Saturday, 20 September 2008

Atheist Arguments I Don't Like #1

Atheists aren't all perfect people. They don't always have intelligent things to say. Here are some arguments Atheists often make that I DON'T agree with:

1: "If God was the creator... what created God?"

This video is a debate broadcast on ABC's nightline.

On the surface this seems like a clever ploy to stop a creationist in his tracks. The answer an Atheist wants here is for the creationist to say "Well nothing created god. He always WAS". And then the Atheist replies, "Well don't you believe that the evidence for a God is that everything you see, like an eye or the famous pocket watch, must have been designed by a greater power? Then doesn't that apply to God as well?".

The religious person's answer is simply: "No. He's god. It doesn't apply to him." And that makes sense!

The Atheists argument is one of "infinite regress". Who created God? God's creator. Who created God's creator? God's creator's creator... and it goes on. It serves no purpose to reach an answer and can easily be argued against by creationists.

If God is who they say he is, this all-powerful, all-knowing being, then he MUST be outside the laws of our universe. I find it easy enough to believe that IF the universe was created by a higher power, that higher power would be so far beyond our understanding that it is basically useless to try to understand it. We live in a world governed by time and physical laws, so we think in those terms, but if God is real and he created those laws, he must exists OUTSIDE those laws, and therefore to say God has always been there is perfectly understandable.

Unfortunately for creationists, the fact that there is no EVIDENCE for this, or for any existence of God still means I'm an Atheist. Philosophically I can see how the argument works, and why Atheists are wrong to use that argument, but it most certainly is NOT a PROOF of God's existence. The other interesting thing about this argument, is that if God exists outside our universe and our laws, it becomes impossible for us to ever prove of disprove his existence. Hence the on-going debate!

Atheists will say "There is no evidence for God", and they'd be correct. Creationists would say "Well you can't prove he DOESN'T exist", and they'd be correct as well. The point though, is that the "evidence" in favour of God's existence only comes from personal experience and observation, even though it may be shared by many people. There IS an answer to whether God exists. We may never find it, but our best chance at the moment, is to try to find it through science, and not through looking at the world and simply deciding: "Yep, I don't understand everything, therefore God did it."


Bil said...

Nice post. You're right that there is a problem with the argument (first cause argument as it is known).

And the response has problems.

But if you want to disagree with the atheist argument, you don't have to throw out the bathwater with the baby. Because if you say everything would be outside of what we understand- i.e. physics, time, other laws.. then what reason do you have to be making your argument - have you not thrown out logic too? It's a sort of nothing argument, you're getting rid of too many things at once.

A stronger position is to deal with the issue of infinite regress. Ask yourself - is it really logically impossible to have an infinite regress? Why do we assume there is some sort of contradiction involved in infinite regress? ;) said...

If God dwells in eternity, then it's equally likely that infinite regress is possible in the same eternity, but other than being a good intellectual exercise, it doesn't help to answer any questions.

Logic needn't be thrown out if we consider god's existence outside physics and time, because we are still considering it with the tools of thought we have available to us, but it could be an argument used by a more intelligent creationist (!) to suggest that God created our notion of Logical thought. This is all a bit too Philosophical for me though...!

Jon said...

Personally I believe that even if infinite regress is "logically possible" as you put it, you still won't get anywhere.

"Infinite Regress is a futile tool whichever side of the argument you take, and this is entirely because it is IMPOSSIBLE to prove. Finite beings such as ourselves cannot travel or perceive anything outside of the chronology of this world; we are bound to it and limited by it. We cannot therefore comprehend the infinite as much as we try in vain to define it; we know it in concept, but not in practice. As such the concept of infinity is full of pitfalls for both sides of the argument. Unless we could somehow ‘attain infinity’ ourselves and look back from our vantage point over the history of finite time, right back to the beginning, could any evidence be offered to support the claims made by either side."

I kinda agree with Toby, but would say that if you were seeking a straight answer to this question you won't find it. Even if you look at cause and effect mechanics there is no way of proving either side wrong or right (assuming by 'prove' we mean to supply sufficient and overwhelming evidence) without first knowing the answer, thus rendering the question pointless in the first place.

I'd elaborate further, but it's

Jon said...

And to kinda go back to what Bil was saying it's not that I feel I'd be discarding the laws and rules we do have, but rather as the quote mentions we'd need to be in a position we cant humanly attain,in order to view time unrestrained by those laws. Only then would you be able to gather evidence.

Repeating myself a lot there.

Anonymous said...

Hey Toby/Ash, Dan/Kurtt here :D

I'll leave this comment here, as its the post with the most so far.

To give you some background, I believe in creation. Simple as. I'm not a creationist however. I don't believe God created the world in six literal days. I don't get involved in any creationist movements, political or otherwise.

I do, however, believe that God created the life, the universe, and everything in it in six creative 'periods'.

I'd be more than happy to go into some of my beliefs, why I believe them and so forth, but have no real time now. Suffice it to stay I've studied evolution fairy extensivly, and still do when the occasion presents itself. So don't dismiss me as an uneducated zealot :P

Before I go, theres an awesome YouTube video you need to check out. It involves the theory of ID, and the overall attitude toward it. Check it out here:


Dan said...

Thanks for your comment, Dan. I'll be writing a post soon called "Why I could be a Deist", which will probably relate more the theories of creation more than the posts I have so far, so if you feel like it, post your views on creation as a response to that one. It might be up tonight in fact.

Anonymous said...


I posted elsewhere that I thought that the word truth has no place in the discussion of the existence of a deity, but after giving it a bit more thought I think I was wrong.

It seems to me that faith is what happens when during the search for truth and meaning in life we run up against too many unknowns, or not yet knowns, or unknowables.

For most people that represents a challenge, and for some the response is to say "Well, I dont really know, but I know enough to be able to say I think THIS to be true". Arriving at that conclusion is where faith starts - we dont know something but we believe it to be true.

Faith requires not knowing, so that the person can put their trust in something they have no control over.

People of faith often talk about truth, but the truth they have found isnt an absolute. Its the truth for them - the faith that they have put in their unknowns.

Atheists often claim they know the truth because there is no proof of god. Again its not an absolute. The truth they have is simply in what they know, rather than what they dont know - they are secure in their truths and so dont require a belief in their unknowns.

So, it seems to me that the word truth has no place on either side of the argument here.

It belongs to both sides.