If find it interesting that for us 'god' is a topic, while for others it is an 'object' or 'subject'. Sadly theist terms 'point', but they do not 'land' or 'touch'. We should not be happy about this I expect, how many of our words only 'point', and not 'land'?
He's offering the old "first cause" argument. It goes, everything we know has a cause preceding it, so in order for the chain not to go back to infinity, you need a first cause.
Problem: If everything needs a cause, then so does the first cause.
Problem: If there is a first cause, what guarantee is there that it's Yahweh?
He states that Handel's "Messiah" didn't compose itself, it had a creator, which of course, we know to be Handel. Then we must ask, who created Handel, and you would likely say, "god," to which I would ask, who created god - you, of course, would say, no one created god, he just always was, but your only evidence for this, is a book written thousands of years ago by superstitious men who had no idea how the the world they lived in, worked.
The man himself said that nothing can exist that doesn't have its cause outside itself - there is no logical reason as to why that same rule wouldn't have to apply to a god, and as old what's-his-face says above, even if one believed a "god" did it, there's no way of demonstrating which god, and throughout history, superstitious Mankind has invented thousands of them.
His is a tired, old argument that has been put to rest time and time again, yet sooner or later, some YouTube theist trots it out, dusts it off, and tries to palm it off on the naive and unsuspecting as some kind of valid proof.
What I think....
i) Do I have an answer for ultimate origins? No, but neither to I have any logical reason to assert 'god'. No real reason to assume there is a 'reason' for existence. Fun to think about, but the question on how the universe exists/ came to exist is a question much more likely to yield fruit. 'God' contributes nothing to answering that question and introduces new complications.
ii) DNA is not information in the sense that the dictionary is information. DNA is part of a biological chain that yields a result which we find significant. Why? Because it lets us live and survive. Is that actually significant? Not really. If DNA did not yield viable results we wouldn't be here to appreciate them. humans represent one subset of viable genetic combinations out of many. This particular form is not special.
Also, natural selection better accounts for the appearance of design than the concept of mind' does. everything has form and function, but hardly anything is designed by minds.
iii) Morality or ethics are necessary for the survival of social species. We can decorate it with magic, but ultimately, a strictly naturalistic paradigm also accounts for the existence of morality at some base level.
longer version (just for the heck of it).
i) Reason for existence: there isn't a solid reason to assume there is one. It may very well be that everything hinges on one very simple concept: existence is. From our current perspective, I think the question of 'how' existence exists is quite reasonable, but the question of 'why' existence exists may not even make sense.
I use words like 'assume' and 'may' to avoid firm declarations. I freely admit that I don't have answers to questions of this magnitude. My atheism is less about having answers than it is about the way I want to navigate toward answers. Where a theist asserts 'God', I make no assertion. there are two reasons why I specifically avoid god (and the supernatural):
1) It doesn't provide any actual answers or explanations. It doesn't explain stellar creation dna synthesis, physical properties or any other phenomenon in the universe. If you ask me how photographs are taken, "Nikon camera' doesn't answer the question. That is the tool I use to take photographs, but the response speaks nothing to the mechanics of the process. And so it is much the same with the universe and 'god'. Hypothetically, 'god' could answer what created the universe, but it doesn't explain how (or even why, really).
2) God introduces more complications than it resolves. If God surpasses natural law, natural law exists subject to God's whim. Tomorrow, if God willed it, rabbits could all turn into plants, and gravity could cease to exist. by introducing God into the equation, not only do we fail to explain or introduce meaning to the universe, but we undo every tool we use to describe and create meaning in the universe. Introducing such a god into the equation amounts to introducing an explanation that is inherently inexplicable.
If, on the other hand, God operates within natural law, there is no need to prematurely jump to the conclusion of 'God' when exploring the universe. If God is the wellspring of all natural order, exploring natural order with honesty and sincerity will inevitably lead back to God. The logical order is to follow evidence to its conclusion, and not to follow conclusions to evidence.
ii) Patterns and information. There are two primary areas on which I will focus. First, in a strictly naturalistic paradigm it ONLY makes sense that things have shape, form and function which sustain viability. Non-viability is -- revelation of the millennium -- non-viable. While the mechanics of life and genetics can be quite complex and appear to be designed to work a certain way, the most important thing to remember is, if those mechanics did not work, that life would not exist. humans, for instance, represent one genetic pattern that (mostly) works in the current environment. Again, if it didn't humans wouldn't exist.
DNA is not information in the sense that a novel is information. DNA is a combination of molecules with chemical properties which results in chemical reactions which in turn result in the formation of characteristics we happen to find very significant. Why do we find them significant? Because those features allow us to exist and survive. Because the properties of dna patters correspond with specific results we deem significant, it appears as if information was encoded for the purpose of being interpreted and read, but that is looking at things backwards. DNA does not exists in order to provide is with traits which allow us to survive; we survive because DNA happens to provide us with certain traits. Why do I say that? Because, in reality, gene expression and transmission is imperfect, and we can observe that certain imperfections lead to (contextually) superior results while others lead to disaster. This is very well accounted for by the concept of natural selection. Conscious and intentional design, on the other hand, doesn't fit. When humans design things, errors leading to failed results are the product of our limitations and not our intentions.
And that leads into the second point. All human design to date shows signs of natural selection to some degree. A McDonald's hamburger wrapper is not strictly the product of a mind. That wrapper is the product of countless natural limitations. The name "McDonald's" had to fit within human phonetic abilities. The letters with which it was printed also had to conform to the same criterion. The dyes in the inks used to print had to meet a set of criteria such as reflecting the correct bands of light within the spectrum visible to humans, and it also had to not leach from the paper. The paper's properties had to be suitable for use with food and cost restraints. And so on and so forth. The point is, much of the 'design' of the wrapper was dictated before anyone set to designing the item. What the designer did was simply observe the natural properties of the universe (or at least the portion of the universe containing subpar, mass produced hamburgers), and coordinate them in a useful way. Because we have seen the process of hamburger wrapper creation, we know that human consciousness plays a clear role. That doesn't mean that the wrapper or its design strictly originated from consciousness. That was simply part of the equation.
In the broader scale of the observable universe, byproducts of human consciousness (or that of other animals) account for an infinitesimal number of things which have shape, form and function. We have no evidence that the overwhelming remainder is influenced by "mind". We do have evidence of the reverse: mind is influenced (or I would say entirely defined) by nature. Mind is a component of nature.
iii) Both of the above apply here as well, so I'm not going to rehash. I will state briefly that there is a necessity for 'morality' in social species under a natural paradigm. Even in other social animals, it's not 'anything goes'. Why? Because social structures will collapse without foundations, structure and limitation. In humans, there is not a great deal of moral consistency, probably because the desires, needs, and strengths of various social groups differ. If we examine a fairly constant moral tennet, members of a society cannot kill each other willy-nilly. I say 'willy-nilly' because most moral codes seem to allow for killing under the right set of conditions. Why the moral standard against killing? Numerous reasons, but I think the major two are self-preservation, and an aversion to diminishing the strength of the tribe.
I'm stopping here.
Human Enzyme? I think he sounds good, but is thin on details.
I might accept each one of this primary points, but since the idea of 'god' is most likely a human construct. It seems more likely that the human mind might not be up to the 'origin' question, and the 'god' concept just stands in for the awareness of a deep ignorance.
I can see no reason to assume that the human mind is not up to moral/ethical theory or decision making. Given the degree to which we fail at our attempts, is seems that the program is very human and very difficult.
And to assume that the universe can not make life from common matter, due to 'complexity', seems false since given the vast history of this universe, such large numbers mentioned seem small by comparison. Life may be rare, but planets common. The materials needed for life, as we know it, are available, but liquid water might be hard to come by. Given the present count of more than 1000 known planets outside our solar system, and the few that might offer near earth-like conditions, it seems more a matter of time till earth's twin is discovered. Given the number of niches that life on our planet can fill, there might be as many as ten other moons in our solar system that might harbor life. I am very optimistic that the wonder of life will be satisfied elsewhere as exploration is pursued.
I fear that ignorance once again makes an appearance as wisdom.
Bear in mind, James, that at one point in time, religion implied that this was the only planet there was - time, science, and subsequently, technology, proved that not to be the case.
I strongly suspect that such advances in knowledge is why right-wing theists like Rick Santorum, maintain that higher education is not necessarily a good thing - once you eat of that apple called knowledge, it's kinda hard to forget what you've learned.
When PSU, OSU, or other respected colleges have a Department of Intelligent Design Studies, or someone looks into an Electron Microscope and finds 'God' winking back at him with pictures, it might be time to seek spiritual help!
I see the Religious Right as a threat to Democracy and National Security! Given the degree to which the theists have influenced culture, I am very surprised that the military does not have a 'Prayer Bomb' department.
A cognitive misfiring, a sickness born of fear and false consolation.
Gods were traditionally used for subjugation, and still are, but at some point we became so comfortable and lazy that they became a crutch. Also, I don't think we should be saying it in the singular and capitalizing it. It promotes exclusivity, and that's kind of how we got in this mess in the first place.
Used for subjugation? How far back are you talking? Your assertion implies that there used to be atheists who didn't believe in any deity/deities to the extent that they didn't feel it was a risk to use them for personal ends.
I think true atheism rears its head sometime around the Renaissance.
I was thinking cavemen (but noted).
The... Greek Renaissance?