. . . and always will be, forever and ever. Amen. Once you’ve said that, there would seem to be no point in adding to what “Quid est Veritas “, “Rendezvous”, “Thom”, and, in cauda venenum, “Lumen de Lumine”, a.k.a. “JIM”, as well as myself have recently written, by appending to our discourse a Last Word about a First Cause. We have been reminded, in this erudite exchange, of the Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR). I believe that I have sufficient reason, pressed down and flowing over, to add here my two cents’ worth of common sense. Even if I don’t have sufficient reason to do so, it’s my Blog and I’ll say what I like. So there !
It’s obvious that everything has a cause. We have already adequately refuted believers’ insistence on the necessity of a First Cause (supposedly God) by pointing out that one can always ask who or what caused God, and so on ad infinitum. But let’s admit for a moment that you DO have to stop somewhere, with some-thing or some-one that just … is. Why could this not be, say, a bunch of atoms ? Who created the atoms ? Nobody. They just always were, as “God” is supposed to have been; the very name He revealed to Moses was, after all, “Yahweh”, “He who IS”. But to get from those atoms to us and the Universe we live in, surely Someone had to be smart enough to make it all happen. Atoms normally don’t have what it takes; they lack the right stuff. But what if these ones did ? What if they always existed, with an extraordinary potential, over time, to become the world of which we are a miniscule part ? I cannot see why it is any more difficult to accept the existence of such powerful atoms that just are, than for believers to claim that an omnipotent God, Yahweh, just is, always was, etc.
O.K. I know. Intelligent Design. But accept for a moment the bit about eternal, uncaused atoms being the First Cause, just as God is supposed to be, in the view of believers, the First Cause – in either case, the one dead-end exception to the PSR. If believers are serene and unphased about accepting God as the ultimate Uncaused Cause, why not a nice little cluster of nifty atoms ? Believers, of course, see – or better, presume – the need for an Intelligent Being to make the whole process work. But many of us have examined I.D. in detail and found it wanting. Judge John Jones, reinforcing the judicial ban on teaching creationism as science in U.S. public schools , described Intelligent Design as “breathtaking inanity” that fails the test as science : see my book, “From Illusions to Illumination”, (p.122). Even the beginning and evolution of life happened without an Intelligent Designer at the controls, as Richard Dawkins has convincingly shown.
I hope the above will help clarify why Rendezvous, Thom and I – and atheists in general – reject the specious argumentation supposedly proving the existence of a First Cause as a person rather than a thing. I can’t help thinking that believers want the First Cause to be a Person because they have already decided that there is Someone Up There with whom they are destined to live happily ever after their death. When they do die, they’ll never know how wrong they were – any more than we will know how right we were. All of which makes this discussion pretty pointless, wouldn’t you agree ?