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.
To be honest, all I can offer you is my personal take on this, which is not very representative of Atheism in general. A lot of it comes down to how you define the word 'god'. If you think that some as yet undiscovered being might meet your definition of 'god' then you'd really have to admit that we can't know whether or not that being exists and you'ld really have to call yourself agnostic. If your definition of god is much more restricted, and you feel that the evidence is very strongly in favour of that being not existing, then you would be well founded in self-describing as atheist, although you would have to admit that you're a 'little agnostic' because there is no way to be certain.
That which I define as god, the concept that I grew up with and am most familiar with, is as far as I am able to discern at this point, completely impossible and self contradicting. For this reason I have a little trouble labeling myself, but for the most part I am well described as a 'militant atheist'. To that end, I don't dispute the conscious prime mover possibility, I just don't consider that to be 'god'.
There is really a lot of room here, but if you don't specifically believe there is a supreme super being of sorts, then you can rest assured that you are somewhere in the agnostic/atheist spectrum. Oh, you may want to read about deism, because there are some other god-concepts out there that may or may not expand your definition of 'god'. That being said, you might also be a deist.
Theist, deist, atheist or agnostic you are most welcome here as long as you are seeking that which can be reasonably discerned.
I don't see First Cause as an argument for or against God's existence. It's an argument based entirely on what we don't know. I'm hard pressed to think of a case where a lack of knowledge makes a positive argument for something.
To insert God as a first cause is arbitrary. Let's assume that there was, in indisputable terms, a first cause to the universe. To say that 'something' must have caused the universe and that 'something' could be God is both abusive to reason and to language. Of course the first cause was God if you are simply willing to label any 'something' or 'someone' that created the universe as 'God'. It's complete tautology. It's a resignation from pursuing a proper explanation.
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...