Search Our Site
Atheism vs. Theism
"Atheism/Theism" vs. "Science, the Bible, & Creation"
Introduction and Charges
1, Deduction and Induction
2, Question 1
2, Questions 2 and 3
2, Summary and Question 4
3 and 4, Definitions
Acting as Mechanisms, Article 1
Acting as Mechanisms, Article 2
Acting as Mechanisms, Article 3
Razor and Conclusions
2 and 3
Theories, Unsubstantiated Hypotheses 1
Theories, Unsubstantiated Hypotheses 2
Theories, Unsubstantiated Hypotheses 3
Theories, Unsubstantiated Hypotheses 4
Life on Earth Imported from Outer Space
Circle of Reasons
God a White Crow?
Perhaps it might be suggested that the endless series of causes
(infinite regress) could itself function as an eternal cause.
However, such a suggestion is absurd. There are two problems
with suggesting an endless series of causes could act as an
First, to do so would, in fact, be asserting that an infinite
series of insufficient causes functions as a sufficient cause.
This would imply that sufficiency is conveyed by quantity.
Or in other words, if there are enough insufficient causes,
they become sufficient simply by virtue of their quantity.
But quantity has nothing to do with sufficiency where causes
Second, and more importantly, each cause in the endless series
of causes is by definition also acting as an effect (of some
previous cause.) Therefore, in an infinite series of insufficient
causes, what you would really have is an endless series of
effects without ever arriving at a cause sufficient to produce
those effects. Thus, infinite regress, one way or another,
is ultimately a process of procrastinating the problem of
the need for a sufficient (and by definition eternal) cause.
The existence of the universe requires a sufficient cause.
And in general, the existence of a thing (unless it is eternal)
requires the existence of something sufficient to cause that
thing. Therefore, each insufficient cause further demands
the existence of an initial sufficient cause.
To make such a suggestion (of an endless series of insufficient
causes) acknowledges two things. First, it acknowledges the
need for an eternal cause. And second, it acknowledges that
only an eternal cause (a cause extending infinitely back into
time) can be considered a sufficient cause. But, because of
the problems described above, we cannot accept the theory
of an infinite series of causes. Instead, we are left only
with the fact that such a theory would itself corroborate
that an eternal cause is required for a sufficient explanation
of the universe's existence.
Similarly, some might posit that the universe (and/or a series
of preceding causes) actually function in a cyclical (rather
than a linear) string of causation. Thus, one thing causes
another, which causes another and so on until the last thing
actually causes the first thing. Such a hypothetical cycle
is logically absurd. In reality it is simply a reformulation
of the notion of self-creation because ultimately in cyclical
causation, one event will have to perform the act of causation
that will in turn, lead to its own causation. Or in other
words, an event will have to perform the act of causing before
that event has itself been caused.
It is a simple fact. If A cannot occur unless B occurs first
and B cannot occur unless A occurs first, then neither A nor
B will ever occur. Why can't A occur? Because B has not yet
occurred. Why hasn't B occurred yet? Because A hasn't yet
occurred. Cyclical causation is not possible. Cyclical causation
is circular reasoning.
And there are two additional points worth making on this topic.
First, an endless cyclical view of causation contradicts the
Big Bang Theory, which states that the universe had a beginning
and did not exist as part of a repeating eternal cycle. So,
for an Atheist to suppose cyclical causation, rather than
a linear causation, would contradict the prominent view held
in modern science, and the Atheist would forfeit any objection
to Theism on the grounds that Theism is not in concert with
at least some aspects of modern scientific views.
Second, the notion of the universe existing eternally as part
of a repeating cycle of causation is outside the boundaries
of what can be empirically tested and it contravenes Occam's
Razor. If the empirical evidence tells us, as modern scientists
claim it does, that the universe began around 10 to 20 billion
years ago, then what evidence tells us that the universe went
through a cycle of expansion and contraction (or any other
cycle) prior to the Big Bang? None, how could we possible
know that? Such a theory is pure speculation. The simplest
explanation is for one Big Bang at a beginning and with no
evidence to suggested prior activity before the Big Bang,
we must reject a cyclical view of the existence of the universe.
To suggest additional expansions and contractions when only
one expansion is necessary to explain the empirical evidence
would violate the scientific rule of Occam's Razor.