Thursday, September 25, 2008


And What Irony To Find This Blog
After Writing About "Existence"
"Before the scientific community came to a consensus on the Big Bang theory following the discovery of the cosmic radiation echo predicted by Big Bang theorists, many scientists believed in the Steady State theory. In short, they believed that the universe had no definite beginning and that hydrogen atoms were randomly popping into existence somewhere in the universe, supplying the material for all the physical phenomena like stars and planets. Atheists were generally rooting for this theory, understanding that a definite beginning for the physical universe implies its contingency- that it has a cause which is outside itself. As it turned out, the Big Bang has been confirmed in great measure by scientific findings...

"How the atheists managed to adopt the Big Bang theory as evidence for their position confounds me. If there is any interesting history behind this, I’d be curious to know it.

"To elaborate further on why this is a philosophical defeat for atheism: The contemporary atheist philosopher Kai Nielsen is frequently quoted by Christian apologists as saying about causation: “Suppose you suddenly hear a loud bang and you ask me, ‘What made that bang?’ and I reply ‘Nothing, it just happened.’ You would not accept that - in fact you would find my reply quite unintelligible.” Nielsen is quite right on this account. Bangs must have causes because they are finite, contingent events that have a definite beginning." W. E. Messamore [blog @]

A Reply

"If one thing exists in existence, it becomes the proof of the existence of existence," I wrote, above.
This refutes Messamore on his contention that "hydrogen atoms were randomly popping into existence." The theory of "ex nihilo" has long since been abandoned by Christian theologians; things in existence do not just spontaneously appear. If hydrogen atoms actually were randomly popping into existence, they were caused by something else already in existence. What that is may remain unknown for a long time, if in fact "popping hydrogen atoms" turns out to be a justified theory sometime in the future.
Saying that it was God who caused the popping of hydrogen atoms begs two questions: 1) for what purpose God would cause such a thing, or admitting that no human could ever know that answer; and 2) how can this discussion continue between us if God is the automatic answer to everything?

While I suppose it is true as Messamore says, that "a definite beginning for the physical universe implies its contingency," this in no way implies that metaphysical naturalists believe in the contingency theory, nor that atheists were "rooting" for that theory. I don't remember rooting for it. I don't remember reading that any of my atheist contemporaries or those who came before us rooted for it. But I could be wrong. Maybe some did.

But 'Existence exists' rules out contingency. It is also equally true that 'Existents exist,' and neither statement can be true without the other also being true. The conclusion of the extreme end result of this logic is that existence is not a product--not of a contingency, nor of anything else; and that nothing can be antecedent to existence, because it would require "nothingness" to be the default condition of the universe.Of course every theist is going to defend "nothingness" as the default position, because without doing so there can have been no "creation."

Contingency cannot be a fallback position for creation. "'God' as traditionally defined is a systematic contradiction of every valid metaphysical principle. The point is wider than just the Judeo- Christian concept of God. No argument will get you from this world to a supernatural world. No reason will lead you to a world contradicting this one. No method of inference will enable you to leap from existence to a 'super-existence.'" Leonard Peikoff; "The Philosophy of Objectivism."

Because "nothingness" can not be antecedent to existence, there is "nothing apart from it—and no alternative to it." [Peikoff] If nothingness was antecedent, then "nothingness" is reified, i.e., it becomes an existent. "Nothingness" as an "existent" is contradictory of the terms. "Nothingness" as an antecedent existent necessarily denotes "nothingness" as "something that exists." But just the opposite is true: nothingness is the absence of existence.

To argue that "somethingness" is the absence of "nothingness" reifies absence and makes it an existent. Contradictions do not exist; therefore, reified "nothingness" cannot exist.

The Big Bang was not the beginning of existence, nor by extension of any existents in existence. This means quite simply that the material that exploded in the Bang existed prior to the known universe. But the known materials of the universe are existents, which implies existence, which implies that "nothingness" can not have been the state of existence prior to any creation and that creation cannot have occurred because "nothingness" would then be a reified existent.

When people ask me what caused the Big Bang, I never say, "Nothing." Of course something caused an event. What causes a meteor to slam into the earth? What causes solar flares? The same thing that caused the Bang--which in the most simplistic of terms can only be called the Laws of Existence. But existence did not come about because of an event. It is not a product. It is the primal existential state of all that was, is, or can be. Existence cannot be the primal existential state of "nothingness" because "nothingness" exists only as a conceptual place holder within consciousness that denotes an existential state than cannot exist.

The Law of Identity says "'Everything is what it is and not another thing', or (where 'P' is any proposition) 'If P then P'." Existence, being what it is and not another thing, cannot be not-P, where not-P is "not-existence."

The Law of Non-Contradiction says "No proposition can be both true and not true; or that nothing can be--without qualification--the case and not the case at the same time; or that nothing can--without qualification--both have and lack a given property at the same time." So the proposition that "nothingness" is at the same time "somethingness" contradicts this Law.

Why would anyone ever say "nothing" caused the Big Bang? Why would anyone ever say hydrogen atoms just popped into existence from non-existence? They came from somewhere, not from no where; but that "somewhere" was a place in existence, not an "ex nihilo no-place" from which they supernaturally came into Being.

Why would anyone say that existents were created--which creation thus at the same time created existence itself--when the material to use in any creation would have to come from "nothingness?"

Existence is not a "product." Only something supernatural could cause "somethingness" from "nothingness," existence from non-existence; and because this argument relies on something supernatural, metaphysical naturalists must necessarily work from the epistemic principle that "existence exists." CEC

Many thanks to "sntjohnny" for turning me on to another Christian apologist. I love debating you guys!