Gibberish is Gibberish (another argument against Atheism)
May 2, 2008 by Paul McKeever
A friend asked me:
Paul, what do you make of this? The site this appears on is: http://www.carm.org/cut/atheism.htm
1. The universe exists. Is it eternal or did it have a beginning? It could not be eternal since that would mean that an infinite amount of time had to be crossed to get to the present. But, you cannot cross an infinite amount of time (otherwise it wouldn’t be infinite). Therefore, the universe had a beginning. Something cannot bring itself into existence. Therefore, something brought it into existence.
2. What brought the universe into existence? It would have to be greater than the universe and be a sufficient cause to it. The Bible promotes this sufficient cause as God. What does atheism offer instead of God? If nothing, then atheism is not able to account for our own existence.
3. The universe cannot be infinitely old or all useable energy would have been lost already (entropy). This has not occurred. Therefore, the universe is not infinitely old.
4. Uncaused Cause
1. Objection: If something cannot bring itself into existence, then God cannot exist since something had to bring God into existence. Answer: Not so. You cannot have an infinite regression of causes lest an infinity be crossed (which cannot happen). Therefore, there must be a single uncaused, cause.
2. All things that came into existence were caused to exist. You cannot have an infinite regression of causes (otherwise an infinity of time has been crossed which is impossible because an infinity cannot be crossed). Therefore, logically, there must be a single uncaused cause that did not come into existence.
“Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry”? Apologetics? Sounds about right.
The short answer is that their argument requires them to use Rand’s axioms: existence, consciousness, and identity. It could not be any other way. Consequently, any argument that existence does not exist fails from the outset.
But let’s have a little fun with it anyway.
Their argument breaks down instantly, in their proposition numbered 1, with (amongst other things) the implicit and erroneous/false notion that time can exist independently of the universe.
Consider the nature of the thing we call “time”. Using our perception of a regular cycle of changing light levels, we infer one rotation of the earth, and use that as our frame of reference/standard. For convenience, and to help us perceive changes in the earth’s rotation that are not visible to the naked eye, we set up a system of gears and springs that cause a little hand two rotate exactly 720 degrees for each rotation of the earth (and we have a big hand for minutes and a second hand for seconds etc. rotate at the usual rates, relative to the rate of rotation of the little hand). Like the rotation of the earth, the rotations of these hands are changes of the universe. We compare all other changes of the universe (e.g., distance traveled by something, degrees something rotates, brightness of something intensified, wavelength changed, audio volume increased, pitch reduced, weight gained etc.) to changes in the positions of the hands and we declare that some change of the universe happens while X rotations of the clock’s hands (i.e., of the earth) happen. Time is just a change of the universe that we use as a standard for measuring other changes of the universe. Were there no universe, there would be no thing that underwent changes. There would be no time because there would be no thing at all.
Turn their original proposition 1 around, reversing the positions of time and space:
“Time exists. Is it omnipresent, or is it only in a part of all space? It could not be omnipresent since that would mean that an infinite amount of space had to be crossed to be at this point in space. But, you cannot cross an infinite amount of space (otherwise it wouldn’t be infinite). Therefore, time is only in a part of space. Some time cannot bring time into existence. Therefore, some time brought time into existence.”
The argument is self-contradictory in numerous ways. As examples:
- the second last sentence conflicts with the last;
- that which does not exist cannot “bring” any thing: similarly, that which is not, thinks not, for example;
- it implies that EXISTENCE EXISTS: did existence not exist, there would be nothing into which to “bring” time.
The bottom line: CARM’s argument is gibberish. The method is: bullshit baffles brains.
Propositions 2 through 4 were dependent upon the truth of proposition 1. Proposition 1 having been dispensed with, all of the rest (i.e., 2 through 4) need not be considered any further.
(see also, Leonard Peikoff’s related statement).