humphreys wrote:Empty space, or the quantum field may have always existed.
Why not? Science does not refute this possibility, neither does logic.
There is no scientific evidence that the quantum field has always existed; and a quantum field that has always existed would run into the problem of infinite regress, so it doesn't appear logical either.
At least there is scientific evidence that the quantum field exists! There is no scientific evidence that God exists, let alone eternally. Score 1 for the atheists there.
An unchanging quantum field does not run into the problem of infinite regress, and if it does, so does your God. You are a best on level footing with that objection.
You already know my response to this, there doesn't need to be a cause in a lawless pre-Universe state
Laws are just descriptions of the universe. If the universe were different, then there would be a different description of how the universe worked and thus different laws. If there were no universe, then there wouldn't be any laws and thus no descriptions.
This is different from the idea that there are cosmic policemen running around making sure everyone obeys gravity; and if there were no cosmic policemen, then people could just do whatever they wanted.
A state of nonbeing would have absolutely nothing and therefore wouldn't be able to restrict, encourage, obey, disobey, or produce anything.
Your first paragraph is just semantics on the word "law" which have no bearing on my argument. Even if you treat "laws" as "descriptions of the way the Universe is", the laws of the pre-Universe state would still not be the same, so things like cause and effect would not be descriptions of that realm or state.
No one has experience of non-being, so no one is able to say what can and cannot come out of it. You again make the mistake of applying logic of this Universe to a pre-Universe state, about something you have no true concept of. You are being a little arrogant, closed-minded, and illogical in imposing logic and rules to a state of non-being, of which you know literally nothing about.
To you non-being means that truly nothing can come out it of it, to me non-being is a state of infinite possibility without restriction. At best they are interpretations of nothingness that cannot be shown true or false, either way. Again, stalemate at best, but I am not invoking all-powerful beings, simply looking at the problem of "nothingness" in what I think is a more rational way. When we look at "nothingness" in quantum vacuums and so on, we see that these are very unstable states in which some very surprising and seemingly illogical things happen.
Sleepwalk wrote:No, it's because any naturalistic explanation is logically invalid, without scientific evidence, or flies in the face of contemporary scientific evidence.
So you keep asserting, but I don't think your arguments are showing that.
Sleepwalk wrote:If the current and possible naturalistic explanations for the origin of the universe are all irrational in one way or another, then that's a signpost pointing towards the supernatural.
If by "supernatural" you mean above and beyond this Universe, then, of course, by very definition whatever caused the Universe would have to be "supernatural", but that's just more semantics that bring us no closer to any form of understanding.
I consider it naturalistic and not supernatural because I consider this pre-Universe "realm" or "state" a part of the bigger picture on what we can call reality. Part of the multiverse.
Sleepwalk wrote:And I have no problem searching outside of the universe--the natural world--for an explanation of its origins. Because where else would the cause of all the natural world be? Surely not within it.
Exactly. We need to be careful on our definition of "Universe" though. Universe can mean this existence in its current form, or "all that is", and the terms are often used interchangeably.
Sleepwalk wrote:If you saw a cake on the table and asked who or what created this cake, would you not accept the answer, "a cook"? Would you first need to know where the cook went to school, his ethnicity, how he learned to bake cakes, and how the cake was made before you would accept the answer as a valid explanation?
Not if we are trying to scientifically explain existence itself, no.
A closer analogy would be asking "Who killed this dead woman I see lying on the street?", and then answering "A man". In which case "a man" is not sufficient, no. And if the question was "Where do cakes come from?" we certainly would want to know the process involved in baking a cake from scratch, right down to the individual ingredients.
Your analogy really does not relate well to a theory of everything. If it did, when you ask me "What created the Universe?" I would just say "The multiverse".
Cause and effect is a law based on observation of the Universe. If the Universe was different, cause and effect might work differently, or it might work in reverse, or in a chaotic one, not at all.
I wouldn't go that far, since I think cause and effect is part of logic and that logic is fundamental. It's strange watching an atheist setting up the game in a way in which he'll be able to ignore or undermine logic later on, but I digress.
It's even stranger that a theist confidently declares that logic is fundamental, as if he has evidence it goes above and beyond the Universe it inhabits. Where is your evidence for that claim?
Sleepwalk wrote:Nonbeing is devoid of all properties, powers, etc., and so it wouldn't be able to produce anything.
It does not make sense to say "nonbeing" produces "being", rather "being" comes into existence in the state
of nonbeing because there are no restrictions on what can and cannot happen. Nonbeing to me is a state, not a thing, or lack of a thing. As science has shown, it is also an unstable state.
If something cannot come from nothing, what did God make the Universe from?
You are essentially saying your God can defy Universal law such as cause and effect because he is all powerful, I am simply saying in an unstable state of non-existence, there are no laws to defy.
Sleepwalk wrote:How could something without properties or causal powers be able to produce something? The answer, obviously, is that it couldn't.
Cause and effect does not apply to a lawless state of nonbeing. The word "produces" implies a process of cause and effect, that is the wrong approach. As Krauss says in his article, we probably have to rethink our entire approach of cause and effect in a pre-Universe state.
Sleepwalk wrote:Now, you came up with some whacky idea that a state of nonbeing wouldn't have laws and therefore "anything goes." There's two things wrong with this idea. One, even if it were true that "anything goes" in such a state, there would be nothing present to take advantage of the freedom. The second problem with this idea is that natural laws are merely physical descriptions of how the universe works. And so if there are no universe, then there's nothing to describe; and if there's nothing to describe, then there are no laws. When scientists talk about theories and laws, they're not talking about a cosmic list of rules that the universe needs to obey or else. They're just talking about how it is. You're equivocating physical descriptions of how the universe operates with how law is used when referring to a board game or courtroom.
First, "law" is used in science in both fashions - both as description, and beyond that, as actual restriction.
You continue to apply logic and descriptions or laws of this Universe to a pre-Universe state, and then pretend to know how true nothingness functions, and further treat nothingness as a thing, rather than a state. I think I have addressed each of your objections here earlier in this post.
Second, there is nothing whacky about what I have said aside from your assertion that that's the case.
Whatever way you look at it, something we might deem "whacky" happened back then, and an all powerful God breathing life into existence is as whacky as it gets.
Sleepwalk wrote:Finally, the quantum field isn't nonbeing.
True, that is a completely separate theory on what existed pre-Universe, one Krauss mentions in his book, and is also quite valid.
Sleepwalk wrote:Because whatever caused the universe would need to be necessary or else we're faced with an infinite regress--or the idea of something being produced by nonbeing. Both of which counter reason.
The "reason" of this Universe alone.
Don't you think if the Universe were different, reason would be different too? Different brains, different laws, same reason? Very unlikely.
You treat reason and logic as fundamental in all existence, I do not.
The bolded part does not follow, to me.
Sleepwalk wrote:Are you going to throw reason out the window just so you can avoid God? Is this what atheism is?
I am not throwing it out the window, reason is valid in all discussions within the framework of this Universe, so is science and logic, and everything else atheism and science hold dear. Before the Universe existed though? Who knows, but I am comfortable throwing it out, or tweaking it in discussion of that state, which is more in the realm of philosophy and not science by the way, so yes.
Sleepwalk wrote:Time didn't exist until God created it.
If time does not exist, God cannot do
Think about that, what you are suggesting, doing something outside of time, is far more illogical and anti-reason than anything mentioned in this entire debate. If you don't act within time, you don't act at all.
Does God think? If so, he thinks within the framework of time. Maybe not our time, but time. If you act in time, you run into the infinite regress problem.
Theists are so happy to break their own rules of logic when it comes to God.
Sleepwalk wrote:God was timeless prior to creation and is in time subsequent to creation. God wasn't thinking things like, "Hmm, what should I have for dinner tonight?" for an infinite amount of time before creating the universe. He just existed perfectly in a timeless state until He decided to create the universe.
LOL. Decision requires thought!
You can't suddenly decide to do something if you're in a timeless state!
Come on, you're being silly now.
Sleepwalk wrote:And now you're trying to say that nonbeing is somehow regulated, which is why it wouldn't be able to produce only one big bang?
Not regulated, no. It's not done on a timer or something.
If being can arise from a state of nonbeing, then given infinite time, it will do so an infinite number of times.
Sleepwalk wrote:I think most historians consider the Bible a collection of historic documents, which is one of the big reasons why they think Jesus of Nazareth was an actual person.
And I'm not presuming the Bible is accurate. I'm just going by what historians say. What are you going by?
Forget authority, their opinions differ on the matter anyway.
What reason do we have to assume what the Bible says is accurate regards the supernatural events it describes? We have none, but we have plenty of reasons to doubt.
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, not just words in a book.
Sleepwalk wrote:I watched that discussion between Kagan and Craig years ago, and I didn't see anything interesting about it, which is why I'm asking you what you found so compelling. Are you trying to get me to form your arguments for you?
Craig was at a loss for words because he was in a discussion, not a debate. He was trying to learn and understand, not chop Shelly up into pieces. What Kagan was saying isn't anything new.
Under atheism, what makes acts like torturing babies objectively wrong? Is there anything?
It is wrong because it harms babies. Simple as that. Morality comes from reason.
"All of our behavior can be traced to biological events about which we have no conscious knowledge: this has always suggested that free will is an illusion."
- Sam Harris