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BigKazWSM747
04-25-2004, 08:33 AM
This summarizes it perfectly:

"Perhaps the simplest and easiest to understand is the argument of the First Cause. It is maintained that everything we see in this world has a cause, and as you go back in the chain of causes further and further you must come to a First Cause, and to that First Cause you give the name of God. That argument, I suppose, does not carry very much weight nowadays, because, in the first place, cause is not quite what it used to be. The philosophers and the men of science have got going on cause, and it has not anything like the vitality that it used to have; but apart from that, you can see that the argument that there must be a First Cause is one that cannot have any validity. I may say that when I was a young man, and was debating these questions very seriously in my mind, I for a long time accepted the argument of the First Cause, until one day, at the age of eighteen, I read John Stuart Mill's Autobiography, and I there found this sentence: "My father taught me that the question, Who made me? cannot be answered, since it immediately suggests the further question, Who made God?" That very simple sentence showed me, as I still think, the fallacy in the argument of the First Cause. If everything must have a cause, then God must have a cause. If there can be anything without a cause, it may just as well be the world as God, so that there cannot be any validity in that argument. It is exactly of the same nature as the Hindu's view, that the world rested upon an elephant, and the elephant rested upon a tortoise; and when they said, "How about the tortoise?" the Indian said, "Suppose we change the subject." The argument is really no better than that. There is no reason why the world could not have come into being without a cause; nor, on the other hand, is there any reason why it should not have always existed. There is no reason to suppose that the world had a beginning at all. The idea that things must have a beginning is really due to the poverty of our imagination. Therefore, perhaps, I need not waste any more time upon the argument about the First Cause." -(excerpt from Why I am not a Christian by Bertrand Russell.

To further the comparison. What are things made up of? Matter. What comprises matter? Elements. What are elements comprised of? Molecules. What are molecules comprised of? Atoms. What are atoms comprised of? etc.

Heavily Armed
04-25-2004, 08:47 AM
Originally posted by BigKazWSM747
This summarizes it perfectly:

"Perhaps the simplest and easiest to understand is the argument of the First Cause. It is maintained that everything we see in this world has a cause, and as you go back in the chain of causes further and further you must come to a First Cause, and to that First Cause you give the name of God. That argument, I suppose, does not carry very much weight nowadays, because, in the first place, cause is not quite what it used to be. The philosophers and the men of science have got going on cause, and it has not anything like the vitality that it used to have; but apart from that, you can see that the argument that there must be a First Cause is one that cannot have any validity. I may say that when I was a young man, and was debating these questions very seriously in my mind, I for a long time accepted the argument of the First Cause, until one day, at the age of eighteen, I read John Stuart Mill's Autobiography, and I there found this sentence: "My father taught me that the question, Who made me? cannot be answered, since it immediately suggests the further question, Who made God?" That very simple sentence showed me, as I still think, the fallacy in the argument of the First Cause. If everything must have a cause, then God must have a cause. If there can be anything without a cause, it may just as well be the world as God, so that there cannot be any validity in that argument. It is exactly of the same nature as the Hindu's view, that the world rested upon an elephant, and the elephant rested upon a tortoise; and when they said, "How about the tortoise?" the Indian said, "Suppose we change the subject." The argument is really no better than that. There is no reason why the world could not have come into being without a cause; nor, on the other hand, is there any reason why it should not have always existed. There is no reason to suppose that the world had a beginning at all. The idea that things must have a beginning is really due to the poverty of our imagination. Therefore, perhaps, I need not waste any more time upon the argument about the First Cause." -(excerpt from Why I am not a Christian by Bertrand Russell.

To further the comparison. What are things made up of? Matter. What comprises matter? Elements. What are elements comprised of? Molecules. What are molecules comprised of? Atoms. What are atoms comprised of? etc.

I've never used the first cause argument. Until recently, I'd never heard of it. I'm learning all kinds of interesting things. What is God's origin? I don't know. Does our inability to glean all things above and beyond our physical reality prove or disprove anything? Yes. It proves our limits of logic in defining the totality of creation.

honeybbqgrundle
04-25-2004, 12:07 PM
I guess everybody has thought of that one several times in their lives, and religious people just base their ideas on faith. But the guy you quoted messed up. He says he has no reason to believe that the world hasn't always existed, and didn't need a cause. He came to this conclusion based on his assumption, which he later dismissed, that God had a cause and hasn't existed forever. Why couldn't a Christian simply say that God HAS existed forever and doesn't require a cause like this man assumes of the Earth? His reasoning brought him absolutely nowhere.

Actually it seems like just his personal reasons for not believing and not an attempt to disprove anything, so it makes sense now. But still, the idea of infinite time and space creates new problems and goes against modern science

honeybbqgrundle
04-25-2004, 12:17 PM
Originally posted by a. americanus
Yeap. Amazing how many words the atheists will use to try to bamboozle someone, innit?



I'm an atheist/agnostic, whatever the one is where I'm not religious but still try to keep an open mind. I can understand really religious people seeming irrational at times about their faith and not discussing it, but the worst is when supposedly open-minded people are anything but that. So both sides are to blame

I did read it over though and I don't think he was trying to discredit religion, but just to give his reasons for not being religious. It just seemed like he dismissed it too quickly.

btw I can't believe I read a post of yours that wasn't violently bashing all liberals or democrats and such. I'm sure it won't last though lol.

BIONIC MAN
04-25-2004, 01:32 PM
GOD made everything out of nothing can an atheist do that.

Quantum_Man
04-25-2004, 01:47 PM
As a Christian, I believe that God is not bound by anything we can say or think about Him. He created us after all, as well as the entire universe. God is not bound by time as we know it, He's God! I have faith that God always was, always is and always will be.

Personally I feel talking about PROVING/DISPROVING the existence of God won't get you anywhere. There is no definitive proof either way. For example a Christian has faith in God. An atheist believes in science rather than God for their own reasons, but even with that there is no definitive proof for God not to exist.

I think it would be more beneficial to talk about the person of Jesus, and what he did.

Cheyenne Press
04-28-2004, 12:52 AM
Of course there is a reason to assume that the universe had to have an origin. The very fact that matter exists today proves as much.

1) Matter may not be created or destroyed, but it can be transformed into energy

2) The universe is constantly moving towards greater entropy (disorder). Thus, energy cannot be transformed into matter unless less matter is formed than the matter needed to produce that same quantity of energy. (Think of it this way: you have to apply a lot external pressure to compress a fluid and to keep it from flowing everywhere.)

3) All matter is slowly decaying into energy through heat decay.

--->Our universe is constantly losing matter as it is transformed into energy, which is also being decaying into lower forms of energy.

--->As the quantity of matter in the universe is constantly diminishing and being transformed into the energy AND the fact that the transformation of energy into matter lags behind the transformation of matter into the energy, the fact that matter exists necessitates the fact that it would ultimately have to have an origin and could not have existed forever.

---->This would contradict scientific law.

(Note: even if you wanted to argue that the Big Bang worked like a yo-yo (with the universe expanding, gravitational energy forcing it to collapse, and then another Big Bang), eventually enough matter would be transformed into energy that the gravitational force in the universe would not be strong enough to re-collapse the universe, at which point the universe would slowly expand forever, lose heat, and die a cold death.

The fact of the ultimate cold death would also do away with the idea that the decay of matter would approach a limit as opposed to being reduced to zero and totally being transformed into energy. Great amounts of matter would have to be converted into energy to sustain the decrease in entropy caused by a collapsing universe, and thus, with each collapse, that limit would be shifted lower and lower until it hit zero or the universe died a cold death.

As for God needing a cause, even the Hebrew Scriptures refer to God as the Alpha and the Omega in one (the beginning and end). God, as creator of the universe, is not part of the universe. The Creator needs no cause, and if he sets the laws of the universe, then the fact that something needs a cause in his creation does not necessarily apply to him. If I paint all humans blue in a painting, then in that world, all humans are blue, though I myself am not, even though I am a human (I am not a part of that world). Or if I create robots who are capable of jumping only when they say the word "jaloppi," they will perceive that in order to jump, they must first say the word "jaloppi." That is a law of their universe. But I could, of course, jump when I say the words "cream soda."

Kane Fan
04-28-2004, 09:25 AM
the problem with this 'the first cause can't be used' argument is it's bull****
no proof is offered that things are not caused
it seems to imply that vaugley but certainly offers nothign that could be considered proof

also there is the simple basic fact that people want to explain God with science, and when science prooves incapable, then clearly God dosn't exist
well that dosn't work, God made it very clear that humans cannot percieve him in his truest form...
to attempt to codify and quantify God then is to pick and choose wich parts of what is written about him, you cannot do that
that really isn't even science...

what it comes down to is the Faith vs Science issue
neither can prove or disprove to the other
they are like different languages
repeated attempts at using bits and pieces of what is writen about God to 'disprove' his existence (but ignoring the rest wich is somewhat convienent) dosn't really do anything but annoy people with faith