Deep Questions


This began as a script for a video I am making, but might as well post what I have so far.  I will post the video after I make it:

Theological questions:

Here is a little background, when I lost my faith, around the age of 16, I decided, quite suddenly, I was an atheist  I just could not believe anymore, no matter how hard I tried.  Little remnants of my past belief, in the case, Lutheranism, remained.  As the years went on, more and more of the vestigial parts of my believe fell away.  Belief in an after life, be it heaven or hell.  The concept of sin, original or otherwise and even if anything in the Bible ever happened, including the existence of a physical Jesus.

I try not to spend too much time on religion, but it is such an interesting topic, especially considering in the unites states, over 70% of the people believe in something.  As I got older, I really wanted to understand what religion, particularly Christianity means.  In my exploration, I encountered a few intractable questions I have never seen a proper answer to:

Why would an omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient god require, really, demand worship?  If I was all powerful and all knowing, why would I even care if one of my creations didn’t worship me?  In fact, this is more of a lack of character on a god’s part.  I create software and hardware all the time, but I don’t demand that my test systems worship me.  I don’t get angry that they don’t worship me.

The most common apologetic that I have encountered for this one is a circular argument, god demands worship because you should worship your god.

Why would a omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient god worry about its creations worry about worshiping other gods?  If you are the creator of the universe, you should be able to convince your creations pretty easily that you are real.  You would not worry about your creations worshiping a graven image.  If you are so real and powerful, why do even your chosen people wander away from you constantly?  A jealous god seems like a contradiction.  I have not seen an even half ass apologetic for this one.

The classic Euthyphro dilemma:  If something good because god demands it, or does does god command it because it is good? If it is the first part of the dilemma, good is subjective, it is the latter, good is external to god and we don’t need a god to know what is good or bad.  The most common apologetic for this is somehow worse that the original proposition. The apologetic says god is good by his nature and can not be bad.  Well, that makes god have less free will than us humans and still makes goodness an external proposition.  How did god get his good nature?  Can he not change his nature?  This would mean he is not a god.  It just makes the problem worse.

Why would a god get angry at his own creations, that did not have an understanding of good and evil, make an ethical decision that depends on the knowledge of good and evil?  Adam and Eve would not know what lying is, or if their actions would be good or evil.  If you were omniscient, you would know the creations that YOU made would make that decision.  Why did you make Satan?  Why did you put the tree in the garden?  I know the answer, this is just a silly story used to explain evil and why we have to farm and why women have hard pregnancies.  However, every apologetic for this story is just plain silly.

Why do you use “Objective Morality” as a proof of god?  It is nothing more than the Euthyphro dilemma with objective morality in the place of good.  How can morality be objective in any way?  Subjects, be it humans or god, are where morality comes from, so all morality has to be subjective.  Getting back to Euthyphro, You can restate the object morality claim as such: Is something moral because god commands it, or does god command it because it is moral?  Saying that god is the source of objective morality means you are just choosing the first horn of the dilemma, and you are back to subjective morality, or divine command theory.

How is eternal life possible?  Eternal life depends on there being an infinite reality, but that is not possible in this universe.  Nothing is infinite.  If we are resurrected, how does this work?  Wouldn’t our resurrected forms just be a duplicate or simulation of what we are?  It may have our memories, but it is not us.  What was us died when our brains died.  This problem exists with ANY kind of afterlife, be it heaven, hell, or some new age concept.  Why do we need eternal life?  Evolution and culture already figured out how to pass on what is essentially us, children.  They inherit our very DNA and we can pass down our values to them, to pass on to their children.  Our deaths are the price we pay to keep the species moving forward.

How do you know there is a soul? I don’t understand how brain/soul duality works.  I don’t even know how this is possible.  The brain thinks, that is its purpose, to process information from our senses and react accordingly to increase our chances of survival, as an individual and as a species.  If you damage your brain, your mind suffers.  I just watched my father die, trust me, once the brain is gone, that person is dead.  Where do souls come from?  How do the interact with the brain?  Why are they affected when you have brain damage?  When does the soul enter the developing fetus or child?  Is a soul an adult when it is created, or is it emergent?  The simpler answer is that should don’t exist.

Video!

Decided to try something new, after trying to read that Jordan Peterson book, I made a video!  I want to be your Atheist Dad, offering advice to you non-believers (or believers, if you like) that your dad never told you.  The language can get a little salty.  For this first vlog, I dive head first into Incels.  I will be your Anti-Peterson.

12 Rules

12 Rules

Trying something different, reading 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote for Chaos by Jordan Peterson

I am 1 and a half chapters into the book and I wanted to jot down some notes and casual observations.  I really want to give this book a fair shake and I will only comment after I read each chapter, not during.  I want to read to understand, not read to respond.

Forward: Skipped, written by some religious nut, don’t care.

Overture: So pretentious of a naming, I had to skip

Chapter 1, Lobsters, lobsters, lobsters, obvious self help drivel, somehow more lobsters.  Jesus, man, enough with the fucking lobsters. Verbose does not begin to describe the writing style.  You could cut 90% of the chapter and still convey the same information. His writing style is very jarring.  There are copious run-on sentences and and a pseudo intellectual style, immediately followed by simple, almost child like, sentence structure and vocabulary.  My impression is that this book was written for readers with limited education.  The peppering of simple sentences allows a less educated reader to follow along and believe they can comprehend his dreadful intellectual style.

Speaking of intellectuals, if you do have some higher education under your belt, which includes several writing classes, this book is very difficult to slog though.  As I mentioned before, run-on sentences are the rule, not the exception. He uses complicated words when simpler would do.  I am legitimately confused by his level of cognitive dissonance  In one section there are Bible quotes, the next going into the evolution of brain function over hundreds of millions of years.  I forgot to mention; at the end of several pages of evolutionary history is a childish Bible reading.  Pure Sunday school type reading, Genesis, Exodus, etc. with no real vigor and again, cognitive dissonance.  You can’t call it a book of myths and stories and then proclaim God scrambled our languages when the Tower of Babel fell.

Much like the Bible, this book beats you into submission with the repetition of metaphors.  The concepts are very simple, yet Dr. Peterson decides to provide up to NINE different examples to reiterate a simple point over and over and over and over and over and over.

I have to write as part of my job, I am an engineer, and part of being an engineer is writing procedures and reports.  Part of those reports are endnotes and references.  A little bit of free advice here:  Do not cite a source which does not apply to your statement.  I checked several of your sources and they either were not applicable or contradicted what you said.  A few were legitimate, but many were not.  I think the end notes were included to somehow convince the casual reader that there was a level of intellectual vigor went into compiling this book.  I was surprised to actually check the sources (why include them if you didn’t want to me check them?) and they often led to contradictions or a misrepresentation of what the original source was trying to convey.

This first chapter felt like an entire book.  A book to convey 2 simple pieces of self help.  Spoilers here: 1. Wake up at the same time every morning and eat a high protein and fat breakfast.  2. Stand up straight with your shoulders back and stand with confidence.  Fake it till you make it.  Yes, I know there is extensive research into acting a way will actually make you feel that way.  In case you were looking for something deeper, that’s it.  Wake up, eat a good breakfast, and stand up straight.

One last thing, LOBSTERS ARE FUCKING LOBSTERS.  They don’t have a brain, no less a brain that can melt (!)  Yes, he claims lobsters have brains and some sort of complex social system.  They can’t, they only have 800,00 neurons or so.  It’s a stupid analogy.  Who gives a shit if they have serotonin?  They are mostly water as well. So what?

Chapter 2:

Ugh, fuck, I thought the first chapter was bad.  About 20,000 rambling words on the Genesis story of Adam and Eve, from what I can tell, was completely pulled out of his ass.  In case you didn’t know, the entire story of Adam and Eve and the Serpent is one chapter of Genesis, in this case, Chapter 3.  This entire byzantine chapter is based on one man’s interpretation of 740 words.  The entire story of Adam and Eve is 740 words.  Entire books have been written, by far better authors, about 740 words.  I had to skim most of this chapter.  I don’t give two shits about Adam and Eve.  It’s a child’s story, total Sunday School stuff.  I wish Peterson would dive into more difficult parts of the Bible, if he continues to use the Bible as a primary source.  One other point, if you want me to take you seriously, don’t use a fucking emoticon.  He really uses a 🙂 in this stupid chapter.

Spoilers:  The last half page is devoted to the meat of the chapter, which is more or less the title “Treat Yourself Like Someone You Are Responsible For Helping”.  That’s it, just follow that advice.  Nothing wrong with that, but the arguments are weak and have surprisingly little to do with the other 95% of this rambling chapter about Adam and Eve.

Chapter 3:

That’s it, I’m done, I can’t stand any more of this drivel.  As soon as you tell me, as an atheist, that I don’t know what I believe, and I am not really an atheist, I am done with you.  No more.

This was the most soul crushing, depressing book I have ever encountered.  The tone is incredibly negative, especially considering this IS A SELF HELP BOOK!!!!!  I skimmed through random parts of the book, and every passage is terrible.  Quoting HITLER and mass murders.  I just can’t do it.  I was getting depressed reading this book and I had to stop.  I don’t have his negative view of the world and hatred of humans that Peterson has.  It is an unreadable book, full of outdated information, childish Bible interpretations, and mundane advice.  I hate this book and will never finish it.

 

Deaths

Where I have been.  In case you haven’t noticed, I have not posted anything to this site since May 9th.  On May 12, 2018, my mother in law, Judy died.  She had a sudden cardiac arrest, and the paramedics were not able to get her heart started.  We rushed up to her home as quickly as possible, but she was already cold by the time we got to hospital.  The next day, we had to make funeral arrangements.

She had converted to Judaism about 8 or 9 years ago, so I was able to experience a Jewish funeral, with her added special  request of hers: not to have any family, outside of immediate, or friends attend.  There was no wake or visitation, just a brief viewing at the graveside.  I have no way to convey how difficult it was for just 4 of us; father in law, wife, and 11 year old son.  Looking back, it was very selfish of her to deny friends and family that final closure.  It is what she really wanted, but I still regret not going against her wishes.

6 weeks later, my father had a sudden cardiac arrest on June 23rd.  Unlike Judy, the paramedics were able to get his heart started, but his brain was without oxygen for 5 to 8 minutes.  They followed a long protocol to cool his body down and then raise it back up to see how much brain damage had occurred.  It turns out, all that was really left was his brain stem.  On June 28th, it was decided to discontinue any life support.  He was surrounded by family, and his brainstem was able to keep his heart and lungs going for about 2 hours.  He could of been kept alive by machines, but he died on the Saturday, a few minutes after his heart stopped.

My Father’s funeral was very different, our whole family, his friends, and even his remaining brother came from Michigan to pay his respects.  The hardest part of the day was the fact it fell on my son’s 12th birthday.  The officiant suggested that we celebrate his birthday, and she even bought him a cake.  The funeral was very touching, and I was a pallbearer.  I spoke as well, telling a funny story about a pair of lost glasses and a van up a mountainside.  It was great to have closure.

When it is all said and done, I still don’t believe there is a god, or an afterlife, which makes the whole dealing with the death of loved ones all that much harder.  Now that I have seen what death looks like and how final it is, I know the truth,  dead is dead.  It is hard to know I will never see them again.  For anyone who says atheists just want to deny god to sin, has not thought of the repercussions of not being able to believe in a god.  This also means I can’t believe in an afterlife.  Do you really think I would want to give up the possibility of living in paradise, forever, for a few brief years of pleasure?

I know the pastor and Rabbi mean well during the funeral ceremonies, but I know they have no idea what happens to us after we die.  For all the talk of looking down on us and resurrection, the facts are there is almost no possibility of an afterlife, resurrection, or rebirth.  The only hope that I have is that that humans, or our machine creations, in the far future will find a way to save our memories and personalities at the point of death.  But, for now, when the 1.5 kilograms of brain stops working, that is the end, and that is a depressing thought.  I would rather live with that sad fact than live with a lie.

I really miss my Dad and my mother in law and I really am trying to honor their memories, but that is all I can do, since they are truly gone.

 

Relationships

“Christianity is a relationship, not a religion.”

How many times have you heard that phase?  Every time I have heard that phrase, I have been genuinely confused.  Of course Christianity is a religion, by all but the most convoluted definitions of what a religion is.  Do you worship a deity?  Do you pray to said deity?  Do you meet regularly to worship?  It’s a religion.  If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and has all the properties of a duck, it’s a duck.  To me the quote sounds like “A flock of ducks are a relationship, not a flock of birds.” Ducks, are by definition, birds. Christianity, by definition, is a religion.  However, this is not the most confusing point, the relationship part is what really gets me.

 

I am a 44 year old American man.  I have 2 brothers and a sister.  I have been married 15 years to the same woman.  I have a child.  I have been in several adult relationships and have adult friends and coworkers.  I know what relationships are with other human beings.  Heck, I even have a dog, and a relationship with her. (Love my little poodle.  Real men own poodles.)  I know how relationships work.  If I didn’t, I would not be employed, married, be part of a family, etc.  In a human relationship, we speak the same language, we communicate back and forth.  We share ideas, thoughts, dreams, fears, love, hate, everything that makes us human.  This two way communication is the very basis of human relationships.  Contrast this with a relationship with Christ.  He never answers, he never talks back, he will ignore you in a time of need and never respond, in any way.  If you believe he is talking back, I am sorry, that is in your own head.  Even compared to my dog, this is not a relationship.

 

Dogs hold a special place in relationship to man.  They were the first domesticated species, and one of the few allowed in our homes and even in our beds.  Both of our species have benefitted from this relationship.  In the beginning, dogs were domesticated because they have senses and abilities we humans lack.  Early humans recognized that dogs can smell and hear much better than us, can see better in the dark, and have claws and teeth that we lack.  They started as living machines to help us, but something changed, humans and dogs developed a relationship.

 

Ask just about any dog owner and ask if they can communicate with their dogs?  Most, if not all, will say yes.  I know with our own dog, she recognizes dozens of works and understands simple questions AND responds to them. She can do tricks and even remembers the names of the people in our house.  If I say “go find mama” she will find my wife, not my son and vice versa.  If you ask if she need to go potty, she will beg, or sit if she does not.  Same thing with asking if she wants dinner.  She will beg for belly rubs, or playtime  The point here is that even though we are different species and have vastly different intelligence levels, we have a relationship.  Compare this with a relationship with Christ.  Ask a simple question, no response.  It is far less of a relationship the compared to a dog, cat, heck, even a goldfish.

 

You can see a goldfish.  A goldfish can be trained and responds to its environment.  With Jesus, it is worse than a relationship with a plant.  You can talk to a plant and never expect a response.  It’s a plant.  It lacks a central nervous system, but even a plant changes, grows, and you can adjust watering, sunlight, temperature, and fertilizer to help your plant out.  The is SOME feedback there.  With a deity, nothing, zip, nada.  Pray, beg, write notes, you will never, ever, get a response.  How, HOW is this a relationship?

 

I have yet to hear an Christian (or Jew, etc.) explain HOW their faith in some unseen, unknown, undetectable, deity is a relationship.  How do you define relationship in a way that includes your *insert deity of your choice here* relationship?    I am not being snarky here.  How do you define relationship?  Is this definition the same for your human relationships?  If not, why not?

5 reasons

Thanks to Rachael Oats/Youtube, I also wanted to respond to this little gem from William Lane Craig himself.  Nothing new here, to be honest, just WLC’s standard stuff.  

 

So what reasons might be given in defense of Christian theism? In my publications and oral debates with some of the world’s most notable atheists, I’ve defended the following five reasons why God exists:

1. God provides the best explanation of the origin of the universe. Given the scientific evidence we have about our universe and its origins, and bolstered by arguments presented by philosophers for centuries, it is highly probable that the universe had an absolute beginning. Since the universe, like everything else, could not have merely popped into being without a cause, there must exist a transcendent reality beyond time and space that brought the universe into existence. This entity must therefore be enormously powerful. Only a transcendent, unembodied mind suitably fits that description.

Several problems here, the universe probably didn’t have an absolute beginning and it didn’t just pop into existence.  The solution to this non-problem is infinitely more complicated than the problem it was trying to solve.  Where did god come from?  How long did he wait in his transcendent state before creating the universe?  Has he done this before?  Why do you need a mind to create the universe?  The other HUGE theological issue is you have to reject YOUR OWN HOLY BOOK to accept modern cosmology.  The Bible DOES NOT describe how the universe began as modern cosmology understands it. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.  You accept the Bible or you accept cosmology.  If you are doing some sort of acrobatics in terms of interpretation, then you are NOT accepting the Bible literally.

2. God provides the best explanation for the fine-tuning of the universe. Contemporary physics has established that the universe is fine-tuned for the existence of intelligent, interactive life. That is to say, in order for intelligent, interactive life to exist, the fundamental constants and quantities of nature must fall into an incomprehensibly narrow life-permitting range. There are three competing explanations of this remarkable fine-tuning: physical necessity, chance, or design. The first two are highly implausible, given the independence of the fundamental constants and quantities from nature’s laws and the desperate maneuvers needed to save the hypothesis of chance. That leaves design as the best explanation.

Fine tuning is VERY misunderstood.  The so called fine tuning is descriptive NOT prescriptive.  As far as we know, since we only know one universe, these values are all they CAN be in this universe.  It is akin to saying that water freezes at exactly 0°C, super fine tuned, right?  Well, since the freezing point of water is what defines or describes WHAT 0°C is, this is stupid argument.  If the universe was fine tuned, why is only 0.0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001% of the total volume of it suitible for life?

3. God provides the best explanation of objective moral values and duties. Even atheists recognize that some things, for example, the Holocaust, are objectively evil. But if atheism is true, what basis is there for the objectivity of the moral values we affirm? Evolution? Social conditioning? These factors may at best produce in us the subjective feeling that there are objective moral values and duties, but they do nothing to provide a basis for them. If human evolution had taken a different path, a very different set of moral feelings might have evolved. By contrast, God Himself serves as the paradigm of goodness, and His commandments constitute our moral duties. Thus, theism provides a better explanation of objective moral values and duties.

There are no objective values.  Your holy book contains moral values that most reasonable humans would consider abhorrent.  Selling women as wives, how to buy and treat slaves, stoning people to death for adultery, and the new testament is WORSE.  Instead of actually performing a sin, all you have to do is THINK it.  I challenge you to show me what objective moral values are.  Not boiling a goat in its mother’s milk is NOT an objective moral value, but IS one of the Ten Commandments.  Don’t believe me?  https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus+23:19&version=NIV AND https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus+34:26&version=NIV

4. God provides the best explanation of the historical facts concerning Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. Historians have reached something of consensus that the historical Jesus thought that in himself God’s Kingdom had broken into human history, and he carried out a ministry of miracle-working and exorcisms as evidence of that fact. Moreover, most historical scholars agree that after his crucifixion Jesus’ tomb was discovered empty by a group of female disciples, that various individuals and groups saw appearances of Jesus alive after his death, and that the original disciples suddenly and sincerely came to believe in Jesus’ resurrection despite their every predisposition to the contrary. I can think of no better explanation of these facts than the one the original disciples gave: God raised Jesus from the dead.

The ONLY source for this life, death, and resurrection are the gospels.  How do we know the gospels are true?  Because god wrote the Bible.  How do we know god wrote the Bible?  Because the Bible says god wrote the Bible.  Circular logic anyone?  Why did no one else alive at the time notice 3 hours of darkness?  SAINTS COMING BACK TO LIFE AND WANDERING THE STREETS??????  You would think someone would of noticed ZOMBIES!!!

5. God can be personally known and experienced. The proof of the pudding is in the tasting. Down through history Christians have found through Jesus a personal acquaintance with God that has transformed their lives.

No, he can’t.  You think you are experiencing something, Jesus, but the EXACT SAME CLAIM can be made of Muhammed, Vishnu, and a thousand other gods.  People see shit that isn’t real.  I, personally, have never experienced any kind of spiritual/touch of god/woo magic.  Even if DID, it would be no basis in convincing others and not the truth. I know my senses can lie, and so can yours.

 

Looking for Jesus

I am making my way though The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel, but I have to pause and go and actually read the 4 gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, since this is his ONLY source of information on Jesus.  So, I will be skipping ahead to the New Testament in my Bible study.

Edit 2/15/2018:

You know what, now that I am about 1/3rd of the way through Matthew, anyone who believes in this shit is fucking nuts.  Seriously.  Raising people from the dead, cure the blind, sick, lepers, paralyzed, EXORCISING DEMONS INTO PIGS; did I mention RAISING PEOPLE FROM THE DEAD???????????  Not just Jesus, but his disciples, too!  You have to be fucking kidding me.  I don’t give a hairy rat’s ass when this was written, or by whom, IT IS FICTION.  Demons aren’t real AND DEAD IS DEAD.  There is no mostly dead, kinda dead, fucking dead is dead.  We are not talking about Jesus missing from his tomb, this is ordinary people being raised FROM THE FUCKING DEAD.  If you believe in this obvious mythology, you are delusional.

eDIT 3/19/2018

Sherlock Holmes and The Case For Christ

I have a confession to make, when I was a boy, I thought Sherlock Holmes was a real, actual person, not a fictional character.  The places he lived were real places, he had amazing powers of deduction, but no magic.  Why would I not believe he was a real person?  That is what happens when you don’t read the forward to a book, you assume that Dr. John Watson wrote the adventures of Sherlock Holmes, not Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  What am I talking about?  Well, because, while reading the Case for Christ, I was struck at every single justification for Jesus being a real person, risen from the dead, could be used for justifying the existence of a real Sherlock Holmes.

To make this more interesting, I will run a chapter by chapter rebuttal and name it The Case for Sherlock Holmes.

 

 

 

The Problem with Kalam

A favorite apologetic for many Christians is the Kalam Cosmological Argument.  This apologetic is stated as:

From Matt Slick:

Cosmological Argument

  1. Things exist.
  2. It is possible for those things to not exist.
  3. Whatever has the possibility of non-existence, yet exists, has been caused to exist.
    1. Something cannot bring itself into existence since it must exist to bring itself into existence, which is illogical.
  4. There cannot be an infinite number of causes to bring something into existence.
    1. An infinite regression of causes ultimately has no initial cause, which means there is no cause of existence.
    2. Since the universe exists, it must have a cause.
  5. Therefore, there must be an uncaused cause of all things.
  6. The uncaused cause must be God.

Thomas Aquinas (1224-1274) had a version of the Cosmological Argument called the Argument from Motion.  He stated that things in motion could not have brought themselves into motion but must be caused to move.  There cannot be an infinite regression of movers.  Therefore, there must be an Unmoved Mover.  This Unmoved Mover is God.

Although he is stating this as originating from Thomas Aquinas, it dates back far earlier than that, all the way back to Aristotle.  In fact, the modern name Kalam Cosmological Argument betrays a simple fact:  Kalam refers to Islamic teachings.  Herein is are my major argument against this apologetic.  It originated with Aristotle, which relates back to greek mythology:

In the beginning there was an empty darkness. The only thing in this void was Nyx, a bird with black wings. With the wind she laid a golden egg and for ages she sat upon this egg. Finally life began to stir in the egg and out of it rose Eros, the god of love. One half of the shell rose into the air and became the sky and the other became the Earth. Eros named the sky Uranus and the Earth he named Gaia. Then Eros made them fall in love.

As you can see there, the cosmic egg is a just as valid as the Biblical account of Waters from Waters, firmament, etc.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

 And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.

 And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place,and let dry ground appear.” And it was so.  God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.

Do either of these sound like how the universe actually started?

From Space.com

In the first second after the universe began, the surrounding temperature was about 10 billion degrees Fahrenheit (5.5 billion Celsius), according to NASA. The cosmos contained a vast array of fundamental particles such as neutrons, electrons and protons. These decayed or combined as the universe got cooler.

This early soup would have been impossible to look at, because light could not carry inside of it. “The free electrons would have caused light (photons) to scatter the way sunlight scatters from the water droplets in clouds,” NASA stated. Over time, however, the free electrons met up with nuclei and created neutral atoms. This allowed light to shine through about 380,000 years after the Big Bang.

This early light — sometimes called the “afterglow” of the Big Bang — is more properly known as the cosmic microwave background (CMB). It was first predicted by Ralph Alpher and other scientists in 1948, but was found only by accident almost 20 years later.

So, if you are a Christian (or Muslim) trying to argue that the Cosmological argument proves god, explain to me why your creation myth has no connection with how the universe actually started?  In fact, light was not even the first thing, it took over 380,000 years before light was even possible.  In fact, using this argument creates four HUGE problems:

  1. Your own creation myths have no relation to present theories as to how the universe began.
  2. You have no way to linking your particular god to the first mover, or uncaused cause.
  3. The violates the law of parsimony, by introducing a far more complicated solution, namely a timeless, spaceless, unchanging god that can create the universe out of nothing.
  4. By using this apologetic, you are ACTIVELY refuting your own personal god.

This fourth point is important.   Accepting the universe started with the Big Bang, followed by no discernable interaction for billions of years, eliminates the need for a personal god.  This apologetic really works against the concept of a god that answers prayers, cares about our sins, or interacts with the universe in any way.  This lack of the need of a personal god also works against the fine tuning argument.  If your deistic god started the universe and set all of the laws in motion and disappeared…you would have the universe as you see it now.

More on Kalam and other deistic apologetics.

For me, the most confusing aspects of the Kalam Cosmological are the abandonment of the Bible (or at least the old testament) and the first statement of any cosmological argument, namely that thing begint to exist.  First off, lets look into the abandoment of the Bible.

The first line of the Bible is “In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth.”  This, somehow, relates to Big Bang.  You can accept the Genesis at face value, or you can accept the standard model.  I suppose you could come up with convoluted interpretation of Genesis, but reading the actual words on the page “God created the Heavens and the Earth” I can’t help but contrast this with how the universe actually started.  The Earth began to form billions of years after this universe began.  Heck, even light was not possible for 300,000 years!  While you have apologetics that cling to the first cause, first mover, etc. accepting any of these explicitly forces the speaker to reject the Biblical Earth creation narrative.  Accepting both accounts as true is like finding a square circle or a married bachelor.  A 6 day creation that also took billions of years, in the opposite order, is logically impossible.  There is also a misunderstanding of what begins to exist actually means.

Strictly speaking EVERYTHING came into existence at the same time, at T=0, the first instant of the big bang.  Energy and matter CAN NOT be created or destroyed, only change from one to the other, or the patterns can change.  Everything is the universe is the same age AS the universe.  It just has been changing forms and states for that entire time.  The matter in your body, stars, the electricity that powers your computer, all came into existence when the universe began.  I repeat:  NOTHING has come into existence since the universe began.  The whole concept of first cause or first mover is nonsense.  The universe started all at once and will eventually end up as all heat.  In all of those trillions of years, not a single atom will come into existence that was not there at the big bang, well, at least all the elemental particles that make up atoms was there.

 

 

CARM

Going through the 5 apologetics on CARM.org, my comments are in italics.  

Cosmological Argument

  1. Things exist.  Ok.
  2. It is possible for those things to not exist.  No, I do not agree with this.  This is a nonsense statement.  It is very likely it is NOT possible for something to not exist.  Energy and matter can not be created or destroyed.  After the first Planck second, all the was and every will be came into existence.  
  3. Whatever has the possibility of non-existence, yet exists, has been caused to exist.  There is no such thing as possible non-existence.  The sum total of the universe never changes, just changes form.
    1. Something cannot bring itself into existence since it must exist to bring itself into existence, which is illogical.
  4. There cannot be an infinite number of causes to bring something into existence.
    1. An infinite regression of causes ultimately has no initial cause, which means there is no cause of existence.  Yes, you can have an infinite series of causes.
    2. Since the universe exists, it must have a cause.  This is an assertion.  The universe does not need a  cause.  
  5. Therefore, there must be an uncaused cause of all things.  The very concept of an uncaused cause is contradictory.
  6. The uncaused cause must be God.  Why?  Why can’t the uncaused cause be a quantum fluctuation?  Or the intersection of two or more universes?  There are almost an infinite number of causes that are simpler than a god.

 

  1. Everything that has a beginning needs a cause.  How do you know that?  This universe started and all matter and energy started at once. 
  2. The universe had a beginning. Really?  How do you know that?  The most commonly accepted hypothesis is the universe most likely did not have a beginning, just a point of minimal entropy.  We will never know what came before.
  3. The universe needs a cause.  If the universe never began, it does not need a cause.
  4. There cannot be an infinite regress of caused causes.  Yes, there can be.  
  5. There must be a cause for all else which has no beginning and needs no cause for its own existence.  This is contradictory and makes no sense.  To postulate an uncaused cause is nonsense.

Paley’s argument is as follows:

  1. Human artifacts are products of intelligent design.   We only know this because we are familiar with intelligent designers, us.
  2. The universe resembles human artifacts.  No, it doesn’t, at all.
  3. Therefore the universe is a product of intelligent design.  Since 2 is not true, this is a non sequitur.  
  4. But the universe is complex and gigantic in comparison to human artifacts.   Since 2 is not true, this is a non sequitur, and childish to boot.
  5. Therefore, there probably is a powerful and vastly intelligent designer who created the universe.  Really?  Not even probably, and the very concept lacks any parsimony.

The Moral Argument for God’s Existence

The argument is a very simple one, and can be structured something like this:

  1. For an objective moral standard to exist, God must exist  Objective morals do not exist.  Morals are the product of thinking agents.
  2. An objective moral standard does exist.  If all multicellular life went extinct, would there be morals?  Of course not.  Objective morals, like objective colors, do not exist.
  3. Therefore, God exists.  Therefore gods don’t exist.  Even if there were a objective moral standard, those morals, by definition, would have to be subjective to whatever creates those morals.  If the creature is bound by objective morals, it is not a god. 

Some Christians have found it helpful to structure the argument in the negative form1:

  1. If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.  Correct, they do not exist.
  2. Objective moral values and duties do exist.  No, they do not.  Can you even name what those objective morals are?  
  3. Therefore God exists.  Therefore, gods do not exist.

The Ontological Argument

This argument was first attempted by Anselm of Canterbury in the 11th century. He approached it this way:

  1. God is by definition the greatest conceivable being.
  2. This is obvious, because if one can conceive of a being greater than God, then that being would be God
  3. If God exists only in the mind, something greater than God can be conceived: A God who exists in the actual world
  4. But God is the greatest conceivable being, so definitionally we cannot conceive of anything greater than God
  5. God must, then, be a being that exists not only in the mind but also in reality
  6. Therefore God exists

Anselm explained this another way, saying:

  1. A being whose non-existence is inconceivable is greater than a being whose non-existence is conceivable.
  2. God is the greatest conceivable being
  3. God, then, is a being whose non-existence is inconceivable
  4. Therefore, God exists

Many Christian thinkers still believe in and use various forms of this kind of argument. The most popular modern expression was published by Alvin Plantinga and popularized by William Lane Craig. It follows the approach of Anselm in using the concept of God’s definitional greatness and frames the argument this way:1

  1. It is possible that a maximally great being exits.
  2. If a maximally great being exists, then it exists in some possible world.
  3. If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world
  4. If a maximally great being exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world
  5. If a maximally great being exists in the actual world, then a maximally great being exists
  6. Therefore, a maximally great being exists

All of the ontological arguments can be broken down into “I can imagine a god exists, so it has to exist in reality.”  Plug in daemon instead of god and the logic holds just as well.   Let me reword it:

  1. It is possible that a maximally evil being exits.
  2. If a maximally evil being exists, then it exists in some possible world.
  3. If a maximally evil being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world
  4. If a maximally evil being exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world
  5. If a maximally evil being exists in the actual world, then a maximally evil being exists
  6. Therefore, a maximally evil being exists

I just proved the Devil exists.  Stop using this apologetic. It didn’t work 900 years ago, it does not work now.