I am a former pentecostal turned...to anything but religion. I am very grateful for seeing the truth opened up to me (by an atheist). I am trying to find my personal position. At present, I am assuredly agnostic, but leaning toward atheism altogether. I would love to hear what you all have to say regarding the quote/title of this thread.
The title is an excerpt from an article, "'Helter Skelter' author challenges God in his new book". In context it reads:
" The faithful take a beating in Bugliosi's book, but he doesn't spare atheists either.
"When I hear theists and atheists pontificating on how they know God does or does not exist, I can only smile at the irrationality and, yes, vanity of the notion," he writes.
Bugliosi believes that atheists have failed to account for the "first cause" argument for God's existence - that someone or something created the universe. "We know from our human experience that nothing in existence can give itself existence because if it did, then it would have to have preceded itself, an impossibility," he writes. "
The whole article is here:
I look forward to your responses.
It's a difficult question to answer really in that it applies to both atheism and religion. As an atheist, I believe it is my job to stand up, be honest and say "I don't know the answer" when I do not know, not make something up.
That been said, we do have evidence of creation - small things and well the universe or earth itself, but we don't know what ACTUALLY happened - we have some puzzle pieces but others to find and put together. So we know bits of the picture.
So... I don't know who or what created this universe, or even who or what created that.
The best thing you can do as an atheist is BE HONEST with yourself about things that are simply not known about yet.
Bugliosi believes that atheists have failed to account for the "first cause" argument for God's existence.
I'm sorry, Bugiosi makes a grave error in saying that his deity exists and that it is US who have to prove it's not there.
It kind of boils down to this: How can one disprove something that doesn't exist?
While this is a fascinating philosophical conundrum, we live in a world of approximations. We do not attempt to correct for any possible quantum mechanical position of every particle in the universe every time we do anything. We make approximations. Philosophy and science are concerned about things that are always true, absolute laws, no matter where or when in time or space you find yourself. That is why philosophy and science can never go out and categorically deny anything until there is nothing more to be seen or done.
Religion is a sort of philosophy, it delves into humanity and delivers, guess what, nothing more than an approximation. If there truly was a God, should he not have gotten every detail right?
In addition, the premise is flawed:
""We know from our human experience that nothing in existence can give itself existence because if it did, then it would have to have preceded itself, an impossibility," he writes. ""
He is exactly right, within this universe nothing is uncaused. But that does not immediately apply to outside of it. Just because you can breathe inside earth's atmosphere doesn't mean you can do it outside of it.
lol @ 'Atheists have failed to account for the first cause argument for Gods existence' ...
Oh my , where to begin....
How about this. We don't need to account for anything because we are not the ones stating a God exists.
Also , anybody can make up any silly argument they want for the existence of a God , and then claim the 'You can't disprove this' card.
Maybe there was no first cause. Just because we only experience cause and effect within the Universe , or on an atomic scale , does not mean it's different outside the universe or on a sub atomic scale within the universe.
If you substitute 'the universe' for 'God' in the first cause argument , it's the same logic. The universe created itself folks. The universe is the uncaused cause. Therefore God does not exist. Disprove me!!! (Rolls his eyes)
There is no argument for first cause. Physics breakdown when you compress the universe to a singularity. That's why we are studying quantum mechanics. I don't believe Atheists can argue against God as First Cause nor should they. The only response should be, you cannot prove there is a God, I do not have to prove he didn't do something. The absence of proof on the theist side is not a valid argument for Atheists not being able to argue against said unproven thing or it's proposed actions.
It's an invalid argument not worth discussion. Where we come from, how it all began are huge questions. I accept that, at the current time in our scientific development, we cannot know where we came from. Theist are more willing to accept that they "know" the origins of the universe because they have a 2-4 thousand year old book that tells a story. Using that as evidence allows any of us to write anything and claim it as proof.
Having said that, I accept Douglas Adam's explanation. The Great Green Arkleseizure sneezed us all out, and soon we will have to quake at the coming of the Great White Handkerchief.
It's just as valid, and much more entertaining.
I will quote you from "A Brief History of Time":
"... the quantum theory of gravity has opened up a new possibility in which there would be no boundary to space-time and so there would be no need to specify the behavoir at the boundary. There would be no singularities at which the laws os science broke down, and no edge of space-time at which one would have to appeal to God or some new law to set the boundary condition for space-time...The universe would be completely self-contained and not affected by anything outside itself. It would neither be created or destroyed. It would just BE." p. 175, A Brief History of Time and The Universe in a Nutshell
No gods required.
More importantly, if everything has to have a cause, this would mean that god has to have a cause. If it is claimed that god does not have to have a cause, then this would make it possible that other things do not require a cause--in this case the universe. Quantum Mechanics is now revealing that the universe is "in its own nature." I deal with this issue on my blog http://aisforatheist5760.blogspot.com/2011/04/william-lane-craig-de...
As I understand in real proposed and developing quantum gravity theories like loop quantum gravity and causal dynamical triangulation with quantized spacetime following from the theories, allow for the singularity (zero volume) to be a transitory phase in the history of the Universe and therefore allow for time before the singularity. String theory as a theory for quantum gravity might be pliable enough (absent quantized spacetime) to be made to yield to Hawking-Hartle no boundary condition (which says something about the entire Universe, not only about the past, but about the present and future also, that doesn't necessarily match the observations - accelerating expansion breaks symmetry - very well.)
Anyway even if there really would be no boundary to space time, a theist might just demonstratively take a piece of paper, draw a circle on paper and dryly remark "see, no boundary, I made that."
If anything came from natural philosophy before the advance of science it is the insight that logic can be a guiding principle, never a basis for conclusions about nature.
The situation Bugliosi presents describes a theist and a gnostic atheist. I suspect both will have trouble proving their point with empirical, reproducible evidence. While it's fairly easy to bring the idea of any given god to its knees by pointing out all the contradictions, logical inconsistencies, etc it's quite difficult to prove that a god does not exist, period.
As things stand I personally think both positions are somewhat misguided. An agnostic atheist should be willing to admit that we don't yet have the answers (theory only gets us so far) and that we're still searching. That is currently a far more powerful position because it will spur us to seek new evidence rather than relying on some arbitrary explanation of god/anti-god.