What is caused?

From the IAmAnAtheist.com comment form and personal correspondence

Your unending conversation is pointless. If there was a big bang then there was a being that caused it. Nothing that comes into existence does so without a cause. What’s so hard?

I’d be happy to discuss this with you. Just to make sure we are on the same page: you say that everything that comes into existence has a cause. Can you give me an example?

Pedantic much? Cars built by mechanic, baby born to mother, stars formed from a collection of dust. EVERYTHING that comes into existence has a cause except, you say, the universe.

Cars, babies, and stars don’t come into existence. Rather, something (an engineer, biological processes, gravity) causes raw materials to form into cars, babies, and stars. Are you saying that the universe was made from raw materials?

By the way, I don’t say that the universe was uncaused. But we’ll get into that after we agree what your question means.

Are you just word games? If there wasn’t a star then gas compresses into a star, then the star came into existence. The universe was not made by God out of raw materials because there was nothing before

This isn’t a word game; it’s an important part of our discussion. If you can say that a star came into existence when a cloud of dust contracted, can you also say that a small cloud of dust “came into existence” when a larger cloud of dust contracted? The small cloud wasn’t there before, after all.

Your argument seems to boil down to this:

1) Whenever something is rearranged to create something new, there is a cause.
2) The universe came from nothing.
3) Therefore the universe had a cause.

That just doesn’t follow. If I’m incorrect about what you mean in one of these steps, let me know.

1 is wrong. I am not talking about rearranging but about creating. 2 is wrong. The universe was created by God. 3 is true. Quantum physics is an example of things coming from nothing.

In #1, you have not shown me why you distinguish rearranging from creating. Adding God to #2 assumes what you are trying to prove.

Quantum physics is of no help to you here. If virtual particle pairs appear uncaused from nothing, then either you have to show that a creator makes them directly or you’ve just disproven your own argument by giving an example of something coming uncaused from nothing .

Rearranging is moving around. Creating is making something new. Whenever something is created there is a designer. The universe was something new out of nothing so there was a designer.

Even with your definition, you’ve still not shown how creating out of raw materials is analogous to the Big Bang unless raw materials also went into the Big Bang. And if the Big Bang used raw materials, then it could just have been the result of a natural process. God — any designer — is not implied.

You are also now saying that anything that is created has a creator. So are you saying that stars had creators? If you say that God is their creator, then once again you are assuming what you are setting out to prove. Saying “God must have made the stars, therefore God must have made the universe” isn’t at all compelling to someone who doesn’t think that God made the stars in the first place.

You’re an a*****e. You deny God, you deny that things are created by a cause. New things come into existence all the time and they are all caused. The universe came into existence so it was caused. It came into existence form nothing so God is the cause. It’s not brain surgery.

I agree that things that are created (by your definition) have a cause. I agree that new things come into existence, in the sense that new things are made out of existing materials. I agree that it is reasonable to assume that the universe had a cause. I disagree that the universe necessarily came from nothing. Why couldn’t there have been something natural before our universe? God is not necessary anywhere in any of this.

You don’t even listen.

Posted on August 26, 2010 at 6:56 am by ideclare · Permalink
In: Discussion

2 Responses

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  1. Written by OneDose
    on September 6, 2010 at 8:08 am
    Reply · Permalink

    I think you screwed this one up… You have to make it simpler. I understand what you’ve said because I’ve done the research, but he/she hasn’t and this is probably the reason they reject the counter arguments. You must be even simpler and get to “their” “level.”

    I would’ve said:

    1st law of thermodynamics says that matter cannot be created or destroyed. The examples you provided are not creations. All the atoms were present before the claimed “creations”, therefore it was a rearrangement of atoms, not creation. These scenarios are different from the big-bang. Please address the points I brought up.


    No confusion, it’s all simple. This is how to convince them. Learn from me. :)

  2. Written by ereador
    on September 10, 2010 at 8:53 am
    Reply · Permalink

    Another way of looking at this philosophically (which is the only method, since your interlocutor has no grasp of the notion of evidence) is to accept the idea that everything that exists was caused. The difficulty here is that causation is contextual, not linear. The “first cause” argument in all its forms is unsupportable and truly empty. The religionuts seem never to be able to grasp this.

    The insertion of quantum physics is a just red herring; the guy has no clue what he is talking about.

    People who argue this way have a problem with quiddity, “thinginess” — they cannot lose the (Aristotelian/Platonic) idea that what we treat as discrete things have essences. As a necessary result of this confusion, your guy does not understand your discussion of rearrangement of matter being the process of what we call creation.

    I think it is useless to debate this person, because when it comes down to it, all his arguments consist of shouting, “God! God! God!” ad infinitum. You have already won the debate, but this person will never know it, much less admit it.

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