Is the universe proof of god


When I last wrote about the universe, I did say that it is a sufficient cause and need not be caused, our friend of the Canaanite massacre fame has written a post arguing that the universe need a cause.

First he starts with a bad set of arguments for which he offers no evidence in support of. He tells us

Every effect has a cause
The universe is an effect
The universe needs a cause.

How he gets to the second premise I don’t know. The first premise has also been shown to be false since it has been observed at the quantum level and even in radioactivity that there are effects that do not require a cause. Since the first and second premise are not factually correct, we need not go to the third premise or conclusion whichever you prefer!

The universe is indeed an effect, and therefore cannot be uncaused. It cannot have caused its own existence, for it would have had to have existed before itself in order to cause itself, which is absurd.

Why would an always existing universe be absurd? How does positing god as creator of cause and effect become less absurd? Still the fellow doesn’t give us any reason why we should think the universe as an effect and not a sufficient cause. In the contrary I offer two arguments, one that matter, whatever it is, can’t be created or destroyed and the universe is all matter it couldn’t have been created; two there is no evidence so far as we know when there was a break in the cause-effect chain such that if god is to be posited as starting the effect, universe, he needed to have been caused by something outside itself ad infinitum.

The universe is limited, for we see the evidences of limitation all around us……stars die, resources get used up.

In all these death matter ain’t lost. There is a transformation from solid to gas to heat but then the total sum remains zero. While still here, if the stars collapse naturally into themselves, why would a creator be needed at their formation, that is, if stellar collapse doesn’t require a divine destroyer why should we posit a divine creator at its beginning?

God is not an effect, and therefore does not need a cause.

We are not given any reason why this should be true and why the same can’t be said for the universe.

The syllogism above is simple, but no more simple than looking at nature and coming to the conclusion that there must be a God, for nature could not have come about by itself.

Why does one need to posit that a god is involved in nature?

I honestly believe that people have to work a long time to convince themselves that God does not exist.

Yes you are right, you have believed so much falsehood that it would be a Herculean task to convince you of the lack of existence of gods.

As they used to say in the South, some people have “too much education and not enough sense.”

As we say on this blog, the above statement is representative of most theists!

And for entertainment and education here is Lawrence Krauss’ A universe from nothing

About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

42 thoughts on “Is the universe proof of god

  1. Love Lawrence Krauss and appreciate how much he has stepped up his game since Christopher Hitchens died.

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  2. john zande says:

    Why would an always existing universe be absurd?

    This is precisely the point where theists break down. They can’t count to infinity so they simply stop the count and say “god did it.” They do this without ever offering an explanation as to why the count must stop… and its maddening!

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    • makagutu says:

      Please don’t get mad, you still need your keyboard brother 😀
      I think theists are lazy athinkers.

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      • HEY … you stealing my word? Oh, wait, I need your help to make it a meme. Without you, it’s just a stupid word.

        What is maddening is watching them stop a discussion in its tracks by saying something like … “boy, why are you so MEAN & ANGRY? I will pray for you.”

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    • nannus says:

      And the count does not even stop there because where did their god come from. They just stop thinking.

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  3. Mordanicus says:

    Through the use of sylogisms one can prove anything, as long as you consider the permisses to be true. However you have to explain why the permisses are true or at least reasonable, that is where most of rationalism (theistic philosophy is just a special case of rationalism) goes wrong.

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    • makagutu says:

      I agree with you, when a particular statement can be twisted to explain anything then the explanatory power of the said argument must be put to question.

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  4. aguywithoutboxers says:

    Excellent dissertation, my friend. Science is fact. Religion is belief. The two are different. It’s that simple.

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  5. As always, very good post. The theist must always use special pleading to excuse why his god doesn’t need a cause. They also all use the same argument “look around, *my* god created the universe” not being educated enough to realize that there is no way to then tell whose god did the creating. Was it the Christian one? Tezcatlipoca? The north American first people’s “great spirit”?

    And it’s always so cute when one more theist insists that those more educated and having more evidence than the Christian are wrong. “Common sense” is not knowledge and often based on wrong conclusions, dependent on personal need for being right. Common sense made people think that the earth was the center of the universe. Those people were wrong as is the Christian and his false claims. And indeed, if too much education is a problem for him, I do require that he ceases using cars, computers, modern medicine, etc. Using such things would make our Christian just one more pathetic hypocrite and he wouldn’t want that, would he? 🙂

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    • makagutu says:

      Well he has responded and says that he is appalled that apparently bright people can’t grasp simple matters as such that god is infinite and the universe finite. He, however, doesn’t show me how a finite and infinite being would interact.
      I think he wouldn’t, how will he manage apologetics if he chooses not to use the internet?

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      • ah, I do love when Christians use such lovely insults. Heh, “apparently bright” aka “stupid since you don’t agree with me”. In that there is no evidence for a god at all, much less an “infinite” one, it is indeed a simple matter. The Christian is making things up.

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  6. moonshinestill says:

    I came across this news story this morning on the BBC news page.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-21866464
    I thought it fitted neatly under this blog 🙂
    Hugs my friend

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  7. humblesmith says:

    It seems odd that such learned people cannot grasp, or will not grasp, the distinctions between a finite that requires a limit to its potential and and an infinite which does not. Be that as it may, being the one criticized here, I find little in this that is compelling, for it takes little-known and highly disputed physics, which it tries to use to replace well-known and proven physics. Further, there is nothing here that I have not already considered and resonded to.

    http://humblesmith.wordpress.com/2012/06/27/nothing-quantum-fluctuations-and-the-cheshire-cat/

    http://www.reasons.org/articles/the-metaphysics-of-quantum-mechanics

    As to Lawrence Kraus, it does not take very much to realize that he is equivocting on the term nothing, so that nothing now has properties. All this does is push the problem back a step…..turtles all the way down.

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    • makagutu says:

      Can you possibly describe the limits of the universe?
      Which is the well proven physics you refer to? Creation from nothing is not physics.
      And yes I have read your blog post and you don’t explain anything just make assertions and don’t support them. All you do in the last paragraph is insist that a god created the universe, which god you don’t say and whether this god still exists after creating the universe I can’t infer from your post.
      I like to hear the points where you think he commits the fallacy of equivocation and I think it is possible to reach him by mail to explain what he means by nothing.
      So if the blog post you attached here is what you consider a response, it ain’t!

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  8. roberta4949 says:

    actually when I look and use my computer in my nice warm house (hey where is spring??) with a tv, food in the pantry (for now lol) and car that gives me a nice way to get around pretty fast and fairly safe. and I look at myself in the mirror and see my (forget this one lol) and look the other houses round about and all the different cars and trucks and the trains (I love trains you know) i say to myself, these just happend, no one caused it and it did not require a designer or creator. pretty cool things just appear out of no where just when I need them. (I can’t say the same about paying for them) hey why am I paying anyone for them if they just appeared out of thin air for no good reason? humm I wonder if a new solar system will just appear with all the laws in place a nice sun with just the right amount of energy at the right distance and with just the right atomosphere and plenty of water and life sustaining gases just in the right amount that way I can leave this dirty one and live there instead. do you think?

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    • makagutu says:

      I think you commit several fallacies here. You are trying to compare scenarios where there is deliberate effort to create something, a car in this case, to the existence of necessary things such as the universe.
      Well you may not be there when this solar system you dream of comes into fruition or you could become a Mormon bishop and hope to get your planet upon dying.

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      • roberta4949 says:

        actually you missed my point entirly, if a intelligent human who needs knowledge of physics and other sciences to make these simple things, and it the universe happened by chance why can’t man with all his intelligence copy it? why can’t he create something from nothing? if it happened by accident why not by deliberate efforts? if something as simple as a watch or a computer (which is simple compared to a cell) can be made by intelligent design driven man, why can’t man make a simple cell which we have learned is not so simple after all? why does man assume he has a monopoly on intelligence design and purpose but the maker of the universe doens’t even exist? hopfully you see my point if not I feel compassion for you.

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        • makagutu says:

          Granted, there is a quote I will paraphrase and let us see if I understood you.

          Man can’t even make a small ant,while he makes gods by the millions.

          I need no compassion on the contrary, it is you that need compassion. Instead of trying to discover about reality you posit god did it and rest there hoping that you have adequately answered the question.

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  9. mixedupmeme says:

    The video was not there…….but I think…I have seen it before. LK does a good job of making the un-understandable understandable……at least for 15 minutes of an hours talk. After 15 minutes I start nodding. Nodding in agreement of course. 🙂

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  10. nannus says:

    “I honestly believe that people have to work a long time to convince themselves that God does not exist.”
    What a stupid statement. Actually, for me it is the other way arround. I just don’t understand how people can create the believe in god in their minds. It eludes me.
    By the way: http://asifoscope.org/2012/12/09/creationists-to-be-sued-for-blasphemy/ 🙂

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  11. emmylgant says:

    Noel, I love this! Best line that cheered me up: You are all stardust… What a great line. Gotta use it again somewhere. Smiling.

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    • makagutu says:

      Em, the stars died so we could live.

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      • emmylgant says:

        I know. But it’s the concept that is mind boggling to me and the language attached to it! It fuels the dreamer and imagination… I am made of stardust is so much lovelier than enumerating the chemical elements I am made of. Don’t you think?
        All life comes from death in some way. life/death 2 faces of the same coin. It’s going to be a good day. 🙂

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  12. Persto says:

    I think this issue is a bit more complex than people want to admit and, as such, not easily resolved by a simple argument or objection. I’ll try and outline my concerns.

    A bit unrelatedly, the idea behind one version of the cosmological argument is one that is the backbone of the naturalistic philosophy: ‘every event has its cause(s).’ In light of this, I don’t see how any naturalist can say that an event does not require a cause. It seems contradictory. Just an observation. Getting back on topic, suppose:

    1) There exist things that are caused.
    2) Nothing can be the cause of itself.
    3) There cannot be an infinite regress of causes.
    4) There exists an uncaused first cause.
    5) The word God means uncaused first cause.
    6) Therefore, God exists.

    Premise 1 seems correct because we generally believe that every event has a cause that explains why the event happened. Premise 2 also seems correct. Nothing can cause itself to come into existence(causa sui), for it would have had to exist before it caused anything at all. To cause anything to happen implies that a thing has causal power, but nonexistent things have no power at all. (Quickly, about Krauss’ argument from nothing it is equivocation. Krauss is using nothing as a noun when its function is to negate predicates. For instance, when I say nothing is more lovely than a rose I mean not anything is more lovely than a rose. Krauss takes nothing turns it into a noun, and then uses that nothing, which is not nothing because the Quantum Vacuum is most certainly something–virtual particles are real particles and interact with other particles. This is happening in the quantum vacuum and it is most undoubtedly something–as a something to make the point that something can come from nothing, where nothing is the quantum vacuum, and that is just equivocation. It is not logically possible that something can come from nothing where nothing means not anything.)

    One should remember there is nothing contradictory about premises 2 and 4. There is nothing incoherent about the idea that something or someone existed from eternity and so is uncaused, whereas there is a great deal incoherent about the idea that something nonexistent caused itself to come into being.

    (Also, perhaps, I should address the law of conservation of mass here. It simply states: In a chemical reaction, matter is neither created or destroyed. In other words, when a chemical reaction occurs, the total mass of the substances involved in the reaction does not change. For instance, when a small log completely burns, the mass of the ash is much less than the mass of the log. What happened? Well, most of the matter underwent a chemical change by reacting with oxygen molecules in the air. The products of the reaction were released as gases into the air.

    However, in all of this, I haven’t said anything that justifies matter creating itself, but I have said something that necessitates a first cause if the pre-existent Universe was nothing, meaning not anything. Matter cannot be created or destroyed, if matter already exists. However, the pre-existent abyss was nothing, not anything; no matter, so the law of conservation of mass would indicate that no universe should exist because the law only states that small, indestructible particles rearrange during a chemical reaction and the amount of matter is conserved, but the pre-existent abyss was not composed of matter, which is why something, seemingly non-temporal, must have caused it to come into existence. There were no small, indestructible particles in order for the law of conservation of mass to be applicable to the Nothing.)

    The problem with this argument is premise 3. Aquinas acknowledged this was the weakness of his First cause argument. How does one exclude as impossible an endless regress of events, requiring no first cause? Hume even noted that there is nothing logically impossible about an infinite regress. I am sure the Thomist interpretation would be to suggest that the endless series is not a regress of events back in time, but is an endless and therefore eternally inconclusive regress of explanations. So, what is created by this interpretation is if no first cause exists, then the universe is a mere unintelligible brute fact. Although, couldn’t the universe be an unintelligible brute fact? Sure, and, in fact, that is what a number of atheists believe, and to exclude this possibility seems to be begging the question. Not to mention, this interpretation depends on a view of causality that is not at all definite. It is true in some situations, but not others. Some aspects of contemporary science assume that causal laws state statistical probabilities; Hume believed causal connections represent mere observed sequences; Kant argued they were projections of the structure of the human mind; and if any of these are true the argument more than likely fails.

    However, I should note that Craig’s Kalam Argument seems to make an actual infinity of events absurd. Craig says:
    1) An actual infinite number of events cannot exist.
    2) A beginningless series of events in time entails an actual infinite number of things.
    3) Therefore, a beginningless series of events in time cannot exist.

    Premise 1 is integral to the argument. Craig distinguishes between actual and potential infinite. The potential infinite is used in math all the time. It just increases in number toward infinity as a limit but never gets there. It just represents an indefinite number of things. For example, one can subdivide any distance into a potential infinity of parts but never be able to reach an actual infinite number of parts.

    Hilbert’s Hotel is a great thought experiment for this. Hilbert explains that if a hotel was full and an infinite number of guests applied for rooms one could potentially accommodate them. If he moved every guest to a room twice the number of their previous room. The reason being that any natural number multiplied by two is always an even number, all the present guests are able to move into rooms with even numbers, leaving the odd-numbered rooms available for the infinite number of guests that applied. But, before they arrived the hotel’s rooms were full. It suggests, essentially, that the idea that a hotel can be full, but still have an infinite amount of vacancies is absurd. It is not possible to have a full hotel and infinite number of vacant rooms. These absurdities indicate the impossibility of an infinite regress of events. Not to mention, in Aquinas’ mind, even if there was an infinite regress the beginning of the universe would have still required an act, which means that the universe could not have caused itself.

    Of course, pertinent questions follow: does it prove the First Cause still exists? Has it moved away from our Universe? Why is there only one prime mover instead of multiple prime movers? Does it prove the first cause is benevolent, or better yet, omni-benevolent? What caused God? Couldn’t the Universe be the uncaused entity? Furthermore, maybe humans cannot understand the origin of the universe any more than they can understand God’s self-sufficiency.

    Some of these questions are answered by the contingency argument, which suggests:
    1)Every being that exists is either contingent or necessary.
    2) Not every being can be contingent.
    3) Therefore, there exists a necessary being on which the contingent beings depend.
    4) A necessary being on which all contingent being exist is what we mean by God.
    5) Therefore, God exists.

    A necessary being is a self-existing and independent being that has its explanation in itself, whereas contingent beings do not, but rather depend on other beings. One prominent advantage of the contingency argument is that the First Cause cannot cease to exist because the world depends upon its existence. It is really like a set of chains that are supported in midair. You can count the links backward, but at some point one must reach a being sufficient to maintain the whole chain of dependent beings. So, only something outside the contingent reality, a self-existing reality, can constitute the ultimate ground of existence for anything else. God becomes the logical connection between the contingent world and the noncontingent world.

    Of course, the argument has a problem with premises 2 and 3. Just because not every being is contingent it doesn’t seem to follow that there must be an independent existing being. It seems fallacious. Suppose:
    1) Every human being has a father.
    2) Therefore, every human being has the same father.

    This seems absurd to infer one father from all the children ever born. So, it still remains unanswered why there couldn’t be more than one necessary being? If I am not mistaken Aristotle allowed for multiple prime movers?

    And of course it has not been established that, if there were one Prime Mover, it is omnibenevolent or personal. Also, why couldn’t the universe just be a self-existing eternally brute fact? However, if the universe is a brute fact, which means not needing further explanation, then we have accepted that the universe is unintelligible. It appears to me that there is either: a necessary being or the universe is ultimately unintelligible.

    Strangely, modern astronomy seems to confirm the Christian doctrine of creatio ex nihilo. From my understanding, the universe began in a state of infinite density and all space, time, and matter were created in the big bang event. The big bang was the entire universe at the moment it happened. There was nothing before the big bang; no matter; no space; no time; nothing temporal. From this, it appears that the early universe is reducible to an extentionless point, which somehow exploded from nothing. This seems to fit nicely with creatio ex nihilo.

    Of course, there are the multi-verse theories and the idea, although I don’t know if it is still operational, that the universe oscillates between expansion and contraction in an eternal process repeating itself about every 80 billion years. However, the contingency argument is indifferent to whether the universe had a beginning, so these things really seem irrelevant because, according to the contingency argument, even if the universe is eternal it would still require God to keep it in motion or sustained.

    The most alarming possibility, if it is a possibility, for the theist is if a natural explanation is provided for what caused the big bang–considering the recent advancements in science, perhaps, this is not an unreasonable expectation–but, as of yet, that has not occurred and maybe a natural explanation cannot be provided or can but never will.

    Finally, the primary problem for the cosmological argument is that it requires a bit of a leap in logic to get from the First Cause to a personal, completely good Creator. The cosmological argument may lead one to accept that the world was created in time and it may offer a solid foundation for a divine creator, but more is needed before one gets to the God of theism. In the spirit of more evidence, many theists find Plantinga’s modal ontological argument–which maneuvers past Kant’s criticism that existence is not a real property. Or does it? In my mind, Plantinga still seems to be defining God into existence–combined with the cosmological argument is a persuasive argument to get from the First Cause to the maximally great being of theism. Plantinga’s argument just shows that if God exists, he is perfect, but it does not prove God exists, particularly since possible worlds don’t exist. However, if one can prove God exists, then Plantinga’s argument can, though controversial, get one to the maximally great properties of the God of theism, which is why the combination of the cosmological argument and Plantinga’s modal ontological argument is so convincing for many. However, considering Plantinga’s argument fails to establish the existence of God; only his perfection, if he does exist, then the entire ability to move from the First Cause to a perfect God resides on the strength of the cosmological argument to prove God’s existence, which as of yet has failed to establish with any abundant persuasiveness the existence of God.

    Concerning myself, I remain unconvinced by either side, intellectually. In fact, from an intellectual perspective, if someone asked if I believed in God, I would respond, “No and yes.” Why would I respond that way? Because it is good to look at both sides of a question. Even still, I am emotional as well as rational, as Asimov once remarked. Despite my intellectual reservations, I so thoroughly believe God, in the theistic sense, does not exist that I just don’t want to fuck around about it. To put it a little differently, I see the non-being of God rather than the being, which makes God nonexistent, for me at least. That is why I am an atheist. Of course, I could trot out the problem of evil or the hiddenness of God or flaws in religion or the superfluity of god concerning natural phenomena, but, while all those things play a part in my atheism, when I look to where the theist says he sees the divine; I see nothing. That is why I am an atheist.

    Apologies for the long comment.

    Regards

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    • makagutu says:

      Hello mate, you need not apologise for the length of the response, I don’t think it could be made any shorter. That said, I must first say it is such a good response and thanks for the clarification on Krauss equivocation in the use of nothing.
      Whereas I agree with you mostly, I have some objections.
      It is possible that the premise 4 in the first argument appears correct, if god or whatever first cause is posited, to create the universe they must have willed it. What could have influenced this willing? Was there something else that made the whatever first cause to will the universe in place, something out of itself?

      However, in all of this, I haven’t said anything that justifies matter creating itself, but I have said something that necessitates a first cause if the pre-existent Universe was nothing, meaning not anything. Matter cannot be created or destroyed, if matter already exists

      My problem with this is if we posit a first cause for matter and also hold there was nothing, how then did this first cause create matter and where did it fetch the raw material to create matter?

      then the universe is a mere unintelligible brute fact.

      I don’t think so. By considering the universe as natural and intelligible we are able to make inferences about the universe. So I think we should rephrase the statement to read that the universe is a brute fact.

      An actual infinite number of events cannot exist.

      I think Craig’s argument suffers the same fate as all others. Is he saying an actual infinite number of events cannot exist because he can’t count to infinity or what does he use to come to this conclusion? The premise 2 and 3 depend on their strength on the truth of premise 1. And I think premise one is not true so the conclusion he makes in 3 based on it is wrong.

      Every being that exists is either contingent or necessary.

      This premise is true but why can’t the necessary being be the universe? Nature contains everything and supports everything. Why posit god as necessary while the universe can be said to be necessary. It appears to me to be a sufficient cause in and of itself. I therefore see no need for the god hypotheis.
      In Atheism Explained, David S. Ramsey advances this argument about the totality of the universe

      In order to maintain clarity, it would be useful to have a word that is defined to mean everything that exists, and I propose the word ‘metaverse’. It’s part of the definition of ‘metaverse’ that there can never be more than one metaverse, and there can never be anything outside the metaverse . If there are many universes, they are all by definition parts of the metaverse. If there’s a God, then by definition either he is the metaverse or he is part of the metaverse [pg 92].

      in this sense therefore it would be absurd to posit a first cause of the totality of everything that exists and say that thing first cause is part of everything that exists.
      I leave a god a very slim chance of existing. I leave my life as if there is none and if one were to show itself in future when am still alive, I would alter my position on its existence.
      I hope to hear what you think.

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      • Persto says:

        Hi Makagutu,

        Thank you for the courteous and thoughtful response. Also, I am sorry for the late reply. I have been quite busy the last couple of days.

        “Was there something else that made the whatever first cause to will the universe in place, something out of itself?”

        Perhaps, but one would have to prove, logically, this something’s existence is more likely or equally as likely as God’s existence. And, additionally, one would have to prove that this something’s existence is necessary for the world’s and God’s existence. Not to mention, following Anslem, if there exists a being/thing for which nothing greater can be conceived, as you seem to be getting at, then that being/thing is God itself; not something outside of God.

        “how then did this first cause create matter and where did it fetch the raw material to create matter?”

        I would think in a mighty explosion and from the heat produced by processes associated with the birth and death of stars, all the basic elements known to man were generated from vast amounts of hydrogen, the first and simplest product of cosmic evolution.

        As for the metaphysical aspects, if the Creator of the Universe were capable of creating the Universe, then he should be capable of creating the processes that allowed for the creation of the Universe.

        “So I think we should rephrase the statement to read that the universe is a brute fact.”

        A brute fact is a fact that does not depend on other facts. It needs no further explanation than itself. The Universe could only be a brute fact if it is an unintelligible brute fact. Which is to say, the Universe depends on other basic facts for its truth. So, it cannot be a mere brute fact, but, if the Universe was said to need no further explanation than itself, then the Universe would be an unintelligible brute fact because the Universe, as we currently understand it, would truly be impossible to understand without further explanation.

        “Is he saying an actual infinite number of events cannot exist because he can’t count to infinity or what does he use to come to this conclusion?”

        Craig is pointing out the absurdity of an actual infinite number.

        For example, imagine a hotel with a finite number of rooms. Suppose, furthermore, that all the rooms are occupied. Let us say a guest arrives, asking for a new room, the manager responds, “Sorry, we are full; no vacancies.” Makes sense.

        Now, imagine that the hotel has an infinite number of rooms and that they are full. The guest asks for a room and the manager signs him in a room. Now, even though the guest was signed in, no more people are at the hotel after the guest arrived than before the guest arrived. That seems absurd.

        Now, suppose an infinite number of guests apply for rooms at the hotel with an infinite number of rooms that are full. The infinite number of guests are signed in. How? Just move every former occupant to a room twice their previous room number. Because any natural number multiplied by two is always an even number, all the present guests are able to move into rooms with even numbers, leaving an infinite number of odd-numbered rooms for the infinite number of new guests. Yet, there are just as many guests as there were before the new guests arrived. Absurd, no doubt. I mean, the hotel is full, but has an infinite number of vacancies. Seems quite absurd.

        In Craig’s mind, these absurdities indicate the impossibility of an actual infinite series of events, including an infinite regress of events or causes.

        “Why posit god as necessary while the universe can be said to be necessary.”

        Firstly, a thing cannot be both necessary and contingent. Now, for most theists, the idea of a necessary being is that it must exist in all logically possible worlds, following Leibniz. That is to say, a necessary being is one that must exist everywhere; a contingent being is one that just so happens to exist, but did not have to exist. The Universe did not have to exist and, in that sense, it must be contingent. Not to mention that, in my mind, every person and every object in the world is contingent. Seeing as how those contingent things are the Universe I don’t know how the Universe could be anything but contingent.

        “It appears to me to be a sufficient cause in and of itself. I therefore see no need for the god hypotheis.”

        Are you advocating causa sui? That something can cause its own existence? The Universe, as contemporary cosmology indicates, began at a single point–singularity–from which it exploded and rapidly expanded, an event called the Big Bang. It seems, then, that the primordial universe is reducible to an extensionless point, which somehow exploded from nothing. (Creatio ex nihilo, apparently) So, within our current understanding of the Universe, if humans accept that the Universe caused its own existence. We are saying: something can come from nothing and something can cause itself to exist. Accepting these things as well-founded seems like a larger leap of faith than God did it. Of course, that could change as the evaluation of natural phenomena offers new insights about the structure and, possibly, the origin of the Universe.

        “in this sense therefore it would be absurd to posit a first cause of the totality of everything that exists and say that thing first cause is part of everything that exists.”

        Only within the context of Ramsey’s definition. It seems this is just a verbal trick. It appears Ramsey suggests God doesn’t exist because, by his definition, God would be contradictory. Well, what if I were to make a unicorn’s non-existence contradictory by definition. Suppose I define a unicorn as a horse with horns. No unicorns exist. But suppose I define a unicorn as a unicorn exists. Now, unicorns exist because unicorns exist by definition. Ramsey is guilty of Kant’s criticism of defining something into existence. Also, Ramsey fails to demonstrate how God would be part of the ‘metaverse,’ if he created the ‘metaverse.’ The only thing he said that supports this claim is that the ‘metaverse’ means everything that exists. Therefore, by his definition, if God exists, then he would be part of the ‘metaverse’ because, as his definition requires, nothing can be outside of the metaverse. How does he justify this claim without appealing to his own fabricated definition?

        Existence is an odd kind of property that has no meaning without first-order properties. This is why we label it a second-order property. It tells us whether the other properties are actualized or exemplified. All Ramsey has done is define a ‘metaverse’ into existence by simply building the concept of existence into the definition. Not to mention his statement is tautologous. His statement is “constructed in such a way that the truth of the proposition is guaranteed and that, by defining a dissimilar or synonymous term in terms of another self-referentially, the truth of the proposition or explanation cannot be disputed.” There are other problems as well, but I am limited by time.

        “I leave a god a very slim chance of existing.”

        I agree, the existence of a theistic god seems less likely than his non-existence, but I think the cosmological and ontological arguments, when combined, are a stronger argument for God than is assumed by many atheists. At the very least, they make the discussion about the existence and non-existence of God more complicated than and, not nearly, as elementary as ‘God is stupid.’ (Of course, I am not implying this is your intellectual approach. Just the approach of many atheists.)

        Regards

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        • makagutu says:

          Thanks mate for the several insights. There is no need to apologise for a late response. I checked your blog and it says you are a student so I understand you can be short for time.

          Not to mention, following Anslem, if there exists a being/thing for which nothing greater can be conceived, as you seem to be getting at, then that being/thing is God itself; not something outside of God.

          I think it is always possible to think of a greater being so I wouldn’t allude to this position and if I led you to this conclusion it couldn’t have been intentional.

          Do you think the universe needs further explanation other than itself?

          I agree with you on Craig’s example though I don’t think the idea of infinite numbers is absurd since there will always be a prime number greater than 1. I don’t see any absurdity. It only becomes absurd when he tries to apply it to human constructions like hotels and so on, applied to the universe I see no absurdity whatsoever. Maybe am wrong, but that is how it appears to me.

          From the Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy, they say this

          It is commonly accepted that there are two sorts of existent entities: those that exist but could have failed to exist, and those that could not have failed to exist. Entities of the first sort are contingent beings; entities of the second sort are necessary beings.

          and I think the universe is a necessary thing. It couldn’t have failed to exist.

          If as cosmologists posit the existence of parallel multiverses from where our universe could have come as a natural product, then that singularity leading to the big bang is not nothing. Tell me if am confusing terms here.

          Ramsey is not saying god doesn’t exist. He is saying even if one were to exist, it would be part of everything that exists which he calls the metaverse. He says talking about universe and multiverse leaves people with room for thinking there could be a different place apart from the universe where god could exist, a god above nature. So I agree it is a word he has coined but if you accept the idea of multiverses, then a term that includes all possible universes is really not out of place. I see no contradiction unless you can point one out for me.

          but I think the cosmological and ontological arguments, when combined, are a stronger argument for God than is assumed by many atheists.

          I don’t think so. The cosmological argument has a problem with it’s premises and the ontological argument can be used on anything. What stops you from applying it to let us say the devil or an island or anything for that matter?

          here is a look at ontological arguments and their problems[ I haven’t read the whole article]

          Regards and look forward to hearing from you whenever you got time.

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          • Persto says:

            Hi Makagutu,

            Thank you for your assessment and politeness.

            A challenge similar to this was posed to me once(note the attributes of a necessary being at the bottom of the reply): Try to think of some thing which exists in all logically possible worlds (i.e., is a necessary being), and which isn’t identical to what the Theist refers to as ‘God’. To say it another way, what being’s essence involves existence without that being’s being the being that theists refer to as ‘God?’

            “Do you think the universe needs further explanation other than itself?”

            Not necessarily, but I think that something coming from nothing and something causing itself to exist are logically confused and empirically unverified.

            “It only becomes absurd when he tries to apply it to human constructions like hotels and so on, applied to the universe…”

            Ahhh, now I see your objection. Yes, but that is why Criag’s argument is so convincing. He distinguishes between an actual infinite and a potential infinite. Your objections, that he can’t count to infinity and that there are an infinite number of prime numbers and Craig shouldn’t apply infinity to real world things, would be valid if Craig were talking about a potential infinite. He is not. Craig is talking about an actual infinite number, which would have to be coherent when applied to real world material. A potential infinite is better called an indefinite number of things rather than an infinite. It’s duty is too increase towards infinity as a limit but never get there. An actual infinite must get there. I should mention that in the case of the argument of contingency a beginning point is irrelevant. As Copleston said, “An infinite series of contingent beings will be, to my way of thinking, as unable to cause itself as one contingent being.”

            “It couldn’t have failed to exist.”

            I am confused. The existence of the Universe was guaranteed? In what way? This opinion seems to run counter to the way in which natural phenomena operates. Do you think the appearance of not-so-different humans 200,000 years ago was guaranteed?

            “then that singularity leading to the big bang is not nothing. Tell me if am confusing terms here.”

            With respect, yes, you are confusing terms. Big Bang cosmology does not posit multi-verses, but says space and time were created in the Big Bang event and so was all the matter in the universe. It is not meaningful, in an empirical sense, to ask what happened before the Big Bang, any more than it is meaningful to ask what is north of the North Pole. Relatedly, it is not sensible to ask where it took place. The event was not a point or object isolated in space, but was the entire universe. From the viewpoint of Big Bang cosmology, the Big Bang happened everywhere. So, within Big Bang cosmology, the Big Bang was a first point-universe and there is nothing material outside of it. No quantum vacuum. No multi-verse.

            Of course, if there is some multi-verse ensemble spawning new universes, then the argument of causality fails. However, the multi-verse notion, I should add, falls remarkably short of proving its essential claims, it is way outside the precepts of empirical study, and it is not a mainstream scientific opinion.

            Additionally, as I mentioned above, the argument of contingency is unconcerned with an infinite regress of causes because so long as there is one contingent being then there must be, at least, one necessary being.

            “I see no contradiction unless you can point one out for me.”

            Ramsey is merely saying that existing, by definition, makes whatever exists a part of the ‘metaverse.’ Fine. But he has not shown how God would be part of this metaverse other than by appealing to his own definition, which, falls prey to Kant’s criticism, because he builds existence into his definition. Not to mention it is tautologous.

            Ramsey indicates that nothing can be outside the metaverse. How does he arrive at this conclusion? What if I said: everything that exists is part of the metaverse except God because he is outside of the metaverse. Therefore, God is not part of the metaverse. You would, rightfully and quickly, point out the problem with that argument. The only difference with Ramsey’s argument is that, instead of placing God outside the metaverse, Ramsey places god within the metaverse. Both arguments are irrevocably unsound and unconvincing because they are prejudiced from the get-go.

            “The cosmological argument has a problem with it’s premises and the ontological argument can be used on anything.”

            Yes, the cosmological argument has problems that I pointed out–they don’t provide one with a personal or benevolent god and they do not, entirely, rule out the possibility of an eternal universe–but these problems are not so great as to make the argument invalid and unconvincing. For one they establish, in my opinion, as incoherent the notions of an uncaused caused and an infinite regress and the contingency argument establishes with somewhat less certainty the idea that there are contingent beings to the necessity of an independent or necessary being.

            As for the ontological argument, it is difficult to assess in all its multifarious ramifications and no version has been successful in proving the existence of God. However, it does appear to provide one with an idea of an adequate God, one who is maximally powerful and benevolent. Although, the issue is controversial.

            Having said that, the strength of these two arguments is most apparent when they are combined. For one establishes, with some persuasiveness, the existence of God and the other attempts to establish, with some power both in Anslem and Plantinga, the god of theism.

            “the devil or an island or anything for that matter?”

            Quickly, these are pertinent objections. As for the Devil, some might say it is contradictory to suppose a best possible being and a worst possible being both exist, for they could not be both all-powerful, so something must be wrong with this form of the argument. As for the island, well that is Gaunilo, and–read this before you answer the first question–as others have noted, some properties do and some properties don’t have intrinsic maximums. So, in other words, one could always imagine a more wonderful island. On the other hand, the properties of God have intrinsic maximums. For instance, one could define perfect knowledge this way. For any proposition, an omniscient being knows whether is is true or false. An omnipotent being can do anything that is logically possible. An omnibenevolent being will always do what is right in terms of maximizing the good.

            However, the objections provided only object to proving that a being exists or necessarily exists. Not any objection, that I know of, disputes the logical flow from necessary entity to maximally great entity. So, if the cosmological arguments appears to prove the existence of God, one could, reasonably, employ the ontological argument to get to the Theistgod.

            Regards

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            • makagutu says:

              Persto hope you are well and will excuse my revisiting this post after such a long time.

              The cosmological argument tries to prove to give support to the ontological argument albeit in a roundabout way. It starts by borrowing from experience that things in the universe have causes, then jumps to the ontological argument in its conclusion. Even if one were to agree that there is design in the universe, it would only go so far to prove there is a designer or a team of designers. To say that there is one designer would require special pleading. As to the ontological argument, the idea of a necessary being confounds issues for no reason. It is neither here nor there. Once something has come into existence, it is necessary. So you ask what is the one that would exist in all possible universes if not the god of theism and I will respond nature or rather its laws.

              Do you think matter can be created or destroyed? If it can’t be created, then you and me can only reach one conclusion that it has always existed and thus it becomes the efficient cause of everything there is.

              I don’t think I need to respond further to Craig’s claims about infinity. One infinity is useful as a mathematical concept beyond that you will have issues explaining what it means. I don’t think WLC claims are persuasive.

              Lastly on the definition of omnipotence, would an omnipotent god commit suicide? Or does an omnipotent god eat or what would it eat if it chose to eat. Eating involves no logical contradictions.

              Lastly your criticism of the devil not being maximally bad is not correct. The monotheistic religions present the devil to have as much power as god except in the negative or else how would they justify its continued existence. Besides they say that at the end of times, when god has chosen those fit for damnation, the devil will be in charge. He and god seem to exist side by side with equal but negative power unless of course you agree that the devil is god’s alter ego.

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  13. Zande says you posted something that specifically tackles suicide?

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