Sunday, May 2, 2010

How to respond to "But who Created God?"

If you have talked with an atheist before about the existence of God, undoubtedly you have heard them respond with, "But who created God?" This is usually in the context of presenting the cosmological argument, explaining that all things that have beginnings have causes, the universe had a beginning and therefore must have had a cause. Atheists strangely think by saying, "What caused God?" they have found a defeater for this cosmological argument. But as Dr. William Lane Craig explains in the following one minute video, the question the atheist is asking there is completely irrelevant, and therefore not a defeater to the cosmological argument.

6 comments:

  1. Wrong (yet again).

    An explanation of anything that exists requires further explanation as to why that thing exists rather than nothing. The only thing that does not require an infinite regress is nothing.

    While you may not post this comment, can I make a personal complaint about not putting up further battle logs. I find them rather amusing and I have been starved of this amusement throughout this year for the most part which is most disappointing. I find your biased and incorrect reportage of when I pwn your arguments as great signs as to your religions dying state. Please do some more!!!

    Alex S

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  2. The difference between positing a creator God as the cause of the universe and a lost tribe (though they be more complex) as the cause of arrow heads be this: The archeologists require very little explanation on the part of a lost tribe by the very fact that as educated humans, they know that both humans, creative human beings and human tribes already exist- thus removing much of the unexplained complexity from the lost tribe hypothesis through inductive inference. It is not matter of complexity but rather a matter of how much complexity there is to explain.

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  3. Alexs' existential crisis aside. William your objection is a good one but there is still a lot of similarity between this analogy and a lost tribe:

    Archeologists have other sources that provide support for the induction (extant tribes etc) and this removes some of the possible but unlikely causes right? Well in the same way Christians have revelation to explain the causality of the universe and physical/biological/chemical organised complexity. There is the revelation of what God has done down the millenia shown in Jewish and church history. Also there is His direct revelation the bible. These two bodies of information remove the "complexity" as you have phrased it.

    We Christians require very little explanation as to the what and who of the causality of things, just like an archeologist with an arrowhead.

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  4. Isnt that simply basing the induction off of another induction. Archeologists know by inferring from their very own existence and by the existence of modern tribes that humans and tribes capable of fashioning unsavory implements of war exist. However, we do not know that God exists and to use the Bible as evidence of such a being is merely making another Inference from product to possible author.

    However, the analogy misses the entire point. Even if a perfect inference from Bible to divine author could be made, it defeats the purpose of the entire argument--- this being that theists are using the argument primarily to establish the existence of the creator or origin of the world rather than as a method of explaining how the earth came about (what would be the pt of the argument otherwise). This is distinct from the archeological example, from where the first order aim is merely to explain the arrow heads, not to establish the existence of the creative human tribes thus deduced.

    I do agree that the Bible removes some of the complexity because in a sense, it is a source of multiple attestation to a possible deduction insofar as it provides cumulative evidence when combined with the universe (As Galileo would say God authored the book of the Bible and the book of nature) but the evidence and corresponding conclusions are by no means as indubitable as those pertaining to the analogy in question

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  5. William, thank you firstly for your measured responses. It is refreshing to have a even handed respondee on the blog.

    Is the bible an induction to authorship in it's self? I don't tend to think so because of two main things. Firstly the bible claims to be a devine record in numerous places so it's ultimate authorship is not in question from the book itself. Secondly the historical nature of the revelation makes it testable and (though there are many sceptics on the issue) there is plenty of evidence that the attestation of the bible is sound. From your last paragraph I think you can see this at least in part.

    I would disagree that the primary purpose of the archeologist is to explain artifacts. Rather I would say their purpose is to explain the world of the past or sections of it. The arrowheads are a indicator of a past reality (the tribe) and the induction is made sense of by present realities (other tribes with arrowheads).

    It is this correlation that makes perfect sense of my reference to the bible. It is a current reality that we can refer to to see that there is a personal supernatural being that has interacted with our world in the past and presently (if you will believe the witness of Christians). The issue of explaining the universe is something that Christians come at from many angles, the arguement for a creator from causality is only one of the many ways to look at the worldview of the Christian (I'm not considering other theists in this discussion).

    Other ways to look at the question of a creator would be the presence of impossible forms for random interactions to produce (birds), complex information (eg DNA), and evidence of purpose in physics (fine tuning in constant values). You are right in viewing this as cumulative evidences, but I would argue that the closeness to the conclusion is a lot smaller than you would think.

    As a last question (appologies for the long response) what do you think has more bearing when considering past events, forensic evidence or testimony (when available of course)?

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