue to remain in existence by our own power. If you put a cat in a box and seal it, even though you cannot see it, the cat still exists in this realm. You cannot destroy it, or the energy that it contains, you can only change it.And changing is what we do as we live our lives. Now, where did the potential for change come from? Did you create your own potential to cross the street if you wanted to? Do you, "…move that energy… into [yourself]?"A joke for illustration:Some biologists studying cloning were becoming very successful in their experiments. They eventually went to God and told him they could create life just as He did. God was impressed with this statement. He said, "Like this?" and He formed dirt into the shape of a sheep and breathed life into it and it came alive and was a regular sheep. Excited to show they could do the same, the biologists began gathering dirt and God quipped, "Hey, use your own dirt."

  31. says

    @Muriel, you know what is funny with that line of thinking. You know how some people want to play games and you are supposed to read their mind and guess what they want? They will be like "I really wanted to stop for ice cream, why didn't you ask?" "Well, you didn't say anything about ice cream." "Oh, you should know better". And they get upset that you didn't just 'know'. And this is the adolescent level of maturity that theists seem to imply that their god operates at. That I am supposed to guess what he wants because he is going to refuse to reveal himself to me and then after I fail to guess correctly he is going to torture me forever? (sounds more like a petty spouse then and omnipotent supreme being) It always amazes me how often the christian god seem to have the temperament of angst ridden teenager.

  32. says

    If someone claims to have been sent by God. here's the way to tell: think of some obscure decimal number (like 62.385) and ask them to tell you what it is. They know someone almighty, after all.

  33. Martin says

    jsfenno: Acutally, cosmologists are not even sure that the concept of time as we understand it is applicable to conditions prior to the Big Bang. So this whole issue of "infinite amount of time" may not be an issue at all.But your problem is that isn't it just as absurd to assert that a God has existed for an infinite amount of time? What's your basis for being resistant to the notion of an always-existing universe, but okay with the idea of an always-existing God? Apart from simply inventing a new thing that cannot be observed or investigated and therefore applying the special pleading fallacy to it?

  34. says

    jsfenno said"The only case that logically makes sense is that the universe had a beginning."That is just an argument from your own personal incredulity (and ignorance). Be honest and admit, like everyone else, that you don't know what (if anything) existed before the current configuration of the universe.jsfenno then said"Further, without an uncaused cause, you only get infinite regression, which we all know is a fallacy.So I ask again, "What is this uncaused cause?"How does your god get out of this alleged fallacy; what caused your god? Shove that in your premise and smoke it.(BTW saying your god always existed is begging the question)

  35. says

    What I find strange about first cause arguments is that the theist or deist or whatever using it always equates first cause with God (i.e. sentient, conscious about the universe it is about toc reate, etc). People here explained pretty well that there might NOT even BE a first cause, but even IF there was, for argument's sake, why should it be complex, conscious and have any kind of intention about its creation? Why should it has any attributes given to a hypothetical god? It could be something simple, unconscious and devoid of even the shadow of an atom of intention. Hey, maybe the one true god is Azathoth.

  36. Martin says

    Guillaume, that pretty much nails the basic flaw in the thinking behind pretty much all of the currently popular presuppositional arguments for God (TAG, Kalam, etc.). These arguments beg the question by assuming the necessity of the Christian God, specifically, in their very premises. And any argument that draws a conclusion from foundational premises that have themselves not yet been demonstrated to be true is pretty much an exercise in fail.

  37. says

    The point needs to be made (since we've come this far without anybody doing so as far as I can see) that "anything that has a beginning has to have a cause" is also a premise unsupported by evidence, at least when it comes to ex nihilo creation (which violates the First Law of Thermodynamics). We observe things beginning to exist only as a result of other things changing their properties. Pencils began as trees and unrefined graphite, and mountains began as unfolded crust or as magma in the earth, but we never witness the creation or formation of mountains or pencils from nothing.I quoted Hume's _Dialogues_ earlier, and he also spends a little bit of time on this argument (or one like it, but maybe somewhat more sophisticated) in Part IX of the _Dialogues_. His _Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding_ (notably Section IV) also applies here in demolishing the reliability of our entire reasoning based on causality.

  38. monkeybone1029 says

    As somebody who spends a lot of time on YouTube, I can understand how easy it is to get sucked into that world as if it were real. It can be a good forum for the healthy exchange of ideas, but it shouldn't be taken any more seriously than that. Remember that any apologist who originates from YouTube is a spurious individual at best. If all they do is make videos, they're not worth spending too much time on.Well, said.

  39. says

    "And changing is what we do as we live our lives. Now, where did the potential for change come from? Did you create your own potential to cross the street if you wanted to? Do you, "…move that energy… into [yourself]?""I was possibly going to write a long explanation on how incredibly wrong and ignorant you are, but let's be honest, it's a waste of mine time since you really don't care. Instead I'm moving to coin the term "jsfenno paradox"A Jsfenno paradox is when someone does something so stupid, they have to become smarter to realize how stupid it wasLet me put it this way, in order for me to explain to you HOW stupid what you said was, I would have to educate you in multiple fields. I'd have to get you to understand basic physics, chemistry and biology. You claim to get the second law, but clearly you do not. I know eight year olds that have a better grasp on reality. Do you know why you get drowzy and your tummy hurts when you don't get your afternoon sippy and fruit snack?

  40. says

    If you're interested in some good physics about the origin of the universe, I'd highly recommend looking up Lawrence Krauss' talk at Atheist Alliance International 2009.For those not wanting to watch the full hour of the talk, here's the summary:It looks very much like the total energy of the universe is zero. Now, zero total energy doesn't necessarily mean "nothing" in the strictest sense, but it certainly makes it a lot easier to make a universe like ours.Now, I know what (some of) you are thinking: Why did that nothing turn in to this nothing? That's a good question. So far as I know, there isn't a well tested theory available. But I can tell you that there are people working to fix that.

  41. says

    jsfenno: If the universe does not have a beginning, the only other case would be that it has existed for an infinite amount of time.Wrongo. According to our best understanding, time is a feature of the universe. It's a dimension, similar to length and depth. As far as we're concerned, time began at the point of the Big Bang, when the universe began expanding. It may be completely nonsensical to say "began to exist" or "before the Big Bang," just as it's nonsensical to say "north of the North Pole." As far as the universe is concerned, there isn't anything that begins to exist. All the energy and matter in the universe has existed from the very beginning, and has just changed forms. Darn that pesky First Law of Thermodynamics. Further, without an uncaused cause, you only get infinite regression, which we all know is a fallacy.So I ask again, "What is this uncaused cause?"There are lots of uncaused things. Vacuum fluctuation is uncaused, nuclear decay is uncaused. The matter and energy that make up the universe could be similarly uncaused. If there is a cause for the matter and energy that make up the universe, there's no way of determining what it is. And, of course, all your arguments about the universe apply equally to the God you believe in: what caused it? When did it begin to exist? If it didn't begin to exist, then it must have existed for an infinite amount of time before it decided to create the universe, and so forth. Claiming "Goddidit" doesn't solve any of those problems, just moves them back a step.However, the point that was missed is that we do not continue to remain in existence by our own power. If you put a cat in a box and seal it, even though you cannot see it, the cat still exists in this realm. You cannot destroy it, or the energy that it contains, you can only change it.Wow. That's…bizarre. Are you actually claiming that the only reason anything continues to exist when you're not looking at it is because God is? Now, where did the potential for change come from? Did you create your own potential to cross the street if you wanted to? Do you, "…move that energy… into [yourself]?"What does that even mean? Yes, I move the energy that allows me to cross streets into myself. It's called "eating." I do it several times a day. A joke for illustration: God.Seriously, though, if your God exists, provide some evidence. If you have no evidence, then your claims are idle speculation. Guillaume: Yeah, there are plenty of hypotheses as to the origins of the universe which don't require any supernatural or intelligent causes: Collisions between branes in M-space, new universes spawning from black holes in other universes, and so forth. They're all completely speculative, but unlike "Goddidit," there's at least some mathematical foundation.

  42. says

    Well said, Matt!We all know Shock's question is nonsense. But I still get so frustrated!! In one video, he asks the radio hosts to answer the question, and when they try to show him that the question is flawed, he just badgers them with, "Answer the question! Where's the proof and evidence? Answer the question!" Grrr! Like asking, "Have you stopped beating your wife?" Saying "Yes" is wrong. "No" is wrong. And saying nothing is wrong.I gotta lie down…

  43. says

    fcoffeehouse = jsfennoI have already given the evidence for why the universe cannot be 'always existing'. The problem is time. We exist in a universe that includes time. The universe cannot be 'always existing' because an infinite amount of time would never come to pass and today would never happen. So, the universe must have had a beginning. Another way to say it is, "the universe is contingent." Because the universe has a beginning, the universe is contingent upon a cause. Without something to cause the universe, it would never have come to be. That being said, an effect cannot be greater than its cause. Therefore, whatever, or whoever if you prefer, caused the universe to begin must be greater, or more powerful, than the universe. Also, that cause would have to be part of a different system in order to create an effect. So, the cause is outside of, and different than, the universe. Now, whatever cause that is outside the universe could have a cause, and so on. Eventually though, you have to accept the idea of an Ultimate Cause, without it, you have the afore mentioned infinite regression. That is why the universe has not always existed, and why the Uncaused Cause is the remedy to infinite regression of causes. May I note that I have not mentioned, nor supported, any religion. I am only using the laws of logic and I am using basic level physical science. By the way, whatever cause effected the universe cannot escape the three laws of logic. Put that in your premise and smoke it.

  44. says

    Ing said:"Instead I'm moving to coin the term "jsfenno paradox"A Jsfenno paradox is when someone does something so stupid, they have to become smarter to realize how stupid it was" jsfenno says: "That does not fit the definition of a paradox." I refuse to engage insults.However, in response, I will bring up a major problem that occurred in philosophy a thousand years ago, give or take. The problem was Monism v. Pluralism. If the universe is 'always existing', then everything in it is 'always existing' and nothing would be different from other things within the system. You would not be any different from a chair, or Hitler, or Mother Teresa. This clearly did not make sense but it took a long time before anyone offered a solution. The solution to the argument was Potency and Actuality. It is the different levels of actuality, or 'potential realized', that differentiates things and beings from other beings. The universe cannot change without the potential for change to exist in the first place."The greatest enemy of truth is foolish faith in authority"- Albert Einstein

  45. says

    The only things we know of (other than the universe itself) that "come to exist" are particles resulting from quantum uncertainty, and these have no cause – they are completely uncaused. So the statement that "the universe must have a cause because that's how things behave in the world we see" is exactly backwards.Jonathon wrote:"I have already given the evidence for why the universe cannot be 'always existing'. The problem is time. We exist in a universe that includes time. The universe cannot be 'always existing' because an infinite amount of time would never come to pass and today would never happen."That's not logical. There's no philosophical problem with a universe that has always existed. Time existing infinitely far into the past is no more a problem than time existing infinitely far into the future.I think where you went wrong is that you're assuming that if the universe always existed, that is the same as saying it had a beginning, but the beginning was infinitely long ago. That's not it – a universe that has always existed would simply have NO beginning. Not a problem.

  46. says

    My long response to the loon was eaten by google. No biggie as he wouldn've learned anythingthe reader's digest versiona) He doesn't understand infinity, the arguement that infinite time can't exist is the same as saying we can't move due to Zeno's paradox. Take a computer program that just does (nx=nx-1+1) ie it just adds 1 to the last number of a series. It will go on for infinity without end…but that doesn't mean it WONT reach 200586. In fact it will and then go on. That's what infinity is. EVERY number still exists on the number line. You don't understand math.b) He takes for granted time as an inherent constant property, when you know…it's not. He quotes Einstein but doesn't understand him. c) Monoism: ok so you go to an ancient source of philosophy because you can't find real science to back you up? And you call me authoritarian? The difference between you and a table is the configuration of the energy/matter. The energy/matter has always existed it just CHANGES FORM. Net-Zero energy does not mean things are static. Things constantly change form as they waver between low energy and high entropy. You don't understand chemistry or physicsAll we can say about a "start" of the universe is the start of the form we observe which we trace to Plank time. Anything before we lack the tools currently to determine what state the energy/matter was in. It may not have existed, it may have been another universe, it may have been a form of 'stuff' that we can't imagine.

  47. says

    Curt Cameron said:"…a universe that has always existed would simply have NO beginning. Not a problem."Someone answer this question and then comment on why or why not they would support their answer:How long would it take for an infinite amount of time to pass?Curt Cameron said:There are lots of uncaused things. Vacuum fluctuation is uncaused, nuclear decay is uncaused. The matter and energy that make up the universe could be similarly uncaused. If there is a cause for the matter and energy that make up the universe, there's no way of determining what it is. Just because no one knows what caused these things, especially things observed in quantum physics, does not mean they are uncaused. It only means no one knows. Further, the goal of science is to learn the nature of the universe and thus learning, or determining, the nature of what caused the universe.Tom Foss said:"As far as the universe is concerned, there isn't anything that begins to exist. All the energy and matter in the universe has existed from the very beginning, and has just changed forms. Darn that pesky First Law of Thermodynamics."The first two sentences of that excerpt contradict each other.What about the second Law of Thermodynamics? If the universe has always existed, everything would have balanced out to the same temperature long ago.Yes, I move the energy that allows me to cross streets into myself. It's called "eating." I do it several times a day.Tom Foss is committing one of the most common mistakes, not asking the next question. Where did the energy in your food come from? Take it far enough and you either commit the too mentioned infinite regression or you realize there must be an ultimate cause. An uncaused cause.

  48. says

    Excellent post! @Muriel, the problem with your line of reasoning is that it is not biblical. God wants for all men to be saved. (1 Timothy 2:4)If someone is working in the spirit, and had enough faith, praying that Matt be saved (Matthew 7:7; Matthew 17:20)then it should be done.In addition, I would not contend that satan is stronger, but that you are implying that Matt's will is stronger then God's. BTW – please show me were 'free will' is promoted in the bible.

  49. says

    @ MurielHere is my argument in logical form if you wish to argument against it:1. Godwants everyone to be saved and believe in Him.2. God possesses the attributes of the Big 4 O's (omniscient, omnibenevolent, omnipotent, and omnipresent).3. Therefore, there is nothing to impede God in achieving this goal.4. Yet, nonbelief persists.5. Therefore, either 1 or 2 is not true, God does not wish for everyone to be saved and/or he does not have the Big 4 Os or does not exist at all.If God contains the Big 4 O’s then there would be nothing to stop him from achieving this goal (including the Free Will Defense/red herring). In other words, he would be able to meet every person where they are at and do this in such a manner which does not interfere with their “free will.” Is the supposed sinful nature or human will really more mighty then God?

  50. says

    "Yes, I move the energy that allows me to cross streets into myself. It's called "eating." I do it several times a day.Tom Foss is committing one of the most common mistakes, not asking the next question. Where did the energy in your food come from? Take it far enough and you either commit the too mentioned infinite regression or you realize there must be an ultimate cause. An uncaused cause. "Claiming a special exception does NOT solve the problem. Again an infinite regress is one possibility. A number line is still useful despite it going off to infinity in both directions.

  51. says

    "The first two sentences of that excerpt contradict each other.What about the second Law of Thermodynamics? If the universe has always existed, everything would have balanced out to the same temperature long ago."No, you're insanely wrong about the physics. Also look up our inevitable future of 'heat death'.

  52. says

    Jonathon wrote:"How long would it take for an infinite amount of time to pass?"Uhh, I think that would be an infinite amount of time. Why? Do you somehow think that makes an infinitely old universe impossible? Why? It doesn't.Let's look at it a different way. If someone said that he thinks time will last infinitely far into the future, and another person said that was impossible because in that case, the end of the universe would be infinitely far away and we could never get there, what would you say? Would you think that's a valid point? I hope not, because it's not valid. If the universe doesn't end, that doesn't mean that it has an end that's infinitely far into the future; it means it simply never ends.Similarly, if the universe has always existed, there was no beginning. Every moment in time would have a time that was one second earlier.I hope that explains it to you."ust because no one knows what caused these things, especially things observed in quantum physics, does not mean they are uncaused. It only means no one knows."Actually, in the case of quantum mechanics, the idea that there is some other underlying cause has been disproved. Quantum events really are uncaused.

  53. says

    By his argument we can't count to ten since there are infinite numbers of negative and positive numbers.

  54. says

    I have already given the evidence for why the universe cannot be 'always existing'. The problem is time. We exist in a universe that includes time.Yes, we exist in a universe that includes time. Time does not include the universe. Time is a feature of the universe. As far as we understand, time began when the universe began. With our current understanding, it makes no more sense to ask "what happened before the big bang" than to ask "what's north of the north pole."There is no infinite time problem because time does not stretch infinitely far into the past. As far as the universe is concerned, time began when the universe started expanding. That being said, an effect cannot be greater than its cause.This phrase is meaningless and unsupported. Curt Cameron said:Actually, I said that bit. Just because no one knows what caused these things, especially things observed in quantum physics, does not mean they are uncaused. It only means no one knows.You misunderstand. It's not that we don't know what causes these strange events at the quantum level, it's that they are, in fact, uncaused. They are probabilistic events which do not conform to conventional mechanics. Vacuum fluctuations occur spontaneously and without cause due to the nature of the universe at the quantum level. The same is true of nuclear decay; we can model how a sample of some radioactive material will decay because it works probabilistically, but you can't know when any individual nucleus will decay. It occurs spontaneously and without cause. Not "we don't know the cause," but "we know that it is not caused." The universe gets weirder the smaller you get. Further, the goal of science is to learn the nature of the universe and thus learning, or determining, the nature of what caused the universe.If such a cause occurred, it is currently beyond the realm of anything except speculation. With our current understanding, there is no reason to suspect that the matter and energy which makes up the universe was ever not in existence. The first two sentences of that excerpt contradict each other.Only if you fail at reading and know nothing about cosmology. Congratulations.Wind the clock back far enough, and all the matter and energy and space and time of the universe is compressed into a single point, a singularity. Without a unified field theory, our models break down at the singularity. There is very little we can say about it, and what we can say is drawn from the mathematical and physical models. Time began for this universe at the same time that the universe began expanding–the beginning of the universe in its current form. At that time, and even at the singularity point, all the matter, space, and energy which makes up the universe already existed. As far as we know, there is no "before," and the questions "what came before" or "how did that come about" are nonsensical.

  55. says

    Regardless, any answer given for those as-yet-nonsensical questions is pure speculation, until we develop a unified field theory. What about the second Law of Thermodynamics? If the universe has always existed, everything would have balanced out to the same temperature long ago.Why? Long ago, the universe was smaller, and so things were hotter and closer together. The expansion of the universe has allowed things to cool off. There won't be a uniform temperature until the universe is large enough to accommodate that sort of thing and the protons have all decayed, some 10^90-odd years from now. Tom Foss is committing one of the most common mistakes, not asking the next question. Where did the energy in your food come from? Take it far enough and you either commit the too mentioned infinite regression or you realize there must be an ultimate cause. An uncaused cause.The energy in my food came, one way or another, from the sun. The energy in the sun came from the nuclear fusion of Hydrogen and other elements. The hydrogen and other elements came from the earlier-generation suns, which in turn came from regions of particles in the expanding universe that clustered together due to gravitational forces, until they could begin fusion. The initial particles came from the period where the universe had expanded enough to cool off enough to allow stable atoms to form from the hot plasma slurry of the early universe. The hot plasma slurry came from the even hotter and even smaller pocket of energy and particles and fundamental forces that had existed since the Planck time. At about 10^-43 seconds after the universe began expanding, however, our current physical models break down. The best understanding suggests that the energy and space and nascent matter were compressed into a singularity, but that's an incomplete understanding. We can question where the singularity came from, whether or not it was created, and so forth, but we can't answer those questions with any certainty until we develop a theory which unifies the fundamental forces. Until then, whatever anyone says happened is complete speculation, and there's no reason to believe that there was anything–including time–before the point that the universe began expanding. If you want to call this an "uncaused cause," fine. Go right ahead. You're speculating just as much as anyone else. But there is no reason to suggest that the universe itself is not the "uncaused cause," having developed out of something similar to vacuum fluctuations, for instance. Alternately, it's possible that in the larger hypothetical meta-universe that there is an actual infinite regress of universes branching out of other universes, which isn't a violation of your "infinite time" paradox since time would be a separate dimension in each universe, beginning in each one at the point that universe began expanding.But again, pure speculation. The only honest answer to "what caused the universe" or "where did the matter, energy, and space come from" or even "does it make sense to ask where the universe came from" is "I don't know." But we're working on it.

  56. says

    Jonathon, if you're actually interested in finding out more about cosmology, you might head out to your local library and pick up a copy of Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time. It's a heady book, but you don't have to read far: he explains what we've been trying to tell you on Page 9. And again forty pages later.

  57. says

    @J Roc: I tend to agree with you. Still, each Christian I have talked about this topic before uses roughly the same argument. Of course, once you accept the premise that god is all-loving etc. but that no human mind can ever understand him, then your arguments don't apply any more. Of course, those premises are contradictory, but when have Christans every considered that to be a problem?

  58. says

    @ MurielIn response to what you stated as the common retort by Christians: "no human mind can ever understand him"True, but then no argument or any amount of logic will make a difference. If God is nonsensical or absurd why argue for him? One should automatically forfeit before the debate begins. The problem is Christians don’t really think or act this way. If they did then there would be no apologetics, no debates. Human beings are rational creatures and Christians are human beings. Christians use reason, albeit, many times it is poor. And this is the true reasoning for pulling this card, the uncovering of such fallacious logic.This unknown purpose / human finiteness card is a dishonest tactical move. It is pulled out when a person is in the corner and is at a loss. It is simply a cop-out, a red herring, and a method to concede without actually admitting defeat. It does not change the fact that their argument is logically flawed. It anything it supports this conclusion.IMO The intellectually honest thing for a person to do is admit the contradiction. Whether they believe it or not, is not the point. It is the acceptance of the logical.

  59. says

    Tom Foss said:"There is no infinite time problem because time does not stretch infinitely far into the past. As far as the universe is concerned, time began when the universe started expanding. "Thank you, I agree fully. Time began when the universe started expanding. Even if a previous universe existed first and the singularity that caused our big bang was, in fact, the result of the collapse of the former universe, and the former universe had a big bang similar to ours that was a universe former to it, and so on and so forth, is it "[universes] all the way down?"

  60. says

    Wait, you agree that time began when the universe started expanding, yet you persist in talking about what happened beforehand? My brain hurts.

  61. says

    "Roger Penrose and I showed that Einstein’s general theory of relativity implied that the universe must have a beginning and, possibly, an end."-Steven Hawking, A Brief History of Time

  62. says

    Wow, Jonathon. Way to quote-mine something that doesn't support your point in the slightest. Yes, the universe (in its current form) had a beginning, and will have an end (sort of). This is in opposition to the steady-state model of the universe promoted by Einstein (and adhered-to by Christians since before Copernicus). Your other point: Time began when the universe started expanding. Even if a previous universe existed first and the singularity that caused our big bang was, in fact, the result of the collapse of the former universe, and the former universe had a big bang similar to ours that was a universe former to it, and so on and so forth, is it "[universes] all the way down?"No. You say you "agree," and then you don't seem to understand what you're agreeing to. If time begins when the universe begins expanding, there is no before. The term "before" implies a linear progression of events–the very definition of "time." There can be no "before the expansion," just as there could (according to current incomplete models) be no passage of time in the singularity. It's not "universes all the way down" it's "one universe all the way back to the Planck time, and before that we can't say." And neither can you. I realize it's hard to wrap your head around, since it's so counterintuitive, but please give it a try: you can't have cause and effect before time begins. If we were to posit additional universes, by the by, we'd have to extrapolate from the one example of a universe that we already have. As elegant and simple as I think the oscillating universe model is (big bang followed by big crunch followed by big bang, and so forth), it looks like that's not the case in our universe. Our universe will, as far as we can tell, continue expanding forever, until heat-death renders everything eternally homogeneous. And even after that. So to posit a 'prior' universe which had a big crunch would require assigning characteristics to universes that we don't know they have. It would be, once again, pure speculation without any evidentiary support. Sure, it might be fun to imagine, but it's not science.

  63. says

    A theory that I had heard stated for a short time was that our universe was caused by a previous universe collapsing into a singularity, at which point all characteristics of time and physics, whatever they were for the previous universe, ceased to exist and then our universe began from a resulting explosion and that there are infinite previous universes. That does not make sense because, yes, it would not only, be speculation, but also, 'universes all the way down.' I think we, here, agree that is absurd."No. You say you "agree," and then you don't seem to understand…"The little phrase I used, "Even if a previous universe existed first and the singularity that caused our big bang was, in fact, the result of the collapse of the former universe…" addressed the idea that time did not start when universe began to expand. I was simply supporting what I agreed upon by debunking an opposing view. Sorry I confused you."It would be, once again, pure speculation without any evidentiary support."There is one speculation that can be made that has a tremendous amount of support. That is, "something caused this universe." And that is the premise I've been concentrating on this entire time. This universe is the 'result' of something.Anything that has a beginning has a cause.The universe has a beginning.Therefore, the universe has a cause.That being said, there are characteristics of this 'cause' that we can determine.

  64. says

    Things in our universe had a cause. These causes are in fact caused themselves. For example, your parents are not only your cause, but they are the effects of their parents who were the effects of their parents, and so on. But, as the non-existence of actual infinities shows, the chain of causes cannot regress forever.Thus, there must be a cause that is not an effect, an uncaused cause, or first cause.The first cause would require the ability to cause. Without this ability nothing could be caused. It would also require an intention to cause, a will to initiate the universe (or chain of events that initiate the universe). Without this will to cause, nothing would be caused. It would require a non-contingent being, one whose existence depends on nothing but itself. If it was contingent, then it would simply be one more effect in the chain of causes and effects. And it must be transcendent. The cause of the universe must be outside of and apart from the universe.Now add all these things together. What kind of thing:relies on nothing for its existence,has the power to create something from nothing,has a will to do it or not do it, andhas the characteristic of existing outside of the creation?

  65. says

    Tom Foss said:"Vacuum fluctuations occur spontaneously and without cause due to the nature of the universe at the quantum level."This statement is self defeating. In fact it is directly contradictory of itself. If vacuum fluctuations occur spontaneously and without cause, you cannot go on to say, "…due to [anything]." Revise your statement.

  66. Martin says

    Jonathan: "Now add all these things together. What kind of thing:relies on nothing for its existence,has the power to create something from nothing,has a will to do it or not do it, andhas the characteristic of existing outside of the creation?"Answer: Nothing you have a shred of evidence for.

  67. says

    Martin, that is a very opposing claim. Supporting that claim would require debunking the claim(s) that I have made; after all, I am claiming that I do have evidence.

  68. Martin says

    Oh, you do? Okay, because all I've really read from you so far are variants of the first cause argument. What's the actual evidence?

  69. says

    Martin,The evidence is the existence of the universe and the laws of logic.I have not learned of any effective counter-argument to any of the major cosmological arguments. That is why I started posting here, I thought I might be enlightened. I have heard some new things, however, they are not strong enough and sound presupposed.You say I am wrong, show me where. I am only trying to design my beliefs to that which corresponds to reality.

  70. says

    That does not make sense because, yes, it would not only, be speculation, but also, 'universes all the way down.' I think we, here, agree that is absurd.It isn't a priori absurd, but it doesn't fit the evidence. The idea of an oscillating system is, in fact, not all that farfetched. Certainly not when compared to the idea of a timeless disembodied intelligence with magic powers. There is one speculation that can be made that has a tremendous amount of support. That is, "something caused this universe."Please give that support. So far, all you've offered are baseless assertions. Why would some "thing" cause this universe, and what does it mean to say that something was "caused" before time existed? Regardless of how you go about this, you would seem to be positing the existence of some thing outside the universe which can nonetheless have some effect on the universe. This is contradictory, given that the universe is (briefly, loosely) defined as "everything that exists." Anything that has a beginning has a cause.This is a baseless assertion, and the terms "anything" and "cause" are insufficiently defined.The universe has a beginning.This statement is too vague to evaluate its accuracy.Therefore, the universe has a cause.Until you've dealt with the other two problems, this conclusion does not stand. Since you have no evidence for your first statement and your second statement is too vague to be considered true, your syllogism is clearly unsound. Thus, there must be a cause that is not an effect, an uncaused cause, or first cause.Why do I feel like I'm on a carousel? It would also require an intention to cause, a will to initiate the universe (or chain of events that initiate the universe).Why? Most causes in the universe are without intent or will. It would require a non-contingent being, one whose existence depends on nothing but itself.Why couldn't this "being" (nice loaded language there) be the universe itself?And it must be transcendent. The cause of the universe must be outside of and apart from the universe.Another bare assertion, and a contradictory one. What does it mean to be "outside the universe"? How can things outside the universe interact with the universe? Since time is a feature of the universe, how can any cause-effect relationship exist outside the universe?

  71. says

    This statement is self defeating. In fact it is directly contradictory of itself. If vacuum fluctuations occur spontaneously and without cause, you cannot go on to say, "…due to [anything]." Revise your statement.Revise my statement? Here's your revision: don't spout off like an expert on the properties of the universe when you can't even be bothered to understand the basics. The properties of the universe necessitate vacuum fluctuations, but no individual particle-antiparticle pair creation/annihilation event is caused. Similarly, the properties of radioactive elements require them to decay, but any individual nucleus's decay is uncaused. These events occur probabilistically, where we can predict the rate of decay for a given sample or the amount of vacuum energy in a given region of empty space, but there is no way to determine where a particle-antiparticle pair will appear or when any nucleus in a given sample were likely to decay. If any of these events had direct causes, predicting them would be child's play. But that's not how the universe operates on the quantum level. So to put it into simpler terms: there is a reason that these events occur, but none of those events has a cause. Martin, that is a very opposing claim. Supporting that claim would require debunking the claim(s) that I have made;No, it wouldn't. You're shifting the burden of proof: it's up to you to support the claims that you have made with evidence. You have not done so, and our knowledge of the universe contradicts at least one of your claims. So far, you've simply asserted your claims, then reasserted them repeatedly, as if saying them over and over would somehow make them true and supported. after all, I am claiming that I do have evidence.Please bring it on.c

  72. Martin says

    Jonathon: The evidence is the existence of the universe and the laws of logic.Why would either of these things require a god? You could as easily propose any imaginary being at all, and insist these things require that being's existence as well.Your problem, as I see it, is that you are working from a primacy of nonexistence metaphysics. If you instead accept existence as a causal primary, this problem goes away. "Existence exists" is not a statement that requires proof, and the laws of logic are a property of existence. Explaining these things only becomes a problem if you insist, for some reason, that there had to be a state of nonexistence prior to existence actually existing. Which seems to me to be unnecessarily complicating matters. And then the whole thing collapses into nonsense once you propose a god existing in the midst of all this nonexistence. If nothing exists but this god, precisely where does it exist, and by what process does it bring the rest of existence into existence from nonexistence? And if this god exists, wouldn't it have to adhere to the laws of logic as well? Which would mean that this god is subject to, and could not be the author of, said laws. And in order to create existence, wouldn't this god have to exist in some kind of temporal state, since creation is a causal process? So doesn't that create a huge infinite regress problem for this god? Unless you somehow come up with a list of special pleading exceptions to all these rules your god gets to enjoy, being God and all.No, you've just got a huge ontological mess to work from there. A primacy of existence metaphysics obeys Occam's Razor so much more elegantly. It makes no sense to accept the idea that at one time, existence did not exist, except for a God existing in an unknown state and an unknown location which also existed despite nothing really existing yet, who somehow made existence out of nonexistence using unknown means, for unknown reasons, while at the same time rejecting the much more parsimonious idea that existence just exists. Because this would be true even if nothing existed but your god. In order for God to exist, existence must exist. Take away existence, and your god goes away. Take away God, and existence is still here.

  73. says

    You say that everything that has a beginning must have a cause but you are pre-supposing that the cause must be a sentient magic-powered cause. A hurricane has a beginning, does it have a cause? Sure, but an entirely natural one, so why would it be so difficult to assume that the universe would have an entirely natural and non-magic powered beginning? You just assume a first cause requires a "will to cause" but a hurricane doesn't need a will to cause it. And the bit saying that time can't be infinite because you could never get to today is just some cosmological version of Zeno's Achilles and the tortoise. I suppose you will say that I couldn't overtake a turtle walking across the room either. Of course it doesn't matter if time is infinite or not because either way it would have nothing to do with a creator god since time had to exist before any god would or else there would be no place for the god to exist in.You claim god exists. Anything that exists requires a place to exist at. If it doesn't exist in the universe then it is by definition non-existent. Therefore god could not create the universe that it exists in because in order to create something god must first exist, but it cannot first exist without a place to exist.I haven't seen anything in those cosmological arguments that would stand as evidence. It is just some psuedo-logical hand waving to distract from the underlying unsupported assertions.

  74. says

    (1) Everything that had a beginning had a cause. The first premise is often taken as self-evident, since to admit otherwise would amount to the ridiculous claim that nothing produces something. Even the infamous skeptic David Hume confessed, "I never asserted so absurd a proposition as that anything might arise without a cause."(2) The universe had a beginning. The second premise is defended philosophically and scientifically.(a) An infinite number of moments cannot be traversed.(b) If there were an infinite number of moments before today, then today would never have come, since an infinite number of moments cannot be traversed.(c) But today has come.(d) Hence, there were only a finite number of moments before today (i.e., a beginning of time). And everything with a beginning had a cause. (3) Therefore, the temporal world had a cause.Scientifically defended, the universe is running out of usable energy (second law of thermodynamics), and what is running down cannot be eternal (otherwise it would have run down by now). An entity cannot run out of an infinite amount of energy.tom foss said:"So to put it into simpler terms: there is a reason that these events occur, but none of those events has a cause."Uhh… a reason is a cause. However, a scientist (a proper one at least) would have to exhaust every possible variable before making the conclusion that something is truly not caused. That would require omniscience, which no person has. ""Anything that has a beginning has a cause."This is a baseless assertion, and the terms "anything" and "cause" are insufficiently defined."Does anyone have a dictionary?""The universe has a beginning."This statement is too vague to evaluate its accuracy."The physical realm in that which we (humans) exist (in which we are) began (come into being or have its starting point at a certain time or place); before it there was nothing not even potential, then there was something.Martin, If you accept existence as a causal primary, then you are saying that existence caused everything. Just so I can confirm what I think you mean to say is that existence existed first. Then everything else? But then for existence to exist, it would have to first exist within everything it created, before it created it… That cannot be what you mean, it does not make sense. Maybe you mean that existence has always existed eternally. That the past is already infinite. But, an infinite amount of time would never end, and therefore, the past would never end and arrive at the present. That does not make any sense either. What do you mean then?P.S.- Saying that the universe has always existed is assigning magical power to the universe, which is Pantheism (God is the universe), not Atheism (No god exists at all). And who made claims about magic? I have not used that word in this forum before now. It sounds like somebody is making generalizations about me based on other people. That is much like bigotry.

  75. says

    tom foss said:"So to put it into simpler terms: there is a reason that these events occur, but none of those events has a cause."Uhh… a reason is a cause. However, a scientist (a proper one at least) would have to exhaust every possible variable before making the conclusion that something is truly not caused. That would require omniscience, which no person has. ""Anything that has a beginning has a cause."This is a baseless assertion, and the terms "anything" and "cause" are insufficiently defined."Does anyone have a dictionary?""The universe has a beginning."This statement is too vague to evaluate its accuracy."The physical realm in that which we (humans) exist (in which we are) began (come into being or have its starting point at a certain time or place); before it there was nothing not even potential, then there was something.Martin, If you accept existence as a causal primary, then you are saying that existence caused everything. Just so I can confirm what I think you mean to say is that existence existed first. Then everything else? But then for existence to exist, it would have to first exist within everything it created, before it created it… That cannot be what you mean, it does not make sense. Maybe you mean that existence has always existed eternally. That the past is already infinite. But, an infinite amount of time would never end, and therefore, the past would never end and arrive at the present. That does not make any sense either. What do you mean then?P.S.- Saying that the universe has always existed is assigning magical power to the universe, which is Pantheism (God is the universe), not Atheism (No god exists at all). And who made claims about magic? I have not used that word in this forum before now. It sounds like somebody is making generalizations about me based on other people. That is much like bigotry.

  76. says

    Martin asked Jonathon"What's the actual evidence?"Jonathon replied"The evidence is the existence of the universe and the laws of logic."Mega LOL. A restatement of the argument from look at the trees*Anyway total god of the gaps argument. We are ignorant of some the very basics of the universe, chuck god at it, you are still ignorant but think you have an answer.*trees exist, must of came from somewhere;godidit

  77. says

    Excellent, Martin. You really cut to the heart of Jonathon's unjustified assumptions. I'll definitely be using that in the future.

  78. Martin says

    Jonathon: If you accept existence as a causal primary, then you are saying that existence caused everything.Not quite, I'm simply pointing out that for anything to exist, existence must first exist. And this goes for your god, too, a point you seem to be trying to dodge.But then for existence to exist, it would have to first exist within everything it created, before it created it… That cannot be what you mean, it does not make sense.You are making the teleological mistake of anthropomorphizing existence, which is not what I am doing at all. Existence exists. That is all. It is a state. Existence does not create anything. But in order for anything to be created, existence must exist.Anyway, the irony machine is back on full here. You're essentially proposing that a god existed first within everything it created, and yet you don't seem to find that notion absurd. Sure, you're saying the God existed outside the universe, but in order for him to create the universe, God had to exist somewhere. And just where this somewhere is, and how it came into existence, is what you're not addressing.Again, why is it easy for you to accept an eternally existing God working out of some eternally existing god-realm, and hard for you simply to accept an eternally existing universe (even one that spent most of its existence in a non-temporal quantum state "prior to" the Big Bang)?And who made claims about magic? I have not used that word in this forum before now. It sounds like somebody is making generalizations about me based on other people. That is much like bigotry.Oh, don't even play that card here. Because, you know, we'll just laugh at you.That you haven't used the word "magic" doesn't change the fact that, in order to explain existence, you are positing a God that creates universes from an unknown realm outside existence, using unknown means, but which presumably involve the mere utterance of phrases like "Let the be light." Via the practice of special pleading, this God gets to be exempt from all of the ontological requirements you are putting in place for existence itself (that it must have had a cause, cannot be self-caused, etc.), though you do not explain why or how this can be. If the processes by which this god works are not magical, then please just explain their mechanics. Specifically, please explain this god's existence, the process by which he created our existence, where the realm is outside of existence from which he did all this, and how that realm came into existence, particularly if existence did not first exist in order for that realm to exist.Do all that, and we'll quit suggesting you're falling back on magical explanations.And no, to adopt a primacy of existence metaphysics does not attribute magical properties to the universe in any way. It is merely the acknowledgment that existence exists, a self-evident truth. In order for anything to exist, including a god, existence must exist. If you can describe a situation in which something can exist without existence first existing, I'll happily consider myself refuted.Even the infamous skeptic David Hume confessed, "I never asserted so absurd a proposition as that anything might arise without a cause."Which is exactly what you're claiming about your god, so I'm frankly baffled as to why you're bringing up Hume as if he supports your position. (And anyway, Hume lived at a time before quantum mechanics was ever heard of, so he would not have known of uncaused quantum events.)

  79. says

    Martin: "Not quite, I'm simply pointing out that for anything to exist, existence must first exist. And this goes for your god, too, a point you seem to be trying to dodge."I am simply pointing out that for anything to exist, a cause must first exist. And this goes for your universe too, a point you seem to be trying to dodge.The universe is either temporal or eternal. It cannot be both. That would violate logic (law of noncontradiction). You seem to be claiming that the universe is both temporal and eternal. If the universe is temporal, then it is possible for it to not exist (many people talk about the end). If it can not exist, then it is contingent for its existence, since the mere possibility of existence does not explain why something exists. What is it then contingent on?God is both the source and cause of the universe. He is existence, pure essence. I think people anthropomorphize God, giving him the limited actuality that man has. This is probably due to the Bible using a limited language to describe an unlimited God; especially a common misunderstanding about the phrase, "…made man in His image." He also made the universe in His image. The more science discovers, the more of that image we have.

  80. says

    If the universe is eternal, then: (a) it is an Uncaused Cause and therefore is God or (b) it would demonstrate that there exists beyond the contingent world of limited spatio-temporality a whole reality that is eternal, unlimited, and necessary. Thus, either supporting Pantheism, or Theism. That is why the universe is the evidence.Martin:"Sure, you're saying [that] God existed outside the universe, but in order for him to create the universe, God had to exist somewhere. And just where this somewhere is, and how it came into existence, is what you're not addressing."I'll address it here. Yes, I agree that God must first be to create the universe thereafter. As far as his location, it was outside the universe; in other words, beyond. So he was beyond the universe (metaphysical). That is all we can know. It is similar to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principal; quanta cannot be measured absolutely. However, their location can be measured to a certain degree (by determining where they are not), which is still very meaningful.Again, if the direct cause of the universe was caused itself, then at whatever point the regression stops (because, logically, it must), that is God. 'God' is a word. Words describe things.Martin:"If the processes by which this god works are not magical, then please just explain their mechanics."Science is hard at work determining how to explain the mechanics. And miracles do not contradict the laws of physics; they simply add to the physical system.

  81. says

    Martin: "Even the infamous skeptic David Hume confessed, "I never asserted so absurd a proposition as that anything might arise without a cause."Which is exactly what you're claiming about your god, so I'm frankly baffled as to why you're bringing up Hume as if he supports your position."I am not claiming that God arose at all. Rather, I am claiming that He is eternal. The premise is:Anything that has a beginning, has a cause.I am claiming that God has always been and the universe has not. You (seem to) think that the universe has always been; contrastingly, I am claiming that the universe had a beginning, therefore has not always been and that the universe is contingent on something that has always been.

  82. says

    The first premise is often taken as self-evident, since to admit otherwise would amount to the ridiculous claim that nothing produces something. Even the infamous skeptic David Hume confessed, "I never asserted so absurd a proposition as that anything might arise without a cause."David Hume died in 1776. Shockingly, we've learned things about the universe which contradict the self-evidence of that first premise.However, unless the premise is true by definition, "self-evident" is not enough for soundness. You need to support it with evidence, or at the very least define your terms. What do you mean by "everything" and "beginning"? What constitutes a "cause"?The second premise is defended philosophically and scientifically.Only for certain definitions of "universe" and "beginning." Hence, there were only a finite number of moments before today (i.e., a beginning of time). And everything with a beginning had a cause.This is a contradiction. In order to cause something to occur, there must exist the capacity for one event to follow another event, which is a decent working definition of time. In other words, in order for a cause-effect relationship to exist, time must already exist. Therefore, time cannot have both a beginning and a cause. Revise your statement. Uhh… a reason is a cause.No. The reason that you can knock a billiard ball into a pocket is because the properties of matter are such that solid objects interact in such a way that one can transfer momentum to another with no net loss of momentum. The cause of the billiard ball entering the pocket is you hitting it with another billiard ball. These are not the same thing. A cause is an event which precedes another event, the latter being a consequent of the first. In the two examples I provided, there is only a single event, no event preceding it. The properties of the universe do not constitute an "event."However, a scientist (a proper one at least) would have to exhaust every possible variable before making the conclusion that something is truly not caused. That would require omniscience, which no person has.This would be true…if not for that whole principle of non-contradiction. Properties of the universe–specifically, the uncertainty principle, but also other properties of the quantum world–make it mathematically impossible for these events to be caused. And that math has, so far, been validated by all observation. It is possible that the models are incorrect; we can't base science or philosophy on possible future knowledge. Given the current understanding of the universe, and the overwhelming evidence from particle phyics, the premise that there are no uncaused events is unsound. Does anyone have a dictionary?A dictionary doesn't tell me what you mean by those terms. For someone who is so into philosophical arguments, I'd think you'd understand that words can mean many things, and definitions must be pinned down very precisely if we are to make valid, sound arguments using them.

  83. says

    The physical realm in that which we (humans) exist (in which we are) began (come into being or have its starting point at a certain time or place); before it there was nothing not even potential, then there was something.This is an unsupported assertion. Please provide your evidence that there must have been "nothing" before there was "something." From all available evidence and experience, we have no reason to think that "nothing" is even a possible state of existence. This also returns to the problem of time. In order for "before" to be a meaningful term, time must already exist. Time is a feature of the universe in its current form; there is no reason to suspect that time existed before the physical universe, any more than we would suspect that length and width did. If time predates the universe (which is necessary for a "before" the universe), then either the universe must have already existed, which is a contradiction, or time must be uncaused and infinite, which you claim is an absurdity. But then for existence to exist, it would have to first exist within everything it created, before it created it…Where is this "creation" coming from? The universe existed, and as spacetime changed, so too did the matter and energy contained within it (spacetime, matter, and energy being the whole set of "existence"). There is no "creation," just changes in response to the properties of the universe as it changed. And who made claims about magic? I have not used that word in this forum before now. It sounds like somebody is making generalizations about me based on other people. That is much like bigotry.You claim that there must have once existed an intelligent agent able to create things out of "nothing" ("nothing" being a contradictory concept, if this intelligent agent existed. By any reasonable definition, that agent must be considered "something" and according to your claim, it existed, contradicting the notion that there was ever "nothing not even potential"), to exist outside of existence, and to act temporally supposedly before the existence of time. I (and others) see such abilities to defy basic principles of logic as no different from magic. I am simply pointing out that for anything to exist, a cause must first exist.No. In addition to the reasons explained above, in order for a cause to exist, existence must exist. If there is no such thing as existence, then no cause can exist. The universe is either temporal or eternal. It cannot be both.Which one is God? If God is temporal, it must have been created. If God is eternal, then an infinite amount of time must have passed for him before he created the universe, and the same problem of actual infinities exists.

  84. says

    If the universe is temporal, then it is possible for it to not exist (many people talk about the end).When scientists discuss the end of the universe, they do not mean that it will no longer exist. As far as we can tell, the universe will continue to exist for an actual infinite amount of time into the future. However, after a certain point (about 10^90 years from now, or so) all the protons will have decayed and all the usable energy in the universe will have been exhausted and turned into waste heat, such that space is all the same temperature and there is no movement of energy from a colder region to a warmer one. Also, the universe will have expanded so large that the clusters of exhausted matter will be so far from one another that they may as well not exist to each other. After this point, the universe will still exist, but nothing of any significance will happen ever again. Some scientists have glibly stated that this means the universe will become terminally boring. But as far as we know, the universe will never not exist, and the properties of the universe as we understand them (specifically the first law of thermodynamics) prohibit nonexistence. If it can not exist, then it is contingent for its existence, since the mere possibility of existence does not explain why something exists.That a thing exists is self-evident. Why must it be explained? Again, you're assuming that nonexistence is both possible and more likely than existence, and you have no reason to make that assumption. God is both the source and cause of the universe. He is existence, pure essence.Please show your evidence to support this assertion. Also, this contradicts your claim that nothing existed (and, in fact, supports Martin's point). If you claim that God is existence, and that God existed before the universe, then there was not "nothing not even potential" before the universe, and existence existed prior to anything else. Since, as you claim, the mere possibility of existence doesn't explain why something exists, then please explain why God exists.

  85. says

    If the universe is eternal, then: (a) it is an Uncaused Cause and therefore is GodOnly if you define "God" as "the Uncaused Cause." You appended a number of unjustified and unsupported features to this Uncaused Cause, which I think is why you think this is a problem. Even if we accept your basic cosmological argument, there is no reason to accept the features you have stuck on God, nor is there reason to think that the universe itself is not the Uncaused Cause. (b) it would demonstrate that there exists beyond the contingent world of limited spatio-temporality a whole reality that is eternal, unlimited, and necessary.Please provide evidence for this assertion. The existence of the universe is only evidence for the existence of the universe. It cannot be evidence for the existence of some outside meta-universe, since we (by definition) have no way of receiving any evidence of anything from outside the universe. However, their location can be measured to a certain degree (by determining where they are not), which is still very meaningful.This is a misunderstanding of the Uncertainty Principle, which states (in part) that there are certain quantities which cannot both be measured to an arbitrary degree of certainty. For instance, the more accurately I measure the position of a particle, the more uncertainty I must have regarding its velocity (in part because the act of measuring changes the particle in nontrivial ways at the quantum level). "Determining where a particle is not" is not really a significant component of particle physics (however, there is some value to determining where a particle is capable of being, which is how we define electron orbital shells). Words describe things…miracles do not contradict the laws of physicsThis is why definitions are important. See, last I checked, miracle meant "an event that is contrary to the established laws of nature and attributed to a supernatural cause."

  86. says

    " am not claiming that God arose at all. Rather, I am claiming that He is eternal. The premise is:Anything that has a beginning, has a cause.I am claiming that God has always been and the universe has not."Proof? Or bare assertion/special pleading 2 in 1 fallacy?As faux news says: You decide.

  87. says

    Jonathon,I find it very curious that so far the person who has most effectively argued that you are wrong and more importantly explains very carefully why exactly you are wrong is being consistently ignored by you. Tom foss has asked you many pertinent questions which you refuse to answer. Could it be that you don't understand him? or is it simply that you are refusing to respond to him because he is showing very clearly why you are wrong and you simply are unwilling to admit it?Tom foss has very carefully and respectfully answered all your claims. he has from his fist post explained why an uncaused cause is actually possible. he has explained how time works and what it is. but you blithely ignore this and keep on coming up with the same arguments over and over again. If you believe that repeating something often enough will convince anyone on this blog, you are clearly on the wrong blog. so why not answer Tom foss for a change?

  88. says

    To answer Frits,I must admit that Tom Foss is the first place I have ever heard of two things: (a) Vacuum Fluctuations, and (b) mathematically proven uncaused particles. I have not made comments because I am not ready. I am currently researching said things. Maybe Tom Foss could direct me to a reputable source for these mathematics. Because as far as I understand 0+0 does not equal >0.

  89. says

    However, unless the premise is true by definition, "self-evident" is not enough for soundness. You need to support it with evidence, or at the very least define your terms. What do you mean by "everything" and "beginning"? What constitutes a "cause"?'Everything' meaning all matter and events included within our 4D universe. 'Beginning' meaning the first moment that time came into being. 'Cause' meaning that which is previous, or simultaneous, to a corresponding consequence and not necessarily limited to our 4D universe.

  90. says

    Maybe Tom Foss could direct me to a reputable source for these mathematics.The Wikipedia article on vacuum energy is a good place to start. It's a little heady, but there's no shallow end to quantum physics. One of the big bottom lines about Quantum Physics is that your conventional ideas about reality are based on the macroscopic worlds, and even things that you think are immutable rules aren't necessarily true. A photon is both a particle and a wave simultaneously, a single photon can be in two places at the same time, state changes (but not information) can be apparently transmitted instantaneously (i.e., faster than the speed of light), and so forth. Maybe Tom Foss could direct me to a reputable source for these mathematics. Because as far as I understand 0+0 does not equal >0.You're actually closer than you know, there. Vacuum energy is the result of the spontaneous appearance and subsequent annihilation of virtual particle-antiparticle pairs ("virtual" because they exist only for limited time and position). Because these particles always appear in pairs with opposite properties, the sum works out to be zero. So, to use a crude example, in some region of space a vacuum fluctuation event occurs and an electron (a particle with a charge of -1) and a positron (an antiparticle with a charge of +1) appear. They exist for some short time, then collide with one another, annihilating. The sum of their charges (and other quantum numbers) is -1+1, or 0. One possible result from this collision is annihilation, where a number of other subatomic particles may be generated (particle colliders like Cern's LHC and the Tevatron at Fermilab do precisely this under controlled collisions). These particles must adhere to three rules: conservation of momentum, conservation of quantum number, and conservation of energy. What this means is that the total sum of the momentum of all the particles and antiparticles generated in an annihilation event must be zero (for instance, two particles with the same mass traveling in opposite directions) the sum total of all the quantum numbers of all the particles must be zero (for instance, a particle with an electric charge of +1 and another with charge -1), and the sum total energy of all the particles in the set must equal zero (similar to momentum, since mass and energy are interchangeable, as per Einsteinian relativity). So your absolutely right, 0 cannot equal anything but 0. What happens is that 0 ends up equalling a set of numbers that, when added together, also equal zero. Incidentally, some math suggests that this is also true for the universe. If one added up all the positive and negative energy in the universe (keeping in mind the equivalence of mass and energy), it's within the error bars of being equal to zero. There are cosmological models which take advantage of this, proposing that the entire universe is like a large-scale vacuum fluctuation in some meta-space, but as with all such hypotheses, it is still at the level of pure speculation.Jonathon, I really appreciate that you're actually trying to learn about this. Quantum physics is very weird, very technical, and very unintuitive, but it's also very well-established. It's no longer surprising to physicists to see our base assumptions about the universe turned upside-down at the quantum level. Thanks for the compliment, Frits.

  91. says

    So let me restate, the universe had a beginning. Actual infinities, as opposed to potential infinities (i.e., a clock that will never stop ticking will go on infinitely, however never reach a state of having counted an infinite number of seconds because there will always be one more) cannot happen within our universe. I reject the idea of the possibility of a singularity having an infinite amount of mass or energy because the volume of a singularity is finite (actually, it's 0). The universe began at a volume >0. However, time started at 0 (this is not hard to imagine, after all, a stopwatch starts at zero) and previous to volume >0. However, what seems to be taken granted is physics itself! Including that which we do not know. Where did these rules that govern what results during events start? What decided the nature of the Universe? Where did intelligible order begin? Your ability to even make observations on the universe? If you can believe in a causeless particle, you can believe in anything, even if does not correspond with reality. You've been swindled, lied to. I have a perpetual machine for sale, if you want to buy it. It harnesses these 'causeless' virtual particles for its power (it is not hylozoistic) but these exceptional particles are. (Virtual particles are only particles that we cannot detect but can detect their effects, so we know they are there). And nuclear decay may be unpredictable, but it is still a result of a prior event. And vacuum fluctuations existed outside or exterior to the 'trapped surface' during the big bang and then eroded to make way for the universe? Thank you, I've learned a lot. I would like to know what is beyond the distance that light could have traveled since the big bang.

  92. says

  93. says

    Ok, I think it's time to give up as Johnathan is absurdly wrong on many things, refuses to acknowledge it, argues from anti-logic, and now is just arguing via random quotes. No one is clearly getting anywhere.Though FYI, Jo, there ARE models of the universe that lack a bigbang. One is currently being presented with some new evidence, and such models are claimed to explain the perceived "dark energy" problem.

  94. says

    No! Do not give up. Once you stop thinking about (questioning) why you believe something, then you only believe it on blind faith. And everyone in their right mind hates blind faith. Yes, even God. The Bible does not ask anyone to believe anything on 'blind' faith, but actually gives examples of the early church questioning what Paul was proclaiming and thus questioning who Jesus actually was. This very debate started 1,980 years ago (roughly). Believing something on 'blind' faith is stupid. Once you do that, then you're taking part in religion. I quote Einstein again, "The worst enemy of Truth is a foolish faith in authority."

  95. says

    @Raymond: As I read your comment that Jonathon had simply restated the fallacy "argument from 'look at the trees'", it occurred to me: Most fallacies (the ones codified long since within the study of Logic) have a Latin name and, for clarity, an English translation. I have only an English major's grasp of Latin, so this may be as inaccurate as "Romanus ecco dominum" or whatever from Life of Brian, but I think "Argument from Look at the Trees!" would be something likeArgumentum ad observo arboraeAnyone want to play Cleese/centurion to my Chapman/Brian?

  96. says

    @Bruce: Well, I don't claim to know lots of latin, but I' like to contribute my own try: "argumentum e consideratio arborum", which should mean "argument from observing trees", oder "argumentum e observa arbores", which I hope would be a more literal translation of your original idea of "Argument from Look at the trees!"

  97. says

    Little Richard's question (word for word) was asked by WL Craig in a debate with Hitch. Who do you think crafted the question? Rich hypocritically censors comments and blocks users from his youtube channel and has the gall to claim no one has answered his (craigs) question.

  98. says

    I like answering a red herring with a non-sequitur. The ones that seem to go down best with such people also contain at least one oxymoron.

  99. says

    "P.S.- Saying that the universe has always existed is assigning magical power to the universe, which is Pantheism (God is the universe), not Atheism (No god exists at all)."I felt a need to comment on this, or at least a similar sentence uttered by Jonathon in this thread but I'll sooner find a needle in a haystack than I find his exact quote.Bottom line is, he talks of seemingly two options: a universe created by God and a universe that isn't created by God and somehow he thinks the latter is pantheistic. Why?The universe is the universe. Why call it God? It's like calling a volcano God for erupting.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>