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.

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Yep, it's semantics. And universe has come to have multiple meanings, simply because it has traditionally meant our own, personal universe (which was all we knew about and all we thought there was), and also 'absolutely everything'. And now that we suspect that our own, personal universe may not be all there there is, the word has split.

Multiverse is often used as the new 'all there is' term, as is cosmos or reality. I've heard metaverse, but less often. (And mostly in RPGs)
I suppose you could consider an RPG a universe too or maybe miniverse. an endless recession into Cantor's infinite infinities.
That, that is, is! That, that is not, is not! Is that it? It is!
what you have in the far future is an almost empty universe, space will have expaneded to the point that every particle in the universe is in its own private light cone and can have no communication with any other particle. Again, an empty universe is not "No Universe" I am talking about as very specific thing; in how many ways can the universe not exist? There is only one way in which the universe cannot exist, there are infinitely many ways you can arrive at a nearly empty universe, there are uncountably many ways that a universe can exist, but there is only one way for the universe not to exist.
Your nothing has way too much stuff in it for me, my nothing is nothing, no particles, space and time do not even exist there, nothing exists there, there is not even a place holder for where it may have been it it had existed, it doesn't exist, it has no existence, it is nonexistence. it is not a universe that was once and is no more, it is a universe that never was in any conceivable way. You assume if you take a universe and then have all of its parts evaporate it is now not a universe, that is wrong, it is a universe whose parts have evaporated.
What part of doesn't exist at any point in time, don't you get???
The problem I have with the "always has been and always will be" definition of God is the representation of infinity. It's NOT a number. Infinity goes both ways. If God has existed for all time but the universe has a set age, that means that God has spent an infinity number of years twiddling his thumbs before creating the universe. But infinity plus something or infinity minus something is an impossible calculation. I've heard the argument that God exists in a timeless dimension. Timeless is STILL the same as infinity. The only difference is that matter and energy can not move or even exist in a timeless realm. Time is a function of space. A timeless realm means there is no space. The only "timeless" realm exists within the belly of a black hole and within the higher dimensions or the "spaces between space". It's easier to say that God "came about" at the same time as the formation of the universe because the time before the Big Bang holds no meaning for us, but that shoots down the argument of God being the creator. Or you could say that God "came about" one microsecond before the formation of the universe, but that shoots down the argument that God always existed. If the ten dimensions or whatever it is that keeps creating universes through quantum physics has always existed for all time, you COULD probably call THAT God, but that poses problems for the standard doctrines of monotheism, including the idea of anthropomorphism and of God possessing human-like qualities, such as the ability to judge. I think this might actually be similar to pantheism.

Nelson,

"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.

 

 

Jeremy,

 

"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.

Found it:

"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 should clarify, BTW, that my definition of universe is the verifiable universe and does not include universes of Muliverse speculation.

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

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