1) No physics can explain getting something from nothing
John Mather, NASA's principal investigator of the cosmic background radiation's spectral curve with the COBE satellite, stated:
"We have equations that describe the transformation of one thing into another, but we have no equations whatever for creating space and time. And the concept doesn't even make sense, in English. So I don't think we have words or concepts to even think about creating something from nothing. And I certainly don't know of any work that seriously would explain it when it can't even state the concept."[John Mather, interview with Fred Heeren on May 11, 1994, cited in his book Show Me God (1998). Wheeling, IL, Searchlight Publications, p. 119-120.]
In a recent article by Tom Ulsman, he cites Cambridge University Professor
Neil Turok who says:
"The problem we have is that every particle in the universe originated in the singularity . . . That's unacceptable because there are no laws of physics that tell you how they came out of it" ("Give Peas a Chance,” Astronomy Magazine, September 1999, p. 38).
2) 1st law of thermodynamics..
Craig notes that, "this explanation is inadequate because insofar as natural laws are inductive generalizations, they are merely descriptions of what does or does not happen in the universe; and insofar as they are invested with nomic necessity, such necessity derives solely from the causal powers and dispositions of things that actually exist. In neither case is any sort of constraint placed on things' springing uncaused out of nothingness into being. After all, there is nothing there to be constrained. So does it not strike one as peculiar that it is only the universe which comes magically into being out of nothing rather than all sorts of other things as well?"[ "Graham Oppy on the Kalaam Cosmological Argument." Sophia 32 (1993): 1-11.]
3) Starting from nothing no chance for potentiality
Craig writes: "...It is unreasonable to hold that the first event popped into existence out of nothing without a cause. A little reflection makes this clear. In absolute nothingness, not even potentialities exist, since potentialities are always lodged in something that is actual. For example, my wife and I have a potential third child; but where does this potentiality lie? Not in the child himself, who is simply nonexistent, but in the reproductive capacities of our actual bodies. But that means that if there was absolute nothingness--no matter, no energy, no space, no time, no God--then nothing could come to exist. There would not exist even the potentiality for the universe. Hence, it is metaphysically absurd to claim that something literally came out of nothing."
4) Popping from nothing = Ultimate irrationality
Elsewhere Craig writes, "The principle ex nihilo nihil fit seems to me to be a sort of metaphysical first principle, one of the most obvious truths we intuit when we reflect seriously. If the denial of this principle is the alternative to a theistic metaphysic, then let those who decry the irrationality of theism be henceforth forever silent!" ["The Caused Beginning of the Universe: a Response to Quentin Smith." British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 44 (1993): 623-639.]
Now, ex nihilo nihil fit does not contradict creatio ex nihilo. The theist maintains that though the universe has no material cause, it has an efficient cause-God's bringing the universe into being.
5) Contradicts causal principle which is fundamental and obvious.
Craig: "I think that one could produce arguments for the principle, but that since the principle is so intuitively obvious in itself, it would he perhaps unwise to do so, for one ought not to try to prove the obvious via the less obvious. After all, does anyone sincerely think that things can pop into existence uncaused out of nothing? Does he believe that it is really possible that, say, a raging tiger should suddenly come into existence uncaused out of nothing in the room in which he is now reading this article? How much the same would this seem to apply to the entire universe! If there were originally absolute nothingness-- no God, no space, no time-- how could the universe possibly come to exist?"[ "Professor Mackie and the Kalaam Cosmological Argument." Religious Studies 20 (1985): 367-375.]
"Traditionally, there have been three answers to this question:
1. Empirical support -- we know the principle by induction upon observed instances of caused facts.
2. Indispensable presupposition of all empirical enquiry -- if we do not assume the causal principle, we cannot know anything on the basis of observation or induction.
3. Natural light of reason.
These three answers are not mutually exclusive. The strongest case for the principle of causality makes use of all three. We could take the combination of (2) and (3) to give some slight or weak support for the principle. These two considerations alone might not put us in a position to know that the causal principle is true, but they might make it reasonable for us to believe and use the principle. Once we have given the principle some positive status, however weak, we can use the existence of empirical support (answer 1) to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps. That is, once we can justify some reliance on causation, we can start a "virtuous spiral" to boost the status of the principle to higher and higher levels, finally reaching full-blown knowledge.
The main objection to making use of empirical evidence in support of the causal principle comes from Hume. In both his Treatise concerning Human Nature and his Enquiry into Human Understanding, Hume argues that any appeal to empirical evidence in support of the causal principle is viciously circular or question-begging, given (2) above, namely, the fact that all empirical enquiry presupposes and relies upon the causal principle. As I have argued above, the most promising reply to Hume is to attempt to turn this vicious circle into a virtuous spiral. If we can argue that the natural light of reason, or the requirements of engaging in empirical inquiry, are sufficient to give some warrant or support to the causal principle, then we can use our actual success in finding causes as a reason for repeatedly upgrading the warrant, until we reach a state of rational certainty.
This virtuous-spiral move depends on the fact that we can break the causal principle up into a variety of sub-principles, narrow or restricted versions of the principle. For example, we could use the principle that all of our memories have causes in one instance, and in another instance use the principle that all historical records have causes. In this way, we can, without circularity, use one sub-principle in gathering empirical support for other sub-principles. So long as all the sub-principles can begin with some positive status, and so long as the actual results of empirical investigation cooperate, we can gradually raise the status of each of the constituent sub-principles, without ever reasoning in a circle.
Even the late atheist philosopher J. L. Mackie, who also argued against the causal principle, in his critique of theological creationism conceded that "this principle . . . is constantly confirmed in our experience (and also used, reasonably, in interpreting our experience)" [Mackie, J.L. . The Miracle of Theism. Oxford: Clarendon Press, p. 89].
b)No Exceptions to Causal principle.
When asking whether the whole of being could come out of non-being uncaused, a negative answer seems obvious.
Jonathan Edwards's made an argument on behalf of the causal principle in his On The Freedom of the Will 2.3: if something can come into being uncaused out of nothing, then it is inexplicable why anything and everything does not do so. It cannot then be said that only things of a certain nature come into existence uncaused because prior to their existence they have no nature which could control their coming to be.
6) science does not and cannot assume something from nothing and that's why they invented the singularity in the first place.
Andrei Linde, Scientific American, Sept 99
"The first, and main problem is the very existence of the big bang. One may wonder, what came before? If space-time did not exist then, how could everything appear from nothing? What arose first: the universe or the laws determining its evolution? Explaining this initial singularity-where and when it all began still remains the most intractable problem of modern cosmology."
Physicist Barry Parker writes:
"Unfortunately, a very critical event had happened--creation itself. And without a theory to explain this event we can only guess what happened. How do we contemplate such a situation? The only reasonable answer to this question is: we do not. Indeed, we cannot even make calculations describing it."[Barry Parker, Creation--the Story of the Origin and Evolution of the Universe (New York & London: Plenum Press, 1988), p. 10]
George Smoot, principal investigator of the cosmic background radiation's ripples with the COBE satellite, states:
".it is possible to envision creation of the universe from almost nothing--not nothing, but practically nothing. Almost creation ex nihilo, but not quite."[George Smoot and Kay Davidson, Wrinkles in Time (New York: William Morrow and Company, 1993), p. 292.]
Even Ed Tryon, the physicist who first proposed the fluctuation/creation model, recognizes that science cannot explain creation from true nothingness. When asked how creation could begin from TRUE nothingness, he stated:
"It may well be that we will never have a confident answer."[Paul Davies, God and the New Physics (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1983), p. 32]
7) The notion of something from nothing violates basic assumptions of materialism
a. Materialism based upon cause and effect (dependent upon Mater)
Dictionary of Philosophy Anthony Flew, article on "Materialism"
"...the belief that everything that exists is either matter or entirely dependent upon matter for its existence."
Center For Theology and the Natural Sciences Contributed by: Dr. Christopher Southgate: God, Humanity and the Cosmos (T&T Clark, 1999)
Is the Big Bang a Moment of Creation?(this source is already linked above)
"...Beyond the Christian community there was even greater unease. One of the fundamental assumptions of modern science is that every physical event can be sufficiently explained solely in terms of preceding physical causes. Quite apart from its possible status as the moment of creation, the Big Bang singularity is an offence to this basic assumption. Thus some philosophers of science have opposed the very idea of the Big Bang as irrational and untestable."
b) Something from nothing contradiction at heart of materialism
Science and The Modern World, Alfred North Whitehead.
NY: free Press, 1925, (1953) p.76
"We are content with superficial orderings form diverse arbitrary starting points. ... science which is employed in their development [modern thought] is based upon a philosophy which asserts that physical causation is supreme, and which disjoins the physical cause from the final end. It is not popular to dwell upon the absolute contradiction here involved."[Whitehead was an atheist]
c) Causality was the basis upon which God was expelled from Modern Science
It was La Place’s famous line "I have no need of that Hypothesis" [meaning God] Which turned the scientific world form believing (along with Newton and assuming that order in nature proved design) to unbelief on the principle that we don’t' need God to explain the universe because we have independent naturalistic cause and effect. [Numbers, God and Nature]
8) Hume's charge of fallacy of composition does not mean that he supported no cause at all (he didn’t' believe in something from nothing)
In 1754 Hume, who argued against the causal principle, wrote to John Stewart, "But allow me to tell you that I never asserted so absurd a Proposition as that anything might arise without a cause: I only maintained, that our Certainty of the Falsehood of that Proposition proceeded neither from Intuition nor Demonstration, but from another Source."[David Hume to John Stewart, February 1754, in The Letters of David Hume, 2 vols., ed. J. T. Grieg (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1932), 1, 187.]
9) BB is denial of causal principle on Natural level, therefore, requires supernatural causal agent.
a) BB = no physical cause
John Barrow, professor of astronomy at the University of Sussex in England, states that the traditional Big Bang picture, with its initial singularity of infinite density "is, strictly speaking, . . . creation out of absolutely nothing."[ John Barrow, The Origin of the Universe (New York: Basic Books, 1994), p. 113.]
b) There can be no physical cause in the standard model.
Quentin Smith, [major atheist] philosopher of science at the University of Western Michigan, says in Theism, Atheism and Big Bang Cosmology (1993): "It belongs analytically to the concept of the cosmological singularity that it is not the effect of prior physical events. The definition of a singularity entails that it is impossible to extend the space-time manifold beyond the singularity. This effectively rules out the idea that the singularity is the effect of some prior natural process."
c) Therefore, it can only be the result of a supernatural or non-physical cause.
Paul Davies reports, "When giving lectures on cosmology, I am often asked what happened before the big bang. The answer, that there was no 'before,' because the big bang represented the appearance of time itself, is regarded with suspicion--'Something must have caused it.'" (Davies, 1983, p. 39; cf. p. 44)
"Consider the enormity of the problem. Science has proven that the Universe exploded into being at a certain moment. It asks, What cause produced this effect? Who or what put the matter and energy into the Universe?" [Jastrow, R. 1978. God and the Astronomers. NewYork, W.W. Norton, p. 114)
The British Cosmologist Edward Milne concluded his mathematical treatise on relativity by saying,” As to the cause of the Universe, in context of expansion, that is left for the reader to insert, but our picture is incomplete without Him."[ Heeren, F. 1995. Show Me God. Wheeling, IL, Searchlight Publications, p. 166-167.]
10) Must be eternal
As Quentin Smith, a prominent atheist philosopher of science at the University of Western Michigan, says in Theism, Atheism and Big Bang Cosmology (1993):
"It belongs analytically to the concept of the cosmological singularity that it is not the effect of prior physical events. The definition of a singularity entails that it is impossible to extend the space-time manifold beyond the singularity. This effectively rules out the idea that the singularity is the effect of some prior natural process."
Therefore, whatever produces space/time (the universe) must of necessity be beyond time, and therefore, eternal.
11) The Skeptic must justify abandonment of causality.
12) defeasible reasoning:
Since all of our experiences confirms the causal principle, there are no examples, not one, of something popping into existence from nothing, and in fact it is undermining the entire materialist project to deny this, we must assume the universe has to have a cause and that this cause must be eternal. It is therefore, the skeptics burden or proof now to show that the contradiction of this principle is justified.
"Defeasible Reasoning, Special Pleading and the Cosmological Argument"
Robert C. Koons
Associate Professor of Philosophy
University of Texas
Austin, TX 78712
"The rehabilitation of causation and modal realism in recent analytic philosophy have made possible the revival of the argument from contingency to the existence of a necessary first cause. Recent work in defeasible or non-monotonic logic means that this argument can be cast in such a way that it does not presuppose that every contingent situation, without exception, has a cause. Instead, the burden of proof is shifted to the skeptic, who must produce positive reasons for thinking that the cosmos is an exception to the defeasible law of causality. The most promising line of rebuttal open to the skeptic contradicts a plausible account of the nature of causal priority, namely, that the actuality of a token causes is necessitated by the actuality of its token effect. Several independent lines of argument in support of this account are outlined."
*Causality is "back on" in analytic philosophy
The cosmological argument for God's existence has a long history, but perhaps the most enduring version of it has been the argument from contingency. This is the version that Frederick Copleston pressed upon Bertrand Russell in their debate about God's existence in 1948. In 1997 ("A New Look at the Cosmological Argument, American Philosophical Quarterly 34:193-212), I noted that all three of Russell's principal objections to the argument (viz., the unreality of modality, the unreality of causation, and the unreality of the world as a totality) have fared poorly in recent analytic philosophy. This is especially clear in the case of causation. Far from withering away (as Russell anticipated), the notions of cause and effect have never held a more central position. Causality is absolutely central to recent philosophical work in semantics, the philosophy of mind and intentionality, epistemology, and philosophy of science.
*The Role of Defeasible Reasoning
Even though we have excellent empirical evidence for the generalization that wholly contingent situations have causes, it is hard to see how any amount of data could settle conclusively the question of whether or not this generalization (Axiom 8) admits of exceptions. The skeptic can always find a logically consistent position by simply restricting the scope of axiom 8 in such a way as to exclude its application to the cosmos as a whole.
The most effective response, dialectically speaking, is to insist that, at the very least, our experience warrants adopting the causal principle as a default or defeasible rule. This means that, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, we may infer, about any particular wholly contingent situation, that it has a cause.
This is, however, all that is needed for the cosmological argument to be rationally compelling. In place of a deductively valid, apodictic proof of the existence of a first cause, the defender of the cosmological argument can offer instead a defeasible argument (an argument correct by the standards of non-monotonic reasoning). The burden is then shifted to the agnostic, who must garner evidence of a positive sort for the proposition that the cosmos really is an exception to the rule. Merely pointing out the defeasible nature of the inference (i.e., the bare possibility of the cosmos's being an exception) does not constitute a cogent rebuttal.
Considerable progress has been made in recent year in developing formal systems of defeasible or non-monotonic reasoning that satisfy certain plausible meta-logical constraints. For example, in the Commonsense Entailment system of Asher and Morreau, a defeasible version of Axiom 8 could be expressed by using a default conditional connective.
*Axiom 8* (x)( Wx > E y (y => x))
This version of Axiom 8 can be read as: normally, a wholly contingent situation has a cause. This defeasible Axiom 8* will allow us to infer that any given wholly contingent situation has a cause unless some positive reason can be given for thinking that the situation in question is an exception to the rule, for example, by showing that the situation belongs to a category of things that typically does not have a cause.
The skeptic could refuse to accept even the defeasible generalization 8*. Like Kant or Russell, he might insist that the universality of causation be seen as a canon or prescriptive rule for reason, and not as a descriptive generalization (even a defeasible one) of mind-independent reality.
However, to give up even the defeasible version of Axiom 8 as a descriptive generalization about reality is to embrace a radical form of skepticism. All of our knowledge about the past, in history, law and natural science, depends on our inferring causes of present situations (traces, memories, records). Without the conviction that all (or nearly all) of these have causes, all of our reconstructions of the past (and therefore, nearly all of our knowledge of the present) would be groundless. Moreover, our knowledge of the future and of the probably consequences of our actions depends on the assumption that the relevant future states will not occur uncaused. The price of denying this axiom is very steep: embracing a comprehensive Pyrrhonian skepticism.
13) Uncaused universe is an arbitrary necessity.
The universe could fail to exist without contradiction, Therefore it is a contingency. To posit the notion of an uncaused universe is to assume that a contingency exists non-contingently, which is a contradiction in terms.
14) Uncaused universe is circular reasoning.
The notion of the universe coming to be without caused would have to assume that the universe caused itself, which would mean it would have to exist before it existed.
You've Come this far, two more pages to go. Please click "Next" below.
15) Observations of No cause from within temporal background.
As we have seen, quantum particles do not actually pop out of total absolute nothing. The "nothing" of physicists is not the noting of common sense. WE have to have preconditions; there must be time, there must be a set of active physical laws, there must be a vacuum flux (which is not outside of time). Thus any alleged observations of quantum particles have the same observational limitations that atheists try to impose upon the causal principle, that is, the observations we could make of particles coming from "nothing" would be from within time, which means they are not really coming from nothing. Thus the atheist has no field of observation for the alleged dictum that the universe can pop up out of nothing because quantum particles are supposedly doing that. Both perspectives are thus on an equal footing. But, the defeasible reasoning would tip the scales in favor of the causal assumption. Moreover, this also means that all of our observations, even those of quantum particles are observations of contingencies. The whole universe is made of up contingencies and quantum particles are not exceptions. Since the universe is a web of contingencies it must be contingent and it must be contingent upon something.
By Metacrock. Used with Permission.
For more articles by the same author, see Doxa.