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The first cause argument

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DanK
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Hypothetically if we went back in time we could only go back as far as time had existed int other words as far as change has occurred, therefore even if the Universe does not have a first cause id does have a first state, does it not?

If a first state exists without motion, then a first cause isn't possible.

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If a first state exists without motion, then a first cause isn't possible.

You might add that since we may not logically deduce the existence of a first cause from the principle of causality, and since we cannot observe the first cause, this question is beyond reason. It is impervious to both logic and science.

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You might add that since we may not logically deduce the existence of a first cause from the principle of causality, and since we cannot observe the first cause, this question is beyond reason. It is impervious to both logic and science.

I would only add that the lack of proof makes the question just that much more interesting.  Given the reality of causality as we experience it, we can deduce that a first cause would be like every cause that follows with one exception; the first act would necessarily be uncoerced, i.e. free-will.

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  • 3 months later...

Incidentally, I adore Hume's perversion of the Watchmaker argument.

P: A complex mechanism, such as a watch, cannot exist without a Creator

C: A complex mechanism, such as the universe, necessitates a Creator

Ala David Hume:

p: Watches are created in factories, by many employees

C: The universe was created by many different gods

---

I would only add that watches count by 12 hours and 60 seconds, and that 60-12*1.5=42.

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold
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  • 3 months later...

The eternal entity I can think of would be a necessary entity, which as such cannot “not exist.”  This cannot be material existence (the universe from atoms to stars, energy to galaxy) because in our observation and study of things we know that such material existence is contingent.  Empirical evidence of the Big Bang would appear to prove that the universe is not eternal and had a beginning.  The universe cannot come from nothing, but it had to come from something.  This something could be a necessary being.  Thus, the nature of material reality (the universe as a whole), which is contingent and transient, gives us a reasonable basis for believing in a non-material entity, which is essential and eternal, from which the whole of material reality came.

Edited by heretic
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Heretic said:

The universe cannot come from nothing, but it had to come from something.

The only way you can utter this nonsense it by not knowing what "universe" means. Universe means everything that exist, and therefore there is nothing else to "come from". You cannot get existence from non existence. Oh, and the Big Bang never happened.

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  • 6 months later...

Well, when it comes to the first cause being a god... I'd argue that if the universe must have a first cause, then an entity capable of thinking and creating it, would also require a first cause to exist. It would be circular. Of course, this is assuming that the universe needs a first cause. 

 

I read somewhere about the idea of atoms appearing from thin-air, that it was a theory. Given all the possibilities out there, I wouldn't be a surprise if something did happen (Like a simple atom appearing, needing no cause) and everything reacted to it. But right now, there are many things that need to be defined... and do we know enough about the universe to make some of the assumptions that we do? Yes, cause and effect does happen. But does everything need a cause before it in order to happen? 

 

Of course, if we were to pose a god of the gaps there, that would result in more questions, and it seems more wishful thinking and faith than realistic. 

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The only way you can utter this nonsense it by not knowing what "universe" means.

 

That's not true.

 

Empirical evidence of the Big Bang would appear to prove that the universe is not eternal and had a beginning.  The universe cannot come from nothing, but it had to come from something.

 

The only way to utter the nonsense which followed was to slide right past that assertion.

 

Either the universe began at some point, or it did not.  By saying "we know that this happened but this makes no logical sense" you're saying that contradictions can exist in reality.

 

Now personally, whenever I realize that my own beliefs imply a contradiction, my very next thought is of finding the error.  Heretic's post would indicate that immediately after asserting that a contradiction exists, his next thought was of God.

 

To each His own.

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold
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Yes, cause and effect does happen. But does everything need a cause before it in order to happen? 

Every thing that exists is something specific and quantifiable.  In the same way as, and because of that, everything that happens must happen for specific and quantifiable reasons.  Causality is only an extension of identity.  I would say that you cannot have one without the other, but that would be an appeal to identity; if we accept it as flexible then literally anything goes (or doesn't go, or both goes and doesn't go at the same time and in the same way).

 

There is empirical evidence of subatomic particles doing very strange things.  However, whatever the real explanation for such behavior, there must be an explanation.

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There is empirical evidence of subatomic particles doing very strange things.  However, whatever the real explanation for such behavior, there must be an explanation.

 

I agree that there is an explanation, and it'll be interesting if we do discover it. Perhaps the start of things existing was one of those strange things? Or perhaps reality works/worked differently to how we're used to it working now? I wonder if it could evolve in a similar fashion that living things did?

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  • 1 month later...

Another consideration to add into the fray, a first cause approaches things as if stasis is the natural state of existence. Consider a couple of our discoveries along the way. What is the natural state of electrons and photons?

 

Searching for the beginning of eternity, or an explanation for why is there something, rather than nothing, must be akin to looking for the alphabet in the number line.

 

edit: Looking again at the OP, motion, as a natural state, was already a consideration suggested.

 

An eternal existence does not require an event. It is the notion of a temporal existence that seeks to posit that an event transpired, out of which, existence is the result. The onus of proof lay on the assertion of the positive,

Edited by dream_weaver
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Where is the position outside the outermost positions?

What was the time before time began?

What caused causation?

 

All of the above are utterly meaningless questions, as they ask for something in an impossible context. 

 

What kind of blue is the part of that thing which is not blue?

 

 

As for a "first cause" such a thing is meaningless to discuss.

 

Entities exist.  Entities act.  Acts, and change are caused by entities.  Things change their form.  No particular thing comes from nothing... nothing is not a thing that can create anything.

 

Causation, time and space are part of existence.  They are IN existence, anything outside of existence is INEXISTANT.   

 

To say something created creation, something other than causation caused causation is incomprehensible incoherent and frankly insane. 

 

To look for anything outside of space or before time is to look for something outside of existence which is also incomprehensible incoherent and frankly insane.

 

 

It may be that time does not stretch back infinitely, this means only that time (a relationship between entities) only went back so far.  Either all that is always was, or all that is was for only a finite time... and although an "end" of time (in any direction) seems strange, all that feeling means is that it is meaningless to ask what was there before "after and before" existed. 

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As a former Christian apologist with a master's degree in Christian theology and philosophy, I can tell you that the most popular version of the cosmological argument these days (and for a while now) is the Kalam cosmological argument, which has received popularity through William Lane Craig's use of it. 

 

I think it's a really interesting question, and it poses some questions that we can't yet answer with the knowledge we have so far, but it in now way can be concluded that some mystical and personal force created the universe. 

 

So when I encounter this, I simply say, "Yes it would seem that there was a beginning to the universe as we know it, and a beginning to time/space, but there is no reason to conclude that a religious god or mystical force is the ultimate cause. That's just reading in an unwarranted conclusion -- i.e., filling in the gaps of our present knowledge with "god" as the answer for no good reason."

Edited by secondhander
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So when I encounter this, I simply say, "Yes it would seem that there was a beginning to the universe as we know it, and a beginning to time/space, but there is no reason to conclude that a religious god or mystical force is the ultimate cause. . . ."

 

The concept you're looking for is "countably infinite".

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