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.
The key point about the first premise is the phrase "begins to exist." So, it's different than saying everything that exists has a cause (they can say God did not begin to exist). Then, we naturally come back and say that maybe the universe in some form or another has always existed and a lot of debate goes into that - whether or not there can even be an actually infinite series of events. That's so detailed that I don't think we can do it justice here. I'd read William Lane Craig's reasons why he doesn't think there can be an actual infinite in reality and then maybe Wes Morriston's responses to him about why his arguments fail. That's a good starting point.
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/
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.