Tuesday, April 24, 2007

origins of the universe (cosmology)

Dani said "Let's start by making a casual observation: The Universe is real and it exists. The universe is everything that exists. Everything that exists, exists as part of the universe.

Dani said "An infinite, supernatural Creator who exists outside the natural laws of the Universe created everything. There is no other possibility! God is the first cause..."

For my own clarity let me rephrase and see if I get this right...Every existing thing has a cause, and every cause must be caused by a prior cause, which in turn must be caused by a still prior cause, and so on until we reach a first cause, a being that does not require a causal explanation.

This argument asks us to look beyond the fact that the universe exists to find the explanation for its existence. With the idea that god is the explanation for the universe.

Basically an unknowable being using unknowable methods "caused" the universe to snap into existence. How did it create existence from nonexistence?

Dani started by saying that everything must have a cause and "God is the first cause." Yet, if everything has to have a cause, how did god become exempt?

If you say everything has to have a cause
and
god does not have a cause.

The conclusion (god does not have a cause) is contradicted by the first argument (everything has to have a cause).

It is not logical to say, "the universe has to have a cause, god is the cause and there is no cause before him."

For knowledge, we build on what we do know to discover that which we do not know. It makes no rational sense to build on the unknown to explain what we know.

"All causality presupposes the existence of something that acts as a cause. To demand a cause for all of existence is to demand a contradiction: if the cause exists, it is part of existence; if it does not exist, it cannot be a cause...Causality presupposes existence, existence does not presuppose causality...Existence- not "god" is the First Cause." Nathaniel Branden

For something to have caused the universe, it must first exist. To exist is to be part of the universe. You cannot create that of which you are a part.

16 comments:

Dani said...

Let me try to help clarify further for you.

You are correct with this statement: ”Every existing thing has a cause, and every cause must be caused by a prior cause, which in turn must be caused by a still prior cause, and so on until we reach a first cause, a [Supernatural] being that does not require a causal explanation.”

This is because a Supernatural being is not bound by the physical laws of the natural universe and cannot be explained in casual terms.

God, unlike the universe, had no beginning, so God doesn’t need a cause. In addition, Einstein’s general relativity, which has much experimental support, shows that time is linked to matter and space. So time itself would have begun along with matter and space.

“Basically an unknowable being using unknowable methods "caused" the universe to snap into existence. How did it create existence from nonexistence?”

This is something in the Supernatural realm which is beyond our limited human comprehension. Understanding the complexity of life and the universe we live in cannot be simplified in scientific terms. Honestly, it’s a matter of faith. Now I’m not taking about blind faith, that would be foolish. The Bible defines faith like this in Hebrews 11:

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the EVIDENCE of things not seen. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.”

So by faith I believe that God created the universe because the evidence of it’s existence is the evidence for a Creator.

"The conclusion (god does not have a cause) is contradicted by the first argument (everything has to have a cause)."

Let me try to explain again.

1. Everything which has a beginning has a cause.
2. The universe has a beginning.
3. Therefore the universe has a cause.

Unlike the universe, God had no beginning, therefore He doesn’t have a cause. God has always existed. God is the Alpha and the Omega. He is the beginning and the end.

“For something to have caused the universe, it must first exist. To exist is to be part of the universe. You cannot create that of which you are a part.”

Since God, by definition, is the creator of the whole universe, He is the creator of time. Therefore, God is not limited by the time dimension He created, nor is God limited by the physical laws of the universe. God is eternal and He exists outside the universe in a supernatural realm. He also created us as eternal beings: body, soul & spirit. For without God - Nothing (including us) would exist!

Read more info here if interested ->
Cosmological argument for the existence of God

Jacob said...

Wow, talk about stacking the argument in your favour.

If Dani wants to argue that the universe MUST have been created because that's the only explanation, and yet not apply the same logic to her own theistic belief that a god just exists, then there isn't much to hope for in this particular argument.

Dani,

This is because a Supernatural being is not bound by the physical laws of the natural universe and cannot be explained in casual terms.

Well that's awfully conveninient. As Richard Dawkins would say, you've just talked your way out of giving a rational explanation for your beliefs, instead relying on the irrational (supernatural things, etc).

...

Interesting debate though.

Jacob said...

Convenient, rather.

johngalt666 said...

Dani said...
Read more info here if interested ->
Cosmological argument for the existence of God

Here is an answer the article linked above:
Cosmological Kalamity

Lui said...

A being as complex as a deity needs a monster explanation in its own right. Invoking a made-up sky-fairy doesn't explain anything.

look_an_atheist said...

Hi Jacob, thanks for dropping by my blog! your pic TOTALLY weirds me out (Is that too much of an 80's saying?) and makes me laugh which I'm guessing is the reaction you are going for.

I'm curious to see Dani's response to your point as well.

Tone said...

This is such a cyclical argument that there is no end to it.

I say the voices in my head created the universe, or maybe the aliens, not the greys, the greens, everyone knows the greys are evil. That makes just as much sense...

Oh and thanks for visiting my "Rants".

Dani said...

As if the "Big-Bang" theory is any more coherent?

This is take from my link -

Someone might say that some things are caused by other things, but this does not solve the problem. This is because those other things had to have causes too, and this cannot go on forever. Why not? Let's take a simple example: trees. All trees began to exist at some point (for they have not always existed). Each tree had its beginning in a seed (the "cause" of the tree). But every seed had its beginning ("cause") in another tree. See where this is going? You can't have an infinite series of tree-seed-tree-seed because no series is infinite - they cannot go on forever. All series are finite (limited) by definition. There is no such thing as an infinite number because even the number series is limited (although you can always add one more, you are always at a finite number). If there is an end, it is not infinite. All series have two endings actually - at the end and at the beginning (if you don't see why this is true try to imagine a one ended stick!). But if there was no first cause, the chain of causes never would have started. Therefore there is, at the beginning at least, a first cause - one that had no beginning. This first cause is God.

Why is this so hard to grasp?

BigTex71 said...

Dani,

By using your own argument, what created the 'Creator'? I know, you will say God has always been. But then you contradict your theory of EVERYTHING having a beginning. If you say God is the Alpha and Omega, has no beginning and no end, then I say why can't you substitute 'the universe' for 'God'?

I believe that the actual answer to that question (the origin of the universe) is that we cannot comprehend the answer. So no one is right, there are only theories. And no matter what we say, you will not change your mind... and vice-versa.

So I would have to chalk up this one to: "We will have to agree to disagree."

(BTW: I am learning how to deal with your irrational thinking... the medications, alcohol, and therapist REALLY help!) :D

look_an_atheist said...

The infinite regress was addressed in the article JohnG linked to called Cosmological Kalamity by Dan Barker. It is 5.5 pages (with 1.5 pages of footnotes)long when printed out and when read with a dictionary and a pencil it takes about 30 minutes to read.

http://ffrf.org/about/bybarker/kalam.php

This is a well constructed article. I would love to see a theist's genuine response to it specifically.

Frankly I would like to see if any theist actually reads the whole thing. I would bet not. But we shall see.

Dani said...

BigText said - then I say why can't you substitute 'the universe' for 'God'?

The idea that God can be eternal leads us to the idea that maybe the universe is eternal, and, therefore, God doesn't need to exist at all.

Although it is possible that the universe itself is eternal, eliminating the need for its creation, observational evidence contradicts this hypothesis, since the universe supposedly began to exist only ~13.7 billion years ago. The only possible escape for the atheist is the invention of a kind of super universe, which can never be confirmed experimentally (hence it is metaphysical in nature, and not scientific).

The universe popping into existence on it's own or eternally existing violates the natural laws of physics. If we demand an explanation of who created God - that only pushes the problem back a generation, and then begs the question of who created that thing, and then so on until we get to a first cause.

Also, if the universe is the first and only cause, how do we determine absolute morality based only on matter and energy? The effect cannot be greater than the cause, so things like good and evil cannot exist in a limited morally relative material universe.

P.S. I read the first page of the Cosmological Kalamity article, but I'll print it out and read the whole thing.

look_an_atheist said...

Dani said, P.S. I read the first page of the Cosmological Kalamity article, but I'll print it out and read the whole thing.

There is a difference between reading and understanding. And understanding does not have to mean agreement.

Your argument about first cause was specifically addressed on that first page with continuing discussion through the next 5 pages.

I really want to hear your response and hope that your ideas and refutations are not simply restating that god is the first cause.

Dani said...

Okay – I read the whole article and understand what they are trying to say - this is the part I agree on:

The argument looks like this:
1.Everything except God has a cause.
2.The universe is not God.
3.Therefore, the universe has a cause.

"It seems that there is only one way out of this dilemma, and that is to infer that the cause of the universe is a personal agent who chooses to create a universe in time. Philosophers call this type of causation 'agent causation,' and because the agent is free, he can initiate new effects by freely bringing about conditions which were not previously present…

Craig appears to be justifying the hypothesis of a personal external force via the fact that the natural universe contains complex intelligence and free personal agency--humans, for example--and a creator must be at least as complex as the thing it created. Otherwise, the creation would have been greater than the creator, which is impossible…

Who is to say that personality could not have arisen from an impersonal cause? The impersonal might be more complex. If this is impossible, theists must explain why.”


This goes back to cause and effect and understanding the true nature of God. I'll break it down for you again.

What are God's Attributes? Where is the Proof?

1. Eternal Nature - God has always existed. God is the Alpha and the Omega. He is the beginning and the end. He created us in His image and likeness as eternal beings: body, soul & spirit.

2. Omnipotent (All-Powerful)- God exists in three persons: Father, Son & Holy Spirit. He is the Creator of life, time and the Universe. The mere fact that the is sun burning tells us that a Creator must exist. God's power is not limited by the natural laws of the Universe.

3. Personal & Relational - The fact that we have personalities and a desire to have relationships with others, we can know that God is personal and desires to have a relationship with us. This is why He created us to begin with.

4. Righteous & Holy - The fact that our hearts yearn for justice tells us that God is Righteous. Because we possess a conscience which condemns our moral failures or the evil deeds of others, we know that a personal Creator must have instilled in us a standard of Righteousness.

5. Love & Goodness - The fact that we long to be loved and to love one another proves that God is Love. Since we have the ability to love, we also have the ability to hate. And since we have the ability to do good, we also have the ability to do evil. God's goodness is everlasting and His love never fails, but He cannot make anyone love or chose what is right. Love has to be freely given, it cannot be forced or created in a test tube. Without God - Love & Goodness could never exist!

Matter and energy are impersonal and do not have any of these attributes, so to say that the universe and all life in it came from a “Big Bang” or some impersonal force is illogical, irrational and just plain foolish.

look_an_atheist said...

NO NO NO NO NO!!!!!

All you have done is pick out the examples of creationist thinking that he gave. You then say you agree and go on to re-explain your position.

I want you to explain to me WHERE his logic is flawed. WHERE his reasoning is invalid.

Try again.

BigTex71 said...

Look_an_Atheist,

Welcome to my world. Consider yourself warned now. Dani is not a logical thinker. She also has selective vision.

You learn to deal with it and ignore the really ignorant parts... because even if you show her how wrong she is, she will not acknowledge it or she will continue to be blinded by her faith. It is VERY frustrating. That is why I was so rude and appeared to attack her so much here the other day. I have been squeamishly reading some of her drivel for a while now, and it will eventually push you over the limit unless you just accept the fact that she is 'not normal' (a nice way to put it.)

look_an_atheist said...

BigTex you are so right.

She got to me. I was doing fine until I got to her last post, the one I ripped and said she denied god twice.

Well look at it. She DID!

Have you ever seen a movie by Kevin Smith- Clerks, Chasing Amy, Jay & Silent Bob, that stuff???

Well- if you've ever watched the behinds the scenes. Kevin cusses like a sailor. Lots of swearing, all the time. Well guess what? I could probably give Kevin a run for his money right now.

See- this is my first time. First time blogging, first time debating a fundy. First time really discussing my atheism with someone other than my mate.

My decision to become an atheist came from discussions like what these SHOULD have been. Unlike dani though, I actually listened, responded, thought some more, etc....

How long does it take adrenalin to wear off cause I'm still shaking.

MAN the fundy got to me.

No wonder atheists lose it so quickly when they are around.

I might just put back up my original intro on the first page.

DAYYYUMMM I'm cranky right now.

Thank you for the support Bigtex,
Oh- I dont' know if you've checked back, but there was a response to you over on the favorite drink post.

Thanks for visiting my blog! You've been AWESOME!