After looking around and reading a few reasons people give for being atheist, I've been quite surprised to find that nobody seems to share the reason that first made me an atheist. I've always thought it funny that people turn to religion to answer questions like where we came from, where the world came from, and what are purpose of life is. Most religions attribute such things to the presence of a creator of some sort, a supreme being that made everything. However, this idea has a serious flaw... what created the creator? What created existence in the first place? Why does anything exist? These are questions I've never been able to answer, and I doubt anyone ever will be able to.. not even religion. I was just wondering if anyone else had ever wondered about these things, and what they thought.
ah, the classic, "i could counter your arguments but i won't because..." i have to say i'm rather disappointed Leo. i appreciate that you disagree with me, after all, it's a fool that would expect a dogmatist to suddenly up and change his mind because their mind is made up for them at the outset, but tell me why you disagree at least.
but why would you disregard the importance of probability? you're a Christian and so, again assuming you hold to fundamental Christian dogma in this area, and assume i must because you apparently are refusing to clarify, you believe that Yahweh created the universe to exist and yet you seem to plainly admit that such a proposition is infinitely improbable as compared to any naturalistic explanation that might be offered. do you acknowledge that this is true? is this what you believe? if you won't clarify your beliefs generally i shall have to ask you period point blank and hope for a response.
of course an uncaused cause is illogical. we experience things in a deterministic way, where events happen in a chain of cause and effect relationships and so something without an apparent cause is illogical. but that an uncaused cause is illogical doesn't mean that quantum effects don't happen. plenty of things we've found to be true have initially defied logic only to be confirmed by observation, evidence, and experimentation! some things do happen with no apparent cause. and yes, that there's no apparent cause doesn't mean that there is no cause but perhaps only that we're ignorant of the cause. but in the absence of an apparent cause, there's no reason whatsoever to offer supernatural hypotheses. that's an argument from ignorance, specifically god of the gaps.
Reasonable and rational discussions require foundations of logic which can be agreed upon and are logical. If both sides or either side of this discussion does not follow logic, it is typically a waste of time in my opinion. Unless of course it is empty conversation, such as who is your favorite football team, or what happened on "The Office" last night. In that case who cares about logic - to a certain extent.
Law of Cause and Effect
Mill got it wrong, and Russell was misled thanks to him. Hume did not suggest nor try to prove, that the Law of Cause and Effect should be demolished. He merely posited that we cannot know if a cause is the true direct cause of an effect simply because it appears that way. He did not say, "Nothing is the cause of this effect" or "Every cause requires a cause."
If you state "a cause requires a cause", your foundation, and whatever follows is absurd as it redefines "cause" and puts a requirement on it that is not in the definition.
As I responded in another post, if you posit an eternal Universe as the "uncaused cause", rationally you are sound, scientifically I would disagree.
Just because I think that position is rational, does not mean it I agree with it, but at least it is rational.
An interesting paper and it does try deal with some mathematical issues for a point of singularity, but I think it is a long way from a solid theory. Just my 2 cents, but that and a piece of paper with my name on it won't get you anything.
I do agree it is a rational hypothesis, to the extent of my understanding of it, as it does not appear to violate the basic laws of rational thinking.
Again my point is not to debate scientific theory or the origin, but to merely to point out the lack of understanding of the Law of Cause and Effect. Not necessarily yourself Doone, but in the general conversation of the original post and responses to it. This to me is amazing since Causality is a major underpinning of the Scientific Method in general. Anyone educated, working, studying, or professing to be knowledgeable in a scientific field consistently has this at the forefront of their thought process. I hope..
If the Laws of Logic are not adhered to then intelligent conversation or investigation of any sort is not possible. Logic was not created by Aristotle or any of the other early philosophers, much the same as gravity was not created by Newton. The framework was already there, someone just needed to define it clearly so the rest of us could work with it.
We don't live in an illogical universe, so why should we act or talk as though we do?
Tangential note: Throwing in specialized jargon does not make the conversation logical. It also doesn't work well when the person reading the jargon has the education to know you are merely "paraphrasing" another's thoughts. Amateur theologians and scientists alike should use their own grey matter. Following a "man of knowledge" blindly is no less damaging than following a "man of God" blindly in my opinion. This is not meant at a jab at you Doone or anyone else. I myself have been guilty of both type of erroneous following.
I may not agree with each person in this thread, but I do appreciate the discussion and the time spent to express your thoughts.
"Again my point is not to debate scientific theory or the origin, but to merely to point out the lack of understanding of the Law of Cause and Effect."
Can you explain how I didn't eliminate the relevance of this "law of cause and effect" you keep talking about? Or how the concept doesn't support the fact that the creationist argument that God didn't need a creator is false? You've essentially answered your own original question with your own "law."
"Tangential note: Throwing in specialized jargon does not make the conversation logical. It also doesn't work well when the person reading the jargon has the education to know you are merely "paraphrasing" another's thoughts."
Like the myriad websites like this that choose, like yourself, to ignore the concept of an eternal universe? Apologetics straight out of a textbook. It's a good thing you left yourself an out by admitting that you've made exactly that error in "logical conversation."
Rather than entertaining an irrational conversation; I would suggest you take a course or read a few books on Philosophy - specifically Logic. Perhaps a study on Aristotle, Hume, or Popper. Or maybe a quick google search? Any of these will quickly show that Causality is not something I pulled out of my posterior. While studying make sure you note that the Laws of Logic and rational thinking are the foundation of the scientific method.
Completely understanding the logic may take a more than a quick Wiki search. However, discovering that a "cause does not require a cause" shouldn't take you any time at all.
As I said, several times, I don't ignore the concept of an "eternal" universe and I don't have a problem with it from a rational standpoint. I just don't agree with it scientifically - especially the way you attempted to explain it.
We're not stating that a cause requires a cause, we're merely stating that it's illogical and highly unscientific to attribute the creation of the universe to a god (essentially an uncaused cause). As you stated before, there's nothing wrong with an uncaused cause... its just that there are far more probable explanations, something else I would hope every scientist has on their minds. Assuming existence itself is eternal is similar to stating that god is eternal, except that we've managed to eliminate a step and make it a simpler and more probable explanation. In posting this topic I've merely tried to point out that the universe needs a creator about as much as god does. If you take the stand that the universe needs a creator, then the same assumption must be applied to that creator. If you assume that god does not need a creator, then it only makes sense that existence could be eternal instead.
On a side note, don't say you don't agree with an eternal universe scientifically. You don't disagree with an eternal universe based on anything science has given us. Rather, you disagree with it based on religion.
So you're saying that you can't explain how I didn't eliminate the relevance of this "law of cause and effect" you keep talking about? That I'd have to do my own research to find that out, though you are the one making the claims and should be able to give me that information yourself? And no, my dear, you are not talking about Causality. Even a quick wiki search will tell anyone that. I'd suggest you read up on it yourself because you misunderstand the concept.
I'd say that answering the question asked of you tops the list of the rules of engagement for logical conversations. As soon as you master that, then we can move on to real logic.
Rather than entertaining conversation with someone who dodges questions and can't actually back up anything that he claims with actual information, I think I'll go have some intelligent discussions with my grown up friends.
Okay, so Leo, I think I understand some of your misunderstandings.
1. The Big Bang is not necessarily (or even probably) the beginning of everything. It may have been essentially the beginning of our universe, but our universe may not be all that there is. I say "essentially" because the Big Bang isn't even the starting point - it is what happened milliseconds after whatever starting point (or previous existence) which we have yet to understand.
2. Quote from Leo: "Yes, I am a Christian. Yes, I do believe in God. However, my point in responding to the post was not to argue God's existence but to see if the op had any logical basis for asking for a 'creator of the creator'."
The logical basis is that the only argument that most Christians (who argue this point) give to support/prove the idea that God created the universe is that "everything has to have a creator." Clearly that is not the case if God did not have to have a creator (which they also argue), and so their only argument doesn't have a leg to stand on. It's entirely possible that if there were a God, then it would not have to have a creator, but that undercuts the statement "everything has to have a creator." You'd have to find another argument. I have yet to see any other support for God having to have created the universe which allows for everything not to have had a creator and yet definitively indicates that God created it all. If one existed, I'd be a Christian and so would everyone else. All Christians can really say is that they believe that God created the universe because of x, y, z unimportant reason, but they are remiss in claiming they can prove it - and many of them do claim they can prove it ("because everything has to have a creator!").
3. If the universe (or greater collection of multi-verses, or whatever overall unit of existence you choose to accept) is in fact eternal, then there will be causes and effects going back eternally- forever - never ending - therefore you can never get to a beginning which would be an effect without a cause nor a cause without an effect. You would simply keep going backwards in "time" for infinity. That's the very definition of "eternal."
An interesting perversion of scientific theories, definetely seems to fail to make any distinction between the physical universe and existence itself and therefor fails to really make any progress. The timeless eternity explanation is basically a because the bible said so idea, but the multiple dimensions of time idea may have some merit and be worth discussing. The rebuttal of why the universe isn't eternal is pretty much pointless since it only argues agianst the idea that the physical universe isn't eternal instead of existence itself.