Nothing from nothing

A comment was posted to the Evidence for atheism thread that I think is worth responding to because it comprises many common anti-atheist arguments. I’ve broken the original comment up to keep my responses in context, but have not edited it.

The world is far too complex to be created out of nothing. Something can’t come from nothing, point blank. Anyone to say that it can is illogical.

Let’s give these statements a good, hard look. Your first statement implies that it is harder to make a complex thing out of nothing than it is to make a simple thing out of nothing, but your second statement says flat out that it is impossible to make anything out of nothing, regardless of its complexity. For this reason, I’m going to assume your first statement is misphrased and ignore it.

So, how do we know that something can’t come from nothing? You say that it is illogical to say that something can come from nothing. Can you prove this logically without assuming beforehand what you are trying to prove?

The fact is, we have no direct experience with new things being created — whether from something or from nothing (to avoid some complexity, I’m ignoring quantum physics here even though its findings would help my case). It’s true that we have plenty of experience with things changing form — matter becoming energy, ice becoming water, trees becoming paper, etc. — but in none of these cases is something actually being created in the sense that there is more matter/energy in the universe after its creation than there was before its creation.

That leaves us with two possibilities. Either it is impossible for anything to be created (in which case the universe was not created), or there is a way for things to be created but we have no experience with it. If we have no experience with the way things are created, then the only way we can make statements about the process of creating new things is by use of logic. But I can think of no logical argument that prohibits something being created from nothing, and if there was such an argument then we would have to agree that God couldn’t make something from nothing because even an omnipotent being cannot violate the rules of logic.

To every design, there is a designer.

It is true that the word design implies a designer. But this is irrelevant to the conversation because you haven’t shown that anything was designed.

Another thing to consider when asking if their is a God is this: where did morality come from? Throughout the entire infrastructure of humanity there is an “unwritten law” of human ethics. A yearning for knowledge, and a sense of right and wrong. What is honorable, and what is unjust.

A yearning for knowledge is not a feature of morality, so I’m going to ignore it.

A sense of right and wrong, what is honorable, and what is unjust exists in humanity, but varies culturally. In the Old Testament it was right to kill a woman for not making enough noise when she was raped. In some cultures it was honorable for a mother to kill her children in certain circumstances. A little over a century ago in western America, a death penalty for stealing horses was considered just. If our sense of right and justice was created by God and inserted into humanity, then why isn’t that sense consistent across all cultures?

As C.L. Lewis said in his book “Mere Christianity,” even the people that refute absolutes in morality, debunk themselves in their case, by trying to make excuses against accusations from others for them being “not fair” or “unjust.” In making an excuse for why they did what they did, proves that they do accept a standard for morality, or they otherwise would not care enough to make an excuse.

I agree that there are absolutes in morality. However, I think they are absolute because they are logically required, not because they are divinely commanded.

Posted on December 27, 2010 at 10:45 am by ideclare · Permalink
In: Discussion, Theology

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