Post-Quantum Cosmological Apologetic

Question from Andrew:
What if Quantum Mechanics are wrong?

What if the supposed undetermined, random events in quantum mechanics are actually under some kind of law and causality? Wouldn’t this be a stronger reason to think the cosmological argument is true?

Do atheists have other arguments to argue against the main premise of the cosmological argument for God; the existence of causality?

Answer by SmartLX:
Short answers: so what, no, and plenty.

As I mentioned in my original response to the cosmological argument (where you’ll find some other, unrelated objections), the behaviour of particles according to quantum mechanics suggests a possible contradiction to the argument’s premise that whatever begins to exist has a cause. If a cause is discovered for this phenomenon then we lose the contradiction, but this hardly matters because the premise has never been demonstrated in the first place.

We’ve never had evidence of anything physically “beginning to exist” in the way that the universe is supposed to have done. Every object which exists now is made up of material that existed before it, and simply came together to form something we then saw fit to quantify and name. As far as we know the matter that comprises you, me and everything we see has existed since the beginning of the universe, if any, and we have no idea how it first began to exist. Therefore there is no basis for the premise that whatever begins to exist has a cause, because the only available precedent is the very thing for which the argument is trying to establish a cause. Without an unrelated instance of creation or emergence ex nihilo with a known cause, the cosmological argument works by assuming its own conclusion or “begging the question”.

Quantum mechanics actually does suppose that certain particles emerge from “nothing”, but again, no cause is known. If a cause were discovered, then the beginning of the universe would be theorised to have not just A cause but THAT particular cause. Furthermore, if the nature of the cause allowed it to be discovered by science in the first place, it would likely not be a god.

2 thoughts on “Post-Quantum Cosmological Apologetic”

  1. @SmartLX: If you don’t know what is the cause of the universe then, you must admit you don’t know if it was God or not.

    If God exists (I don’t think anyone can prove He doesn’t) one of His attributes is that He is an uncaused being. And according to what we know, Time and space didn’t exist before the Big Bang. So, for the universe to exist there must be a causal agent who is independent of time and space, independent and that exists previously to the universe.
    We know it can’t be a natural causal agent, because such agents are bounded to time and space. It must have been an agent not constrained by that fact, such uncaused agent is what we recognize as God, who is essentially eternal, and all powerful as to make a universe come into being.

    I think God is he best explanation for the existence of the universe, given this facts.

    1. Of course I don’t know what caused the universe, if anything. Atheists generally aren’t in the habit of claiming certainty that there are no gods, because that would require more knowledge than any human being has. But like leprechauns and Russell’s Teapot, not being able to rule something out completely is not in itself a good reason to think it’s true.

      Whatever time and space resulted from the Big Bang self-evidently didn’t exist before it, but if there’s someplace outside of that particular spacetime continuum where something can exist, it likely has or had its own spacetime. A popular hypothesis is that our system of spacetime is just one of many, which is what would likely happen in a multiverse. Allowing for the possible existence of more instances of an object we know exists (a universe) is a more sustainable position than asserting a different, even more exotic entity with no known precedent (a god).

      Regardless, as I said in the main article there is no basis for the premise that whatever begins to exist has a cause, but you’re carrying on as if you didn’t read that bit by assuming a cause and arguing that it was God. Furthermore, you’re asserting a new premise that natural objects or “agents” are bound by time and space, without any knowledge of what is possible outside of our system of spacetime. The idea that God isn’t bound by any of this is also an assertion; if He exists, He might have His own native space separate from ours.

      An old saying of mine relates well to the above: whatever constraints you place upon the universe in order to necessitate a god, you immediately have to break them to allow for a god.

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