"atheists have failed to account for the "first cause" argument for God's existence."

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:

Read more: http://www.kansascity.com/2011/04/27/2830053/helter-skelter-author-... 

 

I look forward to your responses.

 

Brandon

 

 

 

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There's also an influential response to Craig by philosopher Paul Draper that said Craig was equivocating between (1) and (2). He said the first use of "begins to exist" means beginning to exist within time. Then, the second use means to begin to exist with time (like, simultaneously with time begining to exist). Draper says these are two fundamentally different concepts, thus, they do not bring about the conclusion.
Thanks, Michael!
Is there even proof for 1 or 2?
That's hard for me to say because I disagree with the argument. I think WLC supporters will say (1) relies on pretty straightforward common sense as well as the idea that nothing can come from nothing. There is an interesting side case if virtual particle pairs popping in and out of existence with no discernible physical cause, but it's not the same as saying they come from nothing. 
Premise (2) relies on the big bang for support. If people then come back and say the universe could be cyclical or there could be a multiverse, the Craig will bring up the supposed problems with infinity.

hmm, well I don't consider much of anything to be 'self evident', otherwise babies wouldn't need so much attention, so I'ld really need to be convinced of 1 in order to buy into that.  On point 2, as far as I know the math breaks down at singularity, which doesn't really say much of anything.  If he wants to prove the universe began to exist then he needs to do more than point to a singularity to convince me, he needs to prove that at some point the singularity wasn't there - and that would be pretty amazing I think.

Moving onto 3 - even if the universe has a cause, why a conscious cause?  And ultimately I think he's trying to suggest the territorial semitic deity, Yahweh, is actually real, which, if he succeeds, means that Anu - being the head of the semitic pantheon - exists as well so we better start paying more attention to all the cuniform tablets rather than dusty greek papyrus.

The thing about the infinity cases, though, is that the Big Bang isn't really that important. Craig says there cannot have been an actually infinite past because such a thing is impossible, and then he presents arguments to support that. So, to rebut him there you'd have to show that an infinite past is possible. If it is, then we can say the universe didn't begin to exist (or, if it did, it was a physical cause like a different universe). If it isn't, then we are forced to say it began to exist.

 

As to what the cause would be like, he has arguments to get from that conclusion to another conclusion about the properties the cause must have. Belive me, I'm not saying I buy it, just trying to explain his argument. If you want to know more, I go into that argument and give some thoughts on how it can be attacked here: http://foxholeatheism.com/the-sherlock-holmes-defense/

 

Well, before thinking about how to 'attack' it, I would like to first understand how an infinite past can be excluded with a certainty.

I probably won't give it justice, but I'll throw out the type of reasoning you'll hear.

 

Ok, so to say that the past is beginningless is to say that an actually infinite number of events has already happened. This is like saying you have an infinitely deep hole and an infinitely large pile of dirt and saying you have completed filling the whole. They are basically saying we could never get to "now" because an infinite moment of events would have to happen...but you can't traverse an actual infinite. Or, to think of it another way, Craig will say you can't build an infinite set of objects by successive addition. So, you can't have moment 1, moment 2, moment 3, up to moment inifinity. You'll never reach infinity.

I agree, as a temporary and finite block 'we' cannot build an infinite set of blocks - but even within an infinite set we can, and I suspect do, exist.  Even if their god hypothesis were true, that god would have existed for an infinite amount of time, having an infinite amount of 'thoughts', of which we would only be one limited series.  It doesn't change a thing.
No, there isn't any proof.  The reasoning is exactly the same sort of reasoning that was once used to justify believing in a flat earth held up by a god.  "Everybody knew" that it was impossible for anything to be standing on the side of a sphere.  "Everybody knew" that the Earth was standing still and that things didn't stand still unless they were at rest on something.
@ Robert: Exactly.  There's a clip of Carl Sagan saying something along the same lines.

The weakness of all these arguments about creating is this.  We, human beings are stuck in the concept of magnitude; beginning and end.  In the universe of infinity there is no such thing as that.  We cannot get our arms around the point of just mere existence and within mere existence there is constant change and part of the that system of change is this thing we call life.  Life is just another part of that change that goes on.  We have to have this beginning, in which in the universe, it doesn't exist.  There just is. No beginning or end. 

 

Is this a hard and tough concept for us to get who only exist in the construct of the finite?  Yes.  But that is what it is.  

The only thing that science will find is the changes within this existence of matter and energy, but they will never find a beginning to it just as there will never be an end to it.  That Law of the conservation of energy is constantly being proven.

 

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