Gibberish is Gibberish (another argument against Atheism)

May 2, 2008 by  

A friend asked me:

Paul, what do you make of this? The site this appears on is:

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.

I replied:

“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).


8 Responses to “Gibberish is Gibberish (another argument against Atheism)”

  1. Samuel Skinner on May 2nd, 2008 6:59 pm

    Have you considered emailing them this? Or do you’d think they’d ignore it? Or have you already tried?

  2. McKeever on May 2nd, 2008 8:01 pm

    I hadn’t considered it Mr. Skinner. That said, I wrote it only a couple or three hours ago. I think I’ll take you up on the suggestion.

    Now, that said, I’m pretty sure they’ll ignore it. Everyone but the most moronic recognizes an idea that threatens to smash ones own coping mechanism. Once such an idea is encountered, the mental equivalent of sticking ones fingers in ones ears, closing ones eyes, and singing “la-la-la-la-la-la I can’t hear you la-la-la-la-la….” almost inevitably happens…along with a whopping load of guilt (at knowing that one is trying not to know), doubt (that ones beliefs are knowledge), and anxiety (that one is very near to being tempted into knowing something that will change their understanding of the world).

    The world is full of soul-robbing wife-beaters and of wives who – desperate for even the smallest ration of emotional relief from sadness, loneliness, insecurity, or low self-esteem – refuse all offered assistance/encouragement by a concerned onlooker for fear of what their future would hold were they simply to open the door and leave.

  3. McKeever on May 2nd, 2008 8:10 pm

    Hilarious! I just had another look at the CARM page for atheism and noticed two things.

    1. They literally have a button that allows you to simply “Cut and Paste” the argument. No thinking required.

    2. The copyright for the page is stated to be held by a guy aptly named “Slick”.

  4. Burgess Laughlin on May 9th, 2008 8:46 am

    > “Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry”? Apologetics? Sounds about right.

    Thank you for the clear analysis of the theist argument. The only element of your reply that confuses me is the line I quoted above. What do you mean by “Sounds about right”?

    In my experience, “apologetics” refers to the act of intellectually defending a position, specifically the existence of God or the validity of Christianity. Using that sense of the term/idea, Christians I have met consider apologetics to be a branch of theology.

  5. Paul McKeever on May 9th, 2008 9:34 am

    “Apologetics” does refer to a defence, but usually to a defence of a position that is undergoing exceptional scrutiny or condemnation. My meaning was that CARM HAS to be an apologistic organization because, in fact, it is defending falsehoods. One does not apologize for truths.

  6. Burgess Laughlin on May 10th, 2008 10:36 am

    Apologeticsis the art of defending ideas that Christians hold to be elements of Christianity–which they consider to be true. Such Christians are not apologetic, that is, not making a statement of contrition. They are defending–without contrition. This is the meaning of the plural term used in the cited publication and the meaning that appears in my unabridged dictionary.

    True ideas do deserve defense when they are attacked. That “capitalism is the only moral political system” is a truth. It deserves a defense, in some circumstances, but there is nothing for which to be apologetic (show contrition).

    Such a defense by radical capitalists should, of course, not be called “apologetics,” because historically and conventionally that word names a particular defense, the defense of Christianity’s ideas by Christian theologians. It arose in the ancient world when Christians were attacked by the intellectually more advanced pagan philosophizers.

    The word “apologetics” is related to apologia which in Greek meant “defense,” as in a courtroom an accused man offered a defense against charges, but he was not “apologetic” in the modern sense of showing remorse for his behavior.

    “Apologetics” (in the theological sense) and “apology” (or “apologetic,” in the modern common usage) have very different meanings, though the words look similar.

  7. Edward B on July 12th, 2008 1:38 am

    Why even accept the pretense that everything must have a creator?

    He thinks from a human perspective – “Trees create Apples”, “Factories create cars”. Yet we know from the law of conservation of matter that neither energy or matter can be created – they can only be converted from one to another. Trees don’t “create” Apples. They restructure already existing matter into different forms of matter.

    Thus, the very laws of physics tell us nothing can be created, only restructured.

    We don’t need to speculate on what “created” existence, since we already know nothing can be created. What is, is. Everything else is mystical rubbish.

  8. Charles on November 7th, 2008 12:06 pm

    Another refutation:

    An uncaused cause must be eternal, contradicting the claim that nothing can be eternal because it would (allegedly) require an infinity of time.

    In other words, the claimed impossibility of an infinity of causes contradicts the claimed imposibility of an infinity of time. The author of the argument simply switches between claims according to his convenience, without admitting to making both claims simultaneoulsly.

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