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.
'why would we think that what holds for our experiences inside the universe holds for the universe ITSELF?' Very well said mate. I have been saying something of the sort by explaining that if time is contained within our universe (see theory of relativity and special relativity and such) then how can cause and effect exist. If there is no time, there is no before and after, throwing the whole need for a cause out the window.
Same argument, You say it much more succinctly though...
I find it interesting how religious people always "prove" the existence of god by saying how did something come from nothing. They refute evolution by saying, "I find it nearly impossible that all of this could evolve from nothing." Science doesn't claim to have all of the answers, but scientists conduct experiments and work to solve those questions daily. Religion doesn't bring any legitimate answers to the table when talking about the origins of life, they just cease to ask questions. Science gives us the best answers about how the universe and life on earth began and the evidence is insurmountable that the explanation offered by religious dogma is certainly far less likely.
What is more likely: 1) That some unknown cause occured that sparked the big bang, which would have meant that our universe started out as an infinitely small particle, and over billions of years expanded and cooled to the point where stars and planets could form. or 2) That an all powerful god instantly sprang into existence and created everything. When one thinks logically it is easy to see that probability is not on god's side. If one says that it is impossible for our universe to have come from nothing, how much more unlikely would it be that god came from nothing. I am fascinated by the universe and especially life here on earth and I find it appalling that so many people would choose religious dogma over evidence that has been criticized by every other scientist before being accepted. Science is changing constantly as more discoveries are made, but religion keeps using the same excuses it has for centuries and has yet to provide one valid piece of evidence to support its claims.
"we know of things that occur apparently completely uncaused."
Incorrect. ALL events in the verifiable universe are caused by the four fundamental forces of nature: electromagnetism, gravity, strong and weak nuclear forces. ALL effects have a cause.
"radioactive decay is totally random. we can statistically analyze the rate of decay but the point at which any one atom decays to another is seemingly random and without cause. there's no reason that the atom decays just then."
Incorrect. Radiaocative decay is caused by an unstable or radioactive isotope. The process is well understood and half-lives are well known or, for example, Carbon-14 dating would be useless.
Your corrections are perhaps personal opinions you are very convinced of, but they are incorrect.
It does not automatically follow from there being four known forces that all events are caused. The example given was quantum fluctuations I believe. This is a consequence of the Uncertainty Relation between energy (mass) and time, but a single event, like the creation and/or annihilation of a single virtual pair is entirely unpredictable and has itself no (preceding) cause.
Same goes for radioactive decay. The half-life of a radioactive isotope is a statistical concept. For example the half-life Carbon 14 is about 5730 years. But a single C-14 could decay in a day or a picosecond or carry on undisturbed for another 10.023 years.
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.