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Re: Question For All Atheists

Question For All Atheists
« on: May 03, 2009, 10:26:26 AM »
It seems too often that debates on the existence of God cover outside issues such as the problem of evil, morality, etc. While these things do credit or discredit the possibility of God's existence in some people's minds, they are not even an integral question or close to the best question to ask.

My question for all Atheists concerns our origin, or the Universe's origin. This is something I thought about since I was a kid but I will pose it in its more formal style, entitled the Kalam Cosmological Argument.

This is how it goes:

1. The Universe Exists

2. It either had No Beginning or a Beginning

(Most people agree the Universe had a beginning: Big Bang Singularity, 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, Actual Infinity doesn't exist, Impossible to cross infinity)

3. If it had a Beginning, this Beginning was either Caused or Not Caused.

(Most people agree it was caused. Can you give me five examples of something without a cause?)

4. If it was caused it was caused by a Random Directionless Force (analogy: A tornado going through a lumber yard and forming a mall) or it was caused by a Personal Agent.

Which is more likely?

Now, I would like to hear your take on this. Mine is below.

Re: Question For All Atheists
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2009, 10:27:28 AM »
Personally, I have never understood how proponents of scientism are even given a voice on matters such as creation. Since the 1st law of thermodynamics, or the conservation of energy, says energy can never be created or destroyed: how can science ever explain the original creation of energy?

The traditional theistic belief stands that the original creation of time, space, matter, and energy was done by a agent who exists outside of time and space and has no cause. It is self-existent and self-sustaining. Though it may be hard to imagine from our finite perspective, I do not see any logical alternative.

Re: Question For All Atheists
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2009, 01:55:31 PM »
The traditional theistic belief fails.

Why?  It is not logical.  Really, you need to use reason in any analysis.

It fails because it assumes that you know everything and you do not.  For example, you argue in "4)" that there are only two alternatives.

To assume that you have perfect knowledge and know all of the alternatives is naive and ridiculous.

Firstly, we do not know if there was a beginning.  The big bang theory does not postulate that it was "a beginning" at all.  It says nothing about what or if anything came before the big bang.  Your assumption that "there was a beginning" is wrong.

Secondly, to say that there are only two possibilities for a beginning is ridiculous.  Its like watching the Penn and Teller bullet catching act and arguing that the only two possibilities are that Penn and Teller are capable of catching bullets or that GOD caught the bullets for them. . . . .  Perhaps, there is a third alternative?

The fact that you are too simple to conceive of other alternatives is not a basis upon which to establish logic.

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Re: Question For All Atheists
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2009, 02:20:35 PM »
Drop your apologetics class and start taking some astronomy. You'll get a much better idea about these things and you'll talk to professors and students who want to find ways to answer questions instead of ways to defend answers.

You can forget about the Kalam cosmological argument (I'm assuming you just studied or are studying now in your class and haven't gotten to the refutations yet, because there are many). It fails. You don't see any logical alternative because you don't want to. That and you obviously don't have an advanced degree in theoretical astrophysics. Neither do I, but that's neither here nor there.  :blush:

It's hard to wrap your head around something like a "beginning" that doesn't have a preceding time associated with it. There was no "before" the universe. Time is a measure of decay. We are steeped in time. We can't think outside of it. Ever try to imagine a tesseract? I mean, really imagine it? You think you can, but you can't. You can't comprehend a four dimensional hypercube because your brain has evolved to think in three dimensions. The questions you're asking are theoretical mindfucks, and  yes, you're partially right in your reasoning: thinking is hard, so since we don't understand how it could have happened (yet), it's easier to assume it was something like us, because, darn it, we're so special and wonderful and perfect beings would definitely be like us!

Which is more likely?
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Re: Question For All Atheists
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2009, 03:45:32 PM »
Didn't we had this thread before? Somehow I have got this strange feeling of Déjà Vu   :unsure:

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Re: Question For All Atheists
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2009, 03:52:54 PM »
Didn't we had this thread before? Somehow I have got this strange feeling of Déjà Vu   :unsure:

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Re: Question For All Atheists
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2009, 04:41:48 PM »
Simple answer, I don't know how the universe got here but I don't find a reason to assume a god simply due to gaps in my (our) knowledge.

Re: Question For All Atheists
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2009, 07:04:51 PM »
I'm not an atheist, but I'll field this. This is a very old and outdated argument considering modern knowledge, and your formulation of it misuses some modern science.

Quote from: "mbell31"

1. The Universe Exists

2. It either had No Beginning or a Beginning

(Most people agree the Universe had a beginning: Big Bang Singularity, 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, Actual Infinity doesn't exist, Impossible to cross infinity)

What most people agree with is irrelevant, big bang cosmology has absolutely nothing to do with whether the universe had a beginning or not. Thermodynamics only applies inside close systems, and cannot be said to apply at the point of the big bang, the singularity you mention at the origin of the big bang is a mathematical singularity. At the point of the singularity none of our physical principles can be said to obtain. There is nothing mathematically, nor logically problematic about infinity existing in actuality. The logical problems only arise when you talk about "reaching" or "crossing" infinity, which implies that infinity is a number that can be counted to, when it is not.

Quote
3. If it had a Beginning, this Beginning was either Caused or Not Caused.

Causality holds no meaning outside of time, and time is a product of the big bang, it is illogical to talk about time itself having a cause, as a "cause" is an event that precedes another event in time.  

Quote
(Most people agree it was caused. Can you give me five examples of something without a cause?)

It is irrelevant what "most people" think. Also, can you give a single example of something that was caused to come into existence by more than definition alone? Things within the universe merely change, not come into existence. The principle of the conservation of matter and energy suggests that the total amount of matter and energy in the universe is static, and the first law of thermodynamics suggests that matter cannot be created or destroy. Events, reactions, and effects have causes, but "things" do not, they were not caused to exist, they were constructed from pre-existing material, and as far as we are aware, that material existed in some form throughout the entire life of the universe -- so if you are attempting to infer that because things within the universe have causes, that the universe itself must, then your inference is faulty, since things only ever truly change, a proper inference would be that the universe is no difference, and is constructed from pre-existing material, and always existed in some form or another. Though in any case, no matter what the state of affairs of objects within the universe, it would be a compilation fallacy to infer things about the universe based on its individual parts.  

Quote
4. If it was caused it was caused by a Random Directionless Force (analogy: A tornado going through a lumber yard and forming a mall) or it was caused by a Personal Agent.

Your analogy is faulty, anything in the universe with a complex structure was not caused directly by the big bang event, but formed over the following 13.7 billion years by various known physical forces and phenomena.

Quote
Which is more likely?

I assume you are asking which we intuitively feel is more likely. Personally, I must confess to finding the idea that it was a person beyond fantastic, and into the realm of completely non cognisant.
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Re: Question For All Atheists
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2009, 11:16:41 PM »
I don't know how the universe started, or even if it started.

I would be interested to know why you think god does not need a beginning, do you have any evidence for him existing outside of time and space (out side of fairy tales), can you even offer a definition of what those two things mean in quantifiable, exact terms? Why do you think it's biblegod that started the universe, and not Odin? Is there any evidence about the universe that makes it more biblegod inspired than Odin inspired, that we can see around us now?

By the way, if you dont know, how god came into existance, or how it is that he exists, I actually have the answer for you ( I have been sitting on it for a while, but I feel like letting it out ).
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Re: Question For All Atheists
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2009, 11:18:38 PM »
Quote from: "SSY"
By the way, if you dont know, how god came into existance, or how it is that he exists, I actually have the answer for you ( I have been sitting on it for a while, but I feel like letting it out ).
I sense scatological humor...  ;)
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Re: Question For All Atheists
« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2009, 01:11:26 AM »
I think everyone else has this one tied down.  The Kalam argument is rather weak, for more reasons than are listed here, even.  Google will show you, Mbell.   :lol:
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Re: Question For All Atheists
« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2009, 03:03:56 AM »
Quote from: "mbell31"
It seems too often that debates on the existence of God cover outside issues such as the problem of evil, morality, etc. While these things do credit or discredit the possibility of God's existence in some people's minds, they are not even an integral question or close to the best question to ask.

My question for all Atheists concerns our origin, or the Universe's origin. This is something I thought about since I was a kid but I will pose it in its more formal style, entitled the Kalam Cosmological Argument.

I agree that we are often required to acknowledge human and societal issues and ideals as reason for a god's or creator's existence.  But, I don't think switching the focus to the origins of the Universe is very helpful either because it requires you to accept things as fact that can not be known, and therefore a being waving their finger around creating life purposely or some cosmic boom occurring creating it at random doesn't matter.  When people do bring this up though I wonder, what do creator believers think he/she was doing prior to creating?  Was there nothing and then there was something?  And where did the creator come from?  Is it really reasonable to think that something came from nothing and that something had some kind of power to create other things?  And seriously, why do people care that people are sitting around thinking life happened at random and there is no creator?  Does it make you worry that you might be wrong?  That if people keep poking their nose around and learning and discovering that they'll figure it out and disprove the creator theory?

I don't agree with any of the outlined points or processes you have posed.  I don't think anything was created, either by a being or by random, or by and boom.  I think things are what they are and exist as they exist and it's simply our minds trying to place meaning on time and and existence that is really just a man created fantasy.  It's abstract and beginnings and endings of the universe and life don't really exist.
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Re: Question For All Atheists
« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2009, 04:27:06 AM »
I read through all the posts and if I ever have a free weekend I will try to make the effort to respond to all parts of them but in general it seems like the theme is a lack of belief in the ability to know truth.

I guess it's easier cast doubt on everything and not question your existence, otherwise you would have to answer to a creator.

I didn't read a single thing refuting the argument. Just a bunch of rhetoric saying it is weak, etc. and why such and such is unlikely.

Please tell me:

Where did matter and energy come from or have they existed forever?

Can you please answer this and not dodge your way around it. Please answer that single question only. Thanks.

Re: Question For All Atheists
« Reply #13 on: May 04, 2009, 04:37:04 AM »
Quote from: "mbell31"
 Where did matter and energy come from or have they existed forever?

They may have existed forever, but what is forever?  Why does it have to come from anywhere?  I didn't see anyone here avoiding the question posed in the OP.  It's just that you are wanting people to say either it happened through a current scientific belief or it happened via a creator.

Not everyone thinks like that, and since you took the time to read through the posts, but not respond to any, and then just reposted the question we were answering throughout the thread is sounds like until a definitve answer is given you are not interested in responding.

I don't think there was a beginning to matter and/or energy.  They've always existed and it's only the human mind that has created a need for a beginning and likewise a need to have an answer to the beginning.

Also, I am not in any form trying to avoid having to answer to a creator.  Since I don't believe their to be a crator, either scientifically or paranormally there is nothing to answer to.  I am simply a ball of energy and matter that happens to have a brain that thinks more complexly than it needs to.
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Re: Question For All Atheists
« Reply #14 on: May 04, 2009, 07:33:21 AM »
Quote from: "VanReal"
Quote from: "mbell31"
 Where did matter and energy come from or have they existed forever?

They may have existed forever, but what is forever?  Why does it have to come from anywhere?  I didn't see anyone here avoiding the question posed in the OP.  It's just that you are wanting people to say either it happened through a current scientific belief or it happened via a creator.

Not everyone thinks like that, and since you took the time to read through the posts, but not respond to any, and then just reposted the question we were answering throughout the thread is sounds like until a definitve answer is given you are not interested in responding.

I don't think there was a beginning to matter and/or energy.  They've always existed and it's only the human mind that has created a need for a beginning and likewise a need to have an answer to the beginning.

Also, I am not in any form trying to avoid having to answer to a creator.  Since I don't believe their to be a crator, either scientifically or paranormally there is nothing to answer to.  I am simply a ball of energy and matter that happens to have a brain that thinks more complexly than it needs to.

Thank you for answering my question. Yes, you are right I don't want to respond to meaningless banter until someone gives a definitive answer.

Since you believe there was no beginning, I posed to you these problems with that position:

1. The Hot Big Bang Singularity

-The expansion of the universe
-Extrapolate backward to a beginning point

2. 2nd Law of Thermodynamics

-The universe is "cooling" off. An eventual heat death.
-Thus, there was a past time of maximum energy.
-Things are going to low energy and high disorder.

3. Actual infinities don't exist- see Hilbert's Hotel hypothesis

4. Impossible to "cross" an actual infinity. Infinite number of "past" events.

-If a past casual event hasn't occurred, the present effect cannot have taken place.
-If the past is infinite then we could never get to the present.
-The present is the last member of a series of events, therefore past is finite.
-A beginningless universe has no first "member".