Bad Arguments for God: Something from Nothing

So, says the theist. You can’t get something from nothing! Everything that exists has a beginning, a cause. So the universe has to come from somewhere. That cause is god!

Wrong.

  1. You can get something from nothing, vacuum fluctuations and virtual particles demonstrate this. There are also causeless events such as atomic decay that show you can, indeed, get something from nothing and uncaused events. So the claim that you can’t is bollocks.
  2. If you can’t get something from nothing, this argument would also apply to god meaning that you’d need an infinite amount of godly regression with each god being caused by a previous god forever, which is just stupid frankly.
  3. Any such cause needn’t be a god, let alone your god, even if you were right about it needing a cause.

Some theists who think they’re wily (the intellectual midget William Lane Craig for example) change this slightly from the cosmological argument (above) to the Kalaam cosmological argument which is essentially the same thing, but changes the wording slightly to say that anything that has a BEGINNING must have a cause and then conveniently says god doesn’t have a beginning. Obviously, this is still a childish argument and still doesn’t work.

  1. There’s nothing to say this uncaused cause has to be a god, any god, let alone yours, it could be anything.
  2. The universe can’t really be said to have a beginning per se as time and space are simultaneous and connected. There’s no ‘before time’ in which for any agency to act.
  3. There’s nothing to say non-existence is the default state of things in any case.Essentially these are all fallacious arguments from ignorance, based on presuppositions about the nature and state of the universe that we’re finding to be untrue.

The flaws of these arguments are so self-apparent and have been demolished for such a long time that it’s staggering that anyone would still use them.

Summary Judgement: Total bollocks.

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4 responses to “Bad Arguments for God: Something from Nothing

  1. It is intuitively obvious that the earth does not move. Can you feel it move? It is intuitively obvious that the speed of light will depend on the relative velocities of the source and the detector.

    Only these intuitively obvious things are false.

    It is intuitively obvious that every effect must have a cause.

    Except, as you say, this is false.

    “Modern physics teaches us that there is more to truth than meets the eye; or than meets the all too limited human mind, evolved as it was to cope with medium-sized objects moving at medium speeds through medium distances in Africa. In the face of these profound and sublime mysteries, the low-grade intellectual poodling of pseudo-philosophical poseurs seems unworthy of adult attention.” Richard Dawkins.

  2. Hello there. I would like to correct a few errors here.

    1 – Does quantum physics demonstrate that something can come from nothing? No. These events that you described are cases of undiscovered causes, not uncaused events. There are several possible causes for these events, but it is not the cause that they are uncaused.

    2 – Would God be something from nothing? No. As the cause of space and time, God would necessarily be beyond time; eternal. Thus he would not have come from nothing at some point in the finite past.

    3 – Does the cause of space and time need to be a God? I prefer, in this case, to say personal transcendence. If you look at these First Cause arguments more closely, there are always philosophical reasons for believing that the cause is plausibly a personal transcendence. For example, there are only two types of things that fit the description “timeless and spaceless,” which are abstract objects or personal objects. But abstract objects do not stand in causal relations with anything. Therefore the cause of the universe must be a personal transcendence.

    4 – Can there be a cause of time, before time? You will notice that this objection, if it succeeded, would eliminate not only God as the cause of time, but it would eliminate any possible cause. The atheist would literally be left with saying that the universe just appeared uncaused out of nothing.

    5 – Does the question of where God came from defeat the argument? You sent me this question on twitter. The answer is no. The reason is very simple. In order to recognize that an explanation is the best, you do not have to explain the explanation. To say that A caused B, you do not have to say where A came from. This is basic philosophy of science. To say otherwise is to misrepresent causality. The cause of A can simply be left in open question for future inquiry.

    • 1. Incorrect. Nor is it the only example of an uncaused event (radioactive decay being another).
      2. Yes. It would. You are attempting to excuse something from the framework that you believe demands its existence. Such an exception can also be made for any other putative cause one can think of and so it gets us nowhere.
      3. The reasons are ones of tradition and arguments from ignorance/personal incredulity. “I don’t know. Therefore god.” and “I can’t believe anything else could do it, therefore god.” These are both fallacious.
      4. Yes, it would. Given the relationship of time and space this seems the most likely case. Though multiverse theory provides another option. Either way, no god.
      5. Yes. It does. Kalam is an attempt to get around this problem ‘turtles all the way down’ by declaring god to be an exception. See 2.

  3. Personal opinion:

    Apart from any world view a person may hold, If they were to purely look at his academic credentials and then hear someone calling William Lane Craig (WLC) an “intellectual midget” – I would say that this is unnecessary and quite misleading. After all if WLC is a midget intellectually where would that leave the majority of humans on the intellectual scale? Based on such a comment, I suppose they would rank very low indeed.

    If a person has an argument that is powerful enough to combat WLC arguments, then there is no reason to call him names to make the argument appear more powerful – the argument should speak for it self.

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