I am new to the Athesit Nexus. Should I be out of place in my posting, or right to post than please tell me. While this does not seem to be too much of a problem on this forum I can understand the need to keep it clean of unimportant topics, or of ones that dont belong on it. The purpose of this posting is to provide some of the best answers I have found to common apologetic arguments, as I have found that those here seem not to know the best answers and ways to respond. I mean no offense by this, after all how can one know somthing without being taught it? And as anti apologetics is, while mine, a very rare hobby, I find it unlikely that more than a few of you have had time to truly get into it.
This is a perfectally reasonable question and one that can be difficult to answer as it requires going somewhat outside our intuition. Our immediate reaction to seeing somthing is to assume that it is created by somthing. When no clear creator can be found mankind often assigns its creator to god. We on here agree that the universe was not created by god. What then created it? The answer is that nothing/nobody did. The universe is eternal, it has always existed and will always exist. While science is currently unsure about the has part, the mathmatics so far show that it is a clear possibility. For further research into this I suggest that you look up the big crunch. When you think about it, Theists themselves state that an eternal being created the universe, why then can't the universe itself be eternal, after all somthing must be eternal. Besides by cutting out the middle man, we can claim benefit of Occam's Razor.
2. Insert personal (possibly, could be a miracle), unlikely, and amazing story here.
While generally not the most reasonable of arguments, I have found this one to be very common and impossible to answer except on an individual basis. I shall start with miracle stories and move on to personal ones later. Since your opponent will claim superior research knowledge/personal information about somthign that you yourself have not had time to check up on, one cannot claim the higher knowledge ground that we usually have. Therefore this arument must be surrendered to with the statment that research shall be done so that you know more about the situation that they speak of. Should the story be more than a few hundred years than lack of stringent documentation is the obvious answer. For more modern day times carefull research must be taken, skeptics magazines and articles generally have an overview with much of the research already done about every miricle story. But I have found that with enough time, all miracles are either too old to be reliable, or can be shown through recent documentation to be questionable. Personal stories take one of two different forms, that of extreme luck whether good or bad, and that of emotion. Obviously emotion is not a logical basis for an argument and some basic knowledge of psycology and brain chemistry is enough to argue angasint these stories. Those of extreme luck are more difficult to answer, and even some miricles can fall into this catagory. Essentially this can be explained through a little bit of statistical anaylsis knowledge. Consider Julias Ceaser, he was a great general and leader of Rome who died many thousand of years ago. What are the odds that we inhale some of his dying breath? The amount of air molecules in the atmosphere are about 10^44. This is terrible odds, however one breath holds about 10^22, and, upon doing the division there is greater than 50% chance (its been too long since ive read my introduction to statistical anaylsis book and I cannot remmber the exact number) that you breath some of his molecules every second. The sheer amount of trials make up for the small chances. It works this way with unlikely events, if you think about it, there are billions of unlikely things that could happen to us at any one moment with billion to one chances of happening. Occurances such as this are actually quite common, it is simply only the easily noticable ones and ones that have some symbolic meaning or a pattern that we notice.
I understand that this is alot of text and I thank you for your time spent in reading this, this is obviously only a start of the many questions asked by us all the time, as if it was our responsibility and not theirs to prove ourselves and our responsibilities to know these things. Should you find my explanations too long/tedious/boring/illogical then please say so in the comments below. This is my passion and hobby and you cannot insult me, only make me more determined to improve. Should you wish to hear more from me on different questions we are asked, or have specific ones you would like me to search the answer for I will be more than happy to do so. I am always looking for new apologetic arguments so that I can always be prepared.
A word of warning, especially about the second argument, do not expect logic to change their minds or even to bring them on the fence. I have found that by the time they start to run out of arguments, people get tired of you even if they enjoyed the debate before and will begin to consider you a hostile person. Perhaps I am simply a hostile person, but do not expect results most of the time (I have had 5 successes in my 6 years of atheism).
The "Big Crunch" isn't going to happen. Current data indicates not only that the universe is expanding, but that it is accelerating, possibly due to the presence of dark matter and/or dark energy. Our understanding of these new facets is very young on the learning curve, yet some hint of the existence of dark matter has already yielded to scientific investigation.
As for the causation of the Big Bang itself, I would look to people like Lawrence Krauss, who is deeply involved in research into the mechanics and dynamics of that event. That aside, though, here's something to consider: science as a means of gaining understanding of our reality is only a few hundred years old, yet it has come up with uncounted credible, working explanations for equally numerous phenomena. Religion, which has relied on the "goddidit" supposition, has contributed virtually nothing and over a considerably longer span of time. In the time which science has worked to learn and discover, for all the answers and explanations it has found, the answer has NEVER been that some god was responsible, or some force beyond any chance of understanding. Does that mean that we have all the answers? Not hardly, but the fact is that puzzles and problems, however difficult or obtuse, continue to yield to scientific inquiry ... and the answer is NEVER "magic."
True the universe is expanding but that does not mean that it will not happen, an explosion will accelerate faster at first and slow down later after it hits its peak. While the big bang is no mere explosion, nor even an explosion at all for that matter, gravity implies that it will eventually start to contract unless it expands out past a critical point. We are still quite a bit away from this point but that does not mean that we cannot reach it some time in the future. There are many other possible endings to the universe such as the big freeze, heat death, big rip and others that are all supported by mathmatics with certain givens that cannot currently be proven.
I do not believe I have ever said that the universe was created by magic or a god. However I disagree your statemnt that god has never been the answer. Long ago we had almost no information about the world around us, and it was not until a long time before we learned enogh to realise the error of our ways. What else were we to think in the ancient times but that somthing had created the world as everything around us was being created?
Should you wish to use a different model of the univers in your answer to this question that is fine as we still have no way of knowing which one is correct.
After some further research I have found that the big crunch, while still accepted by some, is no longer the scientific consensus and shall therefore change my answers to address the big freeze which is the most common hypothesis at this time. However I think that this debate on the future fate of the univers is tangental to the point, the univers has always existed, how long it has and how long it will exist cannot currently and may never be, proven.
My point is that while "goddidit" has been the habitual RESPONSE of those who subscribe to the existence of some such deity, it is not an ANSWER. It is neither testable nor falsifiable, and therefore has no practical utility for anyone wishing to truly understand how this reality works.
Just as all progress is change, but not all change is progress, so all answers are responses, but not all responses are answers. A semantic quirk of mine, perhaps, but I think an important one.
Please explain to me why you say "the universe has always existed". What evidence do you have to support that statement?
Perhaps there will be shrinking back to a big crunch, it depends on how strong Dark Matter and Dark Energy is, I think. Who knows? I do know that volcanic action filled the air with so much pollutants, the blocked sun prevented plant growth and mass extinctions took place. In this modern era, humans pump out as much as or more than the volcanoes of the past. Therefore, climate change has a very high probability of ending life as we know it. And as we have been discussing, energy does end, it changes form.
Indeed your point is well taken Loren.
Joan, as will all things that happened before the big bang there is no proof, or even any real evidence as the laws of physics, and even most all mathmatics break down in the kind of conditions we are expecting just before the bang. I base my logic on the idea that if nothing has created the universe than is must have been eternal. Somthing must be the original everything comes from somthing, which means there must be one thing that does not.
I appreciate the feedback, feel fear about criticising me, one of the most damaging things to our cause is when we try, and fail, to argue apologetics.
I misstated in my previous comment. I should have written:
energy does not end, it changes form.
"The first law of thermodynamics, an expression of the principle of conservation of energy, states that energy can be transformed (changed from one form to another), but cannot be created or destroyed."
I can't believe I let that slip by my proof read.
I love it when someone catches me in an error, or can convince me I have made an error. That is the best and fastest way to become clear on topics I know nothing about. I figure if I put it in writing, and am wrong, someone will catch me and put me onto a better track.
Of course, we have no evidence of anything before the big bang; so many things we do not know. Perhaps there has been something for an eternity, and we have no proof of that. What we do know is getting clearer and sharper, especially with the science of the very small. Newtonian laws do not operate at that level, and I suppose that means anything is possible. I would like to know how our universe began and read all the quantum physics I can vaguely understand. Which isn't much. Isn't that grand! Asking questions until my time on Earth is finished. I can't think of a better way to stay awake.
NEVER "magic." Watching the vigor of hatred against women's liberation, homosexual marriage, and anti abortion, those struggles continue in spite of having access to people like Lawrence Krauss, Daniel Dennett and even our late friend, Christopher Hitchins. With violence of religious people, it seems even more important to put a damper on obedience and submission. We have to find new ways to build community that has nothing to do with religion, nationality, race, gender, or wealth.
We have much to learn, and many to learn from.
Please include me as an ardent reader of your material. No need to apologize for length or depth of your contributions. I am here because I have questions. I count on others to provide criticism to hone my understanding of what it means to see no evidence of god/s. I look for ward to your answers.
It is very hard to make a shift in thinking about something coming from nothing, or how a big bang could evolve to this modern time. However, the discussions of physicists are more reasonable than all the palaver about god, creation, slaughter of innocents, and tales of tribal sheep and goat herders of the deserts in a very poor part of Earth and apply them as principles for living in the modern age.
2. Insert personal (possibly, could be a miracle), unlikely, and amazing story here.
Humans exist as a story-telling social creature. Those ancient stories of Stone Age people helped them make sense of the unknown and unknowable. As time evolved, language, writing, and reasoning developed as the human race developed, in all its various locations, they developed questions that changed over time. New solutions evolved. What was once a miracle is now a routine of medicine or science. The human brain/mind studies open new areas of study as we begin to realize cognitive influences on our thinking and behaviors. We need now stories, new ways of seeing our existence in relations to quantum physics. Just watching a few experiments using quantum theory makes one realize there are many new ways to think and act, and different ways of seeing existence.
Modern stories that help us understand living processes are so much more interesting than old stories that told of gods and devils and angels and miracles; we need new models of climate, power, efficiency, family planning and distribution of wealth, to name only a few.
You should check out my Google atheism blog.
The Universe in it's present form has not always existed. The First Law of Thermodynamics states that neither matter nor energy can be created nor destroyed, but are interchangeable. Before the universe, as we know it, came to be, the uncreated thing from which the present universe arose was energy in the form of quantum vacuum fluctuations.
Victor Stenger posits one scenario of how our universe may have come to be, and that while it is only one scenario out of many, it does not violate any laws of physics. According to Stenger, our universe could have tunneled from another universe on the other side of the t=0 barrier, and that, could we observe that universe it's arrow of time would be opposite ours, and that, if anyone who might live in the universe on the other side of the t=0 barrier could observe our universe our arrow of time would be moving opposite theirs. And where would that universe on the other side of the t=0 barrier have come from ? From its perspective it would have tunneled from our universe.
If the universe was in the form of energy than it still existed, albeit in another form. As for your quantum scenario, I have only knowledge enough of quantaum to understand that it is very counterintuitive and I shall therefore accept your explanation as one from who understands these matters better than I. Somday when I am done with college I may have time to learn of these things.
Spreading ignorance is among the worst of crimes, I shall endeavor to do more research, and to ensure that future research I do is more current.
I would like to know however if there is any criticism of my answer to the second question?
Tony, thanks for the lead to "Atheism".