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.
There is a probability curve that peaks at 5730 years, so that on average with a (very) great number of C14 atoms you'll find that half of it has decayed after 5730 years. The decay of a single atom however is entirely unpredictable and without cause."
Please explain how "unpredictable" (or random if you prefer) equals "uncaused." If you flip a coin and the coin lands on heads are you saying that becuase the coin landed on heads it was uncaused? If you flip a coin and the coin lands on tails are you saying that becuase the coin landed on tails it was uncaused?
Carbon 14, an unstable isotope, decays into Nitrogen 14, a stable isotope. What is different between the two? While Carbon 14 is decaying what is being emitted?
You seem so very sure and knowledgeable that I thought it not very useful to go on dwelling on it any further. And you are not entirely wrong either. (In certain quantum gravity theories, causality naturally follows from the way space-time evolves.) But this is a matter of interpretation of quantum mechanics and therein the principle of causality is problematic due to phenomena like entanglement, well non-locality more specifically. Non-standard interpretations seem to cause their own even larger problems. So, since you know this stuff better I thought you explain it to me.
Well, the article is already absurd as it rejects both atheism and theism. If you are not a theist, then you are an atheist, by definition.
The first cause argument is flawed, and has been addressed. Aside from some recent developments in quantum physics, which are still on the frontier, and not well enough substantiated or understood, we have never observed anything begin to exist. Matter and energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only change form. Cosmology tells us that all matter and energy was once condensed into a singularity, but before that time, they have no idea what the universe would like. Even the concept of 'before' might be invalid.
So the premise that the universe began to exist, or was caused, is not accepted.
And the premise that if something begins to exist, it must have a cause is also not accepted.
And even if the two premises were accepted, it would no more support the existence of a god than it would of a kangaroo that lays eggs that hatch into universes.
Even if, for the sake of the argument, you allow that some supernatural entity somehow created the universe, all you have is Deism. There is absolutely no way to go from Deism to theism.
They still haven't explained how they know that creator's wishes. Or if it has any explicit wishes about mankind at all. They still can't explain why that being would care about how we live our lives.