"2. even if it was apparently caused in some way doesn't mean that it was in fact caused. for instance, Uncertainty shows us that some events that seem to be caused, in what appears to be a very supernatural way really, that is these events have no cause and effect relationship behind the event and happen spontaneously, do still have a natural process that underlies the event. though the decay of radioactive elements is apparently caused supernaturally without a natural cause and effect relationship there's still a very natural process at work. though something may appear to have had a supernatural cause doesn't mean that there isn't a natural process at work. there's certainly no reason to posit supernatural causes in the absence of cause and effect relationships. why does a radioactive atom decay when it does? it just does. an apparently caused universe wouldn't indicate that the cause was a conscious entity. again, the rule of parsimony would indicate a likelihood of our simply being ignorant of the process which itself would be based on some unknown law or laws of physics."
Radioactive decay is caused by an atom being unstable. Radioactive decay is fairly well understood otherwise carbon dating would be useless. The half-life of the isotope is very reliable. When a single atom decays it is indeed unpredictable, or random if you prefer, but there is nothing supernatural about it. when a large number (the Law of Large Numbers) of atoms decay this is a known value and hence the reliability of carbon dating.
"2. and yet there are events that are uncaused, that happen spontaneously. are there not?"
Nope. the four fundamental forces, electromagnetism, gravity, and the strong and weak nuclear forces cause all other events in the universe.
I don't recall who it was, but somone mentioned that the the spontaneous generation of virtual prticles was uncaused. Again, Nope. Please google Vacuum Expectation values.
"what created the creator?"
Explicit in this question is that God is a real thing.
You can have an infinite number of numbers and you can have "infinite resistance" in an electronic circuit, for example, but you can't have an infinite number of real things, or, if you prefer you can't have an infinite causal chain. Infinite sets of real things and infinite causal chains are logically and physically impossible (and not for lack of imagination--they are literally logically and physically impossible).
Someone mentioned the oscillating universe model or "big bang, big crunch, big bang, big crunch..." model. It is certainly possible for there to be a billion antecedent universe before ours. You could have a centillion antecedent universes. You could have a googleplex of antecedent universes. If you postulate an infinite number of antecedent universes, however, then how do we get to our universe; the universe in which we obviously live?
Of course postulating an infinite number of antecedent universes has no explanatory power (it explains everything and yet explains nothing)
When you ask what created the creator then you are setting up an infinite causal chain (or infinite set of real things) which is logically and physically impossible. So, you can choose to accept only one creator or you can choose to accept no creator. If you ask what created the creator the person you ask may politely smile and ask you to google Hilbert's Grand Hotel.
"Reply by Nelson on June 2, 2009 at 6:26pm
right. a particle/anti-particle pair are spontaneously generated. but am i correct in saying that there is no cause? there's no cause and effect relationship, that is there's no this-happened-which-caused-this-to-happen-which-in-turn-caused-this... relationship, so that we can't point to a cause for it having happened correct? why does it happen? it just does.
Reply by Dave G on June 4, 2009 at 4:00pm
There is no known cause, not that we've been able to determine, though. Some of the multi-dimensional theories might have a thought or two on the subject, though."
The cause is known and fairly well understood. Again google Vacuum Expectation Value, virtual particles, casimir effect, Vacuum polarization, Hawking radiation, etc.
"Reply by Jeremy Roney on June 1, 2009 at 2:47pm
Technically speaking we can't really assume that the laws of physics as we know them hold true outside of our own existence, if one were to take the position that a god created our existence then that god existed outside of our existence previously and thus we must assume that such a being is not subject to the natural laws we know."
If you postulate a god that exists outside our existance AND you postulate that we can't really assume that the laws of physics hold true outside of our own existence AND you postulate that the god that exists outside of our existence is not subject to the natural laws we know then it does not logically follow that: "Assuming the universe is not eternal and was caused by something should imply that whatever caused the universe also had a cause."
To break it down:
Postulate 1. "we can't really assume that the laws of physics as we know them hold true outside of our own existence."
Postulate 2. (to paraphrase) the Flying Spagetti Monster (PBUH) exists outside of our existence.
Postulate 3. (to paraphrase) The Flying Spagetti Monster (PBUH) is not subject to the natural laws we know.
In our universe or existence the natural laws are such that all effects have a cause or, more accurately all events are caused by the four fundamental forces of nature--strong and weak nuclear forces, gravity, and electromagnetism.
"Assuming the universe is not eternal and was caused" by, say, The Flying SPagetti Monster (PBUH) which is not subject to the natural laws we know (that is, the four fundamental forces of nature that cause all the events in the universe) then it is not necessary that the Flying Spagetti Monster have a cause.
I don`t wonder about these things. I don`t need to because I know them :)
No, really. Ask me a question if you don`t believe it
I'm in the same boat, although at a bit of a different angle. My biggest problem was that it was just as pointless as atheism (from the perspective of being religious), and infinitely more pointless (from the perspective of being atheist). God creates us, we choose sides (heaven or hell) by our actions, we die, we go to heaven or hell... and then what? God has simply sorted us into two boxes, neither of which has a purpose, and worse, he's put one group of us in a box to torture for the simple reason that he doesn't want the people in that box.
The big problem with this is always the same: once we're all sorted, what's the plan? You've gone to all this effort to extract the most desirable humans from the entire human population for all time... for what?
And of course, nobody has an answer for this. once the last prophecy of any holy book is completed, once the end-all battle of good vs evil happens, once evil is thrown back into hell... then what? do we all just hang around for all eternity, twiddling our thumbs and making small talk?