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 IAmAnAtheist » A Cosmological Argument

A Cosmological Argument

The below item is part of my "Conversations" series.

A Christian and an atheist discussing whether evolution should be taught in public school.

Kurt: I’d say it’s important that kids get a good, well-rounded science education.

Levi: I thought you wanted to allow discussion of God in science classes?

Kurt: I do, because science itself proves that God must exist.

Levi: How’s that?

Kurt: Science admits that the universe began in a big bang. Anything that comes into being must have had a cause, and that cause must be uncaused otherwise it would need a cause of its own.

Levi: That doesn’t mean that the cause of the universe had to be God. It could be a natural process.

Kurt: No, it couldn’t. There is no possible natural process that’s sufficient to explain the universe. Only a personal god would be a sufficient cause.

Levi: You’ve completely lost me there. How do you figure that a personal God is needed? And what do you even mean by "personal god?"

Kurt: A personal god is a god that has self awareness, morality, and thought. The creator of the universe must be personal because any effect must resemble its cause. An unthinking, impersonal creator couldn’t create a universe that has thinking, moral beings in it.

Levi: What do you mean an effect must resemble its cause? How do you get that as a universal rule?

Kurt: It’s just obvious. If a cue ball hits an 8 ball, it can give motion to the 8 ball, but only because it already has motion in it. A cause can’t cause anything that’s not already part of it.

Levi: What if I hit a flint 8 ball with a steel cue ball and they make a spark that sets the table on fire? Does that mean that the cue ball had fire in it because it was the cause of a fire?

Kurt: No, but the two balls had the makings of fire within them, and when they got together they caused the fire.

Levi: Then couldn’t the various elements of the universe have the makings of humanity in them and just have gotten together naturally?

Kurt: No. There is no combination of material thing than can make life or morality.

Levi: What if a scientist built a human being from scratch out of non-living parts?

Kurt: That’s not possible, but even if it was, the creator of the monster would still be a living man so the effect wouldn’t have anything the cause didn’t have in it.

Levi: But the scientist would not in any way be transferring some of his life to the creature in the way a ball transfers momentum to another ball.

Kurt: Yes he would. The creature would be a creation of the mind, which cannot exist without life. Not that it matters, because it’s impossible for a human to build something that’s alive.

Levi: I still don’t buy the rule about effects having to resemble a cause. If a rock hits a wheel it can make the wheel turn, even though the rock didn’t have the property of rotation.

Kurt: But it did have the property of motion, and rotation is just a kind of motion.

Levi: Living things are just a series of chemical reactions, and those chemical reactions don’t have anything in them that isn’t in what caused them.

Kurt: You’re ignoring the spark of life.

Levi: That’s because I don’t think there is one. Let’s put that aside since we’re not going to agree on it. Going back to the original question, if God created the universe and an effect must resemble its cause, then either the universe is immaterial or God has the property of being material, right?

Kurt: No. God is completely immaterial, but has the power to create material things.

Levi: How can He make material things without being material if the effect must resemble the cause?

Kurt: Material things are less than immaterial things, and an effect can be less than its cause. For example, a fast-moving ball can hit something just enough to make it move slowly.

Levi: That’s really hard for me to buy. Material and immaterial things aren’t part of some continuum. They’re entirely distinct. How can you say that material is a lesser form of immaterial?

Kurt: Immaterial things are clearly superior to material things.

Levi: Even if they are superior, that doesn’t prove that they’re related in any way. A diamond is more valuable than a chicken, but diamonds aren’t higher forms of chickens.

Kurt: That’s a false analogy.

Levi: The rules you’re working with sound so arbitrary to me that I can’t tell if it was a false analogy or not. I don’t see how you could prove to me that these rules are true, and I suspect that you wouldn’t be citing them if they didn’t support a conclusion that you already prefer. This is exactly why I don’t want this kind of thinking in our schools.


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Posted on June 10, 2013 at 8:33 pm by ideclare · Permalink
In: Conversations

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