Uncaused Cause Argument

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Uncaused Cause Argument

Postby the_farewell_party » Wed Sep 21, 2011 2:54 am

The First Cause argument is pretty easy to take down because it is an argumentum ad ignoratium. Pretty much saying that because everything we know of has a cause, the universe must have a cause and that cause must be the deity of the choice of the apologist. We all know that where it fails is that it is special pleading because there is no explanation for why god doesn't need a cause.

However, I was in an argument with an apologist and his response to this was that, while everything that begins must have a cause, something that never began because it is timeless doesn't require a cause. I would use the word "eternal", but eternity implies time, and time didn't start until the Big Bang. There is no "before time" (assuming that the Big Bang was the start of the universe, which it may not have been).

I didn't want to use the response "well, the universe could be infinitely old" because scientists estimate that it's been 13.7 billion years since the Big Bang. Also, if the singularity that became the Big Bang has been "Big Banging" and "Big Crunching", scientists estimate that this has only happened about 100 times. I don't know if they are right or not, but picking and choosing what science I like when I myself am not a scientist would put me in the same boat as Theists who do so, so I choose to accept what scientists accept as the best current explanations.

I didn't really have a response to this. However, where I got him was that we were discussing all manners of arguments for god, and some of his contradicted others of his.

For the free will argument, I contended that an omnipotent being could make humans perfect and have free will because an omnipotent being is not bound by the laws of logic because it itself made them.

The apologist responded that omnipotence is the ability to do anything possible and that even an omnipotent being like god cannot do something illogical because it is incoherent.

So, where I got him is that he kept on saying that it's illogical for something to come from nothing, which is why the universe needed a creator. But, if it's illogical for something to come from nothing, how did god make the universe out of scratch when matter and energy did not exist before the universe? That would be an illogical thing to do. Which would mean that either god can do the illogical and thus can make humans unable to commit evil but still possess free will, or god cannot do the illogical and thus could not have created the universe out of nothing.

Of course, god could have created the universe out of matter and energy already there. But then matter and energy would be timeless. Meaning that by Occam's Razor, we could cut out god because matter and energy already exist without him. After I explained that, he stopped responding to me.

I give myself a pat on the back for being pretty clever there (hey, what do ya know. Theists are right about one thing. Atheists are a little big arrogant!).

But again, going back to that "everything that begins has a cause, anything timeless doesn't need one". I mean, to me that sounds like a total ad hoc reason for god to be able to escape the rule of "everything must have a cause", but I can't quite put my finger on it and verbalize why the argument doesn't fly. I guess that's why I want your help to formulate a counter-apologetic to that one.

Thanks!
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in a good cause

Postby dobbie » Wed Sep 21, 2011 4:15 am

Yes the universe had a cause (according to the Big Bang model), but it doesn’t show whether it was a physical or supernatural cause.

And right now the Big Bang singularity model favors a hypothetical physical cause.

byThe_farewell_party
So, where I got him is that he kept on saying that it's illogical for something to come from nothing, which is why the universe needed a creator. But, if it's illogical for something to come from nothing, how did god make the universe out of scratch when matter and energy did not exist before the universe? That would be an illogical thing to do. Which would mean that either god can do the illogical and thus can make humans unable to commit evil but still possess free will, or god cannot do the illogical and thus could not have created the universe out of nothing.
That's a good argument.


byThe_farewell_party
Of course, god could have created the universe out of matter and energy already there. But then matter and energy would be timeless.

I'm one of those people who look at Genesis 1 and see that a sea was already there before the Bible God began to form the world.
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=genesis%201&version=TNIV
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
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Postby DukeTwicep » Wed Sep 21, 2011 11:30 pm

I heard from someone that according to quantum mechanics it's possible that everything (the universe and all the things outside of it, if there are any things on the outside) didn't need a cause because the laws of quantum mechanics would make something appear out of nothing. I guess it's more of an answer to the questions, Why is there something rather than nothing?
The question is very valid, and I don't really understand how the quantum mechanical laws could answer it. I mean... that still doesn't account for, why are there quantum mechanical laws rather than no quantum mechanical laws? Or perhaps they just mean to say that the quantum mechanical laws was always here, but that's like a theist saying that God didn't have a cause, he always existed. It sounds pretty stupid to me, but perhaps that's just because I don't understand it. After all, I'm not a scientist.
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Postby the_farewell_party » Thu Sep 29, 2011 6:13 am

Interesting stuff. I guess there's always another turtle to stand on no matter how you put it. With out current knowledge, at least.
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Re: Uncaused Cause Argument

Postby DjVortex » Wed Nov 09, 2011 7:35 am

the_farewell_party wrote:The First Cause argument is pretty easy to take down because it is an argumentum ad ignoratium. Pretty much saying that because everything we know of has a cause, the universe must have a cause and that cause must be the deity of the choice of the apologist. We all know that where it fails is that it is special pleading because there is no explanation for why god doesn't need a cause.


Actually the logic fails before that, and there really isn't any need to go that far in the discussion.

The logic fails at the "the universe must have had a cause, and thus that cause is" part. This is a huge unfounded leap in the deduction, a huge argument from ignorance. It's what's usually called "putting a label on the unknown".

Even if there was a cause, saying anything at all about what it might be is completely unfounded. We simply don't know. Calling it anything is unfounded. Since we don't know what it is, what its properties are, then calling it anything is wrong. It's an unknown, and labeling it is completely arbitrary and irrelevant. It's an argument from ignorance.

The obvious question is not "but where did god come from?" Instead, it's "what kind of 'god'?" Does this "god" still exist? How do you know? Is it sentient? How do you know? Are there more than one such "gods"? How do you know? Was this "god" also created? How do you know?
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Postby Skept » Thu Nov 10, 2011 4:45 pm

Hi,

Actually I would like to say that its not illogical to say that the universe had a cause. The M-theory speculates for example that the universe was caused by another universe, so this universe is sort of a spawn from a previous one. I dont believe in causality tho, because it seems that everything that has mass and movement are united by the force of momentum, wich is more a continuum than a cause and effect.

But I think that this misses the point of the question where everything came from. I dont know if this theory is in favour any longer but I think its the one that so far makes most sense, and that is the cosmic egg theory.

It is an existential question imo, because the question is why does the universe exist or how can it exist? It exists but it could not have a cause outside of existence because then that cause would not exist. Therefore cause is more probably within existance. So logially speaking the cause for the universe was allready within existance before the universe as we can see it emerged.

I think Greek mythology was on to something there with the god Phanes or Eros as he seems to have been called also. Phanes was the first born god and was spawned from the cosmic egg. The cosmic egg in turn emerged from Chronos (time) and Ananke (inevitability/necessity).

Other versions has it that it was born from the deity Chaos. And Phanes/Eros was the first ray of light to emerge. This light is producer of everything and all life wich is why we call sexual feelings erotic. Therefore, it seems, that the Greeks had a lot healther view on sexuality than the Christians who made their God into a primordial eunuch and sought to castrate their own sexual feelings at the first hint of them ("If thine eye offends thee, pluck out and throw it away") Thereby they took a stance of hostility towards sex and made it beast-like and obscene and that it would be better to abstain from it alltogether.

Whenever a Christian says that they have better sex lives I dont know what they are comparing themselves with. Christianity has always made a point about how sacred and holy it is to abstain from sex. The Greeks in contrast seems more able to elevate sexuality to a holy act and feeling and dispense with the guilt, since the first god was erotic in nature and without him there would only be Chaos.

On the question of free will, I think that Christianity is the most fatalistic religion in existance. There is no room for the supposed free will in Christianity except for "obey or burn in hell" and the course of your life has allready been measured out and set before you. You either follow Jesus or else...

Personally I dont believe in free will. I think instead what happends is that thanks to our brains we have the ability to think into the future and make decisions based on that. All the free will argument from Christians does is to assign guilt and administer the threat of hell. But on a sidenote, we tend to organise society according to Christian dogma, not naturalism. The legal system and also the school system has a Christian smell to it. There sits the judge and assigns guilt and administers punishment, or there sits the teacher and assign grades wich carry their own reward or punishment. Free will has nothing to do with it since you have to obey the same system or be punished.
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Re: Uncaused Cause Argument

Postby NearlySane » Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:26 am

Ok, I realise I am resuscitating an old thread, but I was drawn to it after reading this, quite frankly, bullshit:

http://www.reasonablefaith.org/gods-creation-of-time

It's quite simple really -

God has always existed and is in an atemporal state.
God caused a temporal state to exist 13.7 billion years ago.
There can be no "prior" or " before" the causation of the temporal state.
Therefore God can't exist "prior" or "before" the causation of the temporal state.
Therefore the causation of the temporal state is as "old" as God.
However, God has always existed, so the causation of the temporal state must have always existed too.
So if the temporal state has always existed, then it doesn't need causing because it never began.

I welcome you to another fine example of a self-refuting argument.
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Re: Uncaused Cause Argument

Postby sepia » Fri Apr 05, 2013 2:40 pm

My favourite critic is that the conclusion, the first cause must be personal, is based on substance dualism and an argument from ignorance.

From this we can conclude:

1) We don't know of an immaterial mind with indeterminated will is metaphysically possible. There is only the epistemic possibility, which means, that we failed to disprove the idea yet.

2) There could be an other immaterial entity without mind but with abilities similar to free will.

Apologists ignore this. They only claim, that the only alternative we know is mind. And this is simply not true. We don't know if mind is an alternative. And we don't know if we know all alternatives.

That apologists want tolerance for their religion is something I would even call self refuting. Because they don't tolerate the possibility that we don't know the answer.
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