Causality vs. Infinite Regress

The Existence of an Eternal Being Part 2 of 3

Summary: Every event and agent is present because of a previous cause. You can’t have something happen without a cause. People, places, and things do not appear without some one or an action causing them to appear. Therefore, since we cannot have an infinite regress, there must be one “thing” that exists without the request causality. That “thing” must have always existed and all material in the universe must originate from it and I surmise that it must be God.

I think that everyone outside of theoretical quantum physics would agree that every event that occurs has a cause. You didn’t just wake up one morning to find that you gained 100 pounds, just like you wont lose it without a cause. You did too much couch surfing with many 16 ounce curls instead of jogging and 20 pound curls. The leaf on a tree moved because the wind blew it.

There are two types of causality which are different primarily because of intentionality, but here are the general differences

 

  1. Event causation – An event occurs because of another event. An example of event causation are the Direct TV commercials that end “get rid of cable and upgrade to Direct TV like “Big Fatty Face” “When your cable goes out, you get stressed” . And a bunch of events happen that lead you to a bad end, one that you did not intend on occurring. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXHdoreQ5i4
  2. Agent causation – An event occurs because of some sort of sentient being that intended to cause something to happen. I threw a baseball into a glass window and it broke.

You can’t have anything occur that did not occur without causality. If they did we would live in a random universe where we could not predict any event, be able to understand the natural world, much less come up with scientific laws.

In the the movie The Matrix Reloaded, there is a scene that lays out causality well, even though in the middle of the scene it gets a little R-rated. The Merovingian is answering a question/statement from Morpheus “you know why we are here”. Here is his response:

There is only one constant in the universe. It is the only truth. Causality. Action – reaction, cause and effect. Causality. For there is no escape from it. We are forever slaves to it. Our only peace is to understand it to understand the WHY! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkQYFwyX0k8 This is not a new concept. Aristotle said “we do not have knowledge of a thing until we have grasped its why, that is to say, its explanation” or it cause. “Why is it here”, or “what caused it to act in such a way”. The questions presuppose the ability to rationally come to the actual answer.

When we look back in time and continue to ask “what caused that?”, we cannot have an infinite regression, but we must come to event or agent in which it was not acted upon. If not then we are saying that the universe did not have a beginning, which theologian and cosmologist both agree that is false, the universe did have a beginning. Stephen Hawking says that there is no need for a God because there are many universes that spontaneously existed out of nothing. So, what Hawking is saying is that there was nothing one moment, and the next there was not just our universe but many.

To believe the way Hawking does is simply a philosophical fantasy that not only requires more faith than believing in a creator God, but it also requires you to suspend logic. The theistic explanation at least is plausible, and I believe the most rational conclusion to the question “where did the universe come from”. The answer God!

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4 thoughts on “Causality vs. Infinite Regress

  1. Are you familiar with Peter W. Atkins’ “Creation Revisited”. I read it years ago, but if I remember right, he argues that it is a very sound argument that the Universe could have come from nothing, and that in particle physics it seems that it is quite a common and normal behaviour for particles to be born from nothing. Philosophically, if we apply the logic of opposites that Socrates was so fond of to this matter, and colour it with a pinch of Sartre’s existential rationale, then we could rationalise that things have a natural tendency to yearn for that which is lacking. Nothingness would therefore lack existence and could, perhaps we could even say should, be expected to yearn for that existence so hard that it could bring existence into being. If this is what quantum mechanics seems to indicate is a normal process, I don’t think it is a reason challenging thesis. The problem with God is always what created God, and if we can accept that God created Itself, then we can also imagine a Universe that created itself, and if we imagine a Creator that is uncreated… well, frankly, I just can’t imagine it, and that idea defies all our knowledge of any physics. Of course, we couldwrap God up in the Big Bang, but then that is saying that the Universe is God and God is the Universe, which is fair enough, but then one of the terms, either God or Universe, is subsequently rendered unnecessary.

    • I am not familiar with that book, but I will check it out.

      Okay, so I take it that you are essentially making these points:

      1. Particles are created out of nothingness; therefore, there is no need for a creator God.
      2. Who created God?

      The flaw in point number one is that you are not fully understanding Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle and how it fundamentally effects quantum mechanics. Heisenberg asserts that a system can never have exactly zero energy, so these virtual particles are not coming out of nothing. The second issue is that according the Scientific American “These virtual particles often appear in pairs that near-instantaneously cancel themselves out”. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/something-from-nothing-vacuum-can-yield-flashes-of-light/

      The most glaring issue I have with someone who asserts that it is illogical to believe in an infinte creator God, but says that the universe could easily have sprung up from nothing is fanciful and requires more faith than a theistic explaination.

      You point out a problem with the Big Bang, and actually I do not see any problem with a creator God and the Big Bang. God created the universe but we do not know how. So, God created the matter of the universe via the Big Bang. Not I understand that I cannot explain how God can be eternal in the past, but neither can Hawking explain, without a large dose of faith, how matter could be eternal.

      Either all matter is eternal or there is a divine being who is eternal. Which one is more logical? Remember that with quantum mechanics, the virtual particles are not really coming from nothing and the universe before the Big Bang couldn’t have had exactly zero energy. All that begs the question, that no matter how small an amount of energy existed prior to the Big Bang, where did the energy (matter) originate from?

      I concede that there are many mysteries that we cannot understand yet. However, to ascribe not simply a particle spontaneously existing but the entire mass of the universe coming into being out of nothing is unbelievable. Mass and energy are equivalent and scientists estimate that the mass of the universe to be approximately 1.46×1053 kg, which is such a large number it is not one that we can really grasp. The universe is about 13.8 billion years old. In that time the amount of particles coming to existence out of nothing means they would have had to be doing so at a very high rate to make up the known universe. This also doesn’t answer the complexity issue.

  2. I think you are saying that there has to be a cause for that most fundamental agent/event, but I think I missed why it is the case that that fundamental agent/event needs no cause. Also, I, like Stephen Hawkins believes that something can come from nothing. There is logic behind it, as there is behind that everything comes from something.

    • Yang Ho,

      Read my reply to Paul for the matter from nothing issue.

      The reason that the original agent needs no cause is deductive logic. There would have only been one “thing” in existence; therefore, there wouldn’t be any other “thing” to interact with or to have a causality relationship. Hawking purposes the same thing with his belief that there was nothing, and then there was everything.

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