Response to Atheist

An atheist friend brought up this rebuttal to William Lane Craig’s arguments in favor of God:

How would you respond to this rebuttal? Are there better arguments out there?

Thanks and God bless

He’s right that cause and effect don’t really seem to exist at the quantum level.

[quote=arizona atheist]I feel this statement about god not needing a cause is hypocritical because, as I noted in Against the Gods: “[Theologians] contradict themselves and claim their god is infinite and has always existed, though they can never articulate ‘where’ their god was or ‘what’ he was doing the eternity before he just happened to create this universe.” How can their god not need a cause, but the universe must?!

This is about the nature of God, and the nature of matter. God does not need a cause, because of his nature. Matter does need a cause, because, as we see around us, it operates by cause and effect.

[quote=arizone atheist]Again, as I’ve said already, just because Craig can’t imagine an infinite universe doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Simply arguing that it’s impossible without any proof is no argument.

Mathematics contradicts the idea of anything “infinite” actually existing. Unless we say that the rules of math do not apply to the universe (and I’m pretty sure they don’t apply to God), we cannot believe the universe is infinite.

[quote=Wikipedia: Infinity]In mathematics, “infinity” is often treated as if it were a number (i.e., it counts or measures things: “an infinite number of terms”) but it is not the same sort of number as the real numbers. In number systems incorporating infinitesimals, the reciprocal of an infinitesimal is an infinite number, i.e., a number greater than any real number.

[quote=arizona atheist]It’s odd that Craig would cite the second law of thermodynamics to prove his point, but at the same time ignore the first law, which states that “energy can be transformed (changed from one form to another), but cannot be created or destroyed.” [6] Given the first law, it would appear to demolish Craig’s entire Kalam argument about the universe needing a “cause.” Not that the above arguments I’ve presented thus far haven’t done this already.

I don’t know any philosopher who thinks that God is bound by the laws of nature. He created the laws of nature, and they did not exist prior to the creation of the universe, so God is not bound by them.

I was unaware of the concept of “pocket universes”. Is he citing the concept of multiple-universes? If so, then that is speculation.

Let’s see…

He cites two examples of “things happening without a cause” (emission of a photon and radioactive decay). Craig, however, is talking about “things which exist” (things, objects) and not about “things that happen” (events).

But let’s say he patches this part up somehow. Then we run into the next problem: both emission of proton and radioactive decay do have causes in the sense that is required. When physicists say that they do not, they mean that it is not clear why those events happened at that specific time. But there had to be an atom before it could emit photon or to decay. Why shouldn’t that atom count as a cause in the sense necessary for this argument?

And even if that part was patched up (I don’t think it can), there is still a solution - can he prove it was not caused by God directly…?

How can their god not need a cause, but the universe must?!

That makes as much sense, as “How can 1 have no preceding natural number, when 2 must have one?!”…

Then there is a whole part that can be nicely summarised by one sentence by one scientist he cites: “So, there are ways to get around having a beginning, but then you are forced to have something nearly as special as a beginning.”. He lists some stories, but it is pretty clear that evidence doesn’t inspire them as much as willingness to avoid the conclusion that Universe had a beginning… He doesn’t offer any evidence for any of them, yet he says that “even if created there are natural scenarios that are plausible and due to the lack of evidence for the supernatural, the naturalistic scenario is incredibly more likely”… That looks like wishful thinking…

I guess that should be enough for now…

I would say that both Craig and the Atheist are making an error in they both seemingly assume a predicate that goes something like this:

That God is subject to His own created rational (or human-understandable) universe.

Craig probably glosses over that, because he’s smart and is arguing for those that wouldn’t understand the predicate to begin with. But the Atheist is assuming (incorrectly) that predicate in his argument - a predicate that Christians would reject immediately.

He basis his argument on this statement:

*‘According to modern physics, however things can seemingly happen without cause. There are several things we observe that appear to have no cause. For example, “[w]hen an atom in an excited energy level drops to a lower level and emits a photon, a particle of light, we find no cause of that event. Similarly, no cause is evident in the decay of a radioactive nucleus.” [1]’

No physicist will tell you that these are examples of things that have no cause. Cause and effect are fundamental assumptions in the very theories that allow us to even have an idea of what is going on. Causal conservation laws are fundamental mathematical tools that develop the very theories of matter that lead to our being able to describe things.

There are no particles of light that magically appear. Three dimensional models of atoms and molecules are described in terms of forces which include weak and strong nuclear forces, coulomb forces, gravity, which produce a complex set of modes that atoms and molecules can exist in. These complex modes can change dynamically. Changes in an electron energy level (mode) results in an acceleration. Accelerating electrons produce electromegnetic fields which then can propagate away.

Radioactive decay can be modeled as a large radius atom where the weak (1/r^2) and strong (1/r^3) forces (which have opposite direction, one pulls in the other pushes out) are just in balance. So if the atom wobbles a bit (like a water balloon) some parts of the atom break off as the outgoing weak force is stronger than the in-pulling strong force. If we didn’t understand the cause and effect of these things we would not have nuclear energy.

He is trying to destroy a simple argument based on cause and effect by saying that he can point out something that violates cause and effect, but he has no idea what he is talking about. Just being smug. He must like stepping on ants too. Makes him feel powerful I guess.

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