God proven in one minute!

It’s the Cosmological Argument, but with a special personal touch.  I love the bit where they “prove” that whatever created the universe had to be something like a person.

I hereby define the Universe as that which did not need a cause (our present universe might well be only one of an eternal multiverse), therefore it’s the Final Cause. (If theologians can do it, so can I).

h/t: Watson

81 Comments

  1. gbjames
    Posted January 25, 2013 at 5:32 am | Permalink

    I love the note at the end…. “This is a far-reaching video and may not adequately back up the premises of the argument.”

    No kidding.

  2. Liln
    Posted January 25, 2013 at 5:32 am | Permalink

    I… What?

  3. Posted January 25, 2013 at 5:35 am | Permalink

    Well argued!!! The Great Frog God now expects your constant worship, praise and $$$.

    • Linda Grilli Calhoun
      Posted January 25, 2013 at 5:39 am | Permalink

      ESPECIALLY the $$$$$. L

  4. Posted January 25, 2013 at 5:45 am | Permalink

    An eternal cause cannot create a non-eternal effect without the intervention of a personal mind.

    Umm…

    Must’ve been recorded on vinyl; I’m sure the needle skipped over a few logical(!?) steps there…

    • neil
      Posted January 25, 2013 at 8:51 am | Permalink

      That was the part of the “proof” where you have to add “a miracle happens here.”

  5. Posted January 25, 2013 at 5:52 am | Permalink

    I confess. I am something like a peron. I am to blame for causing the universe. You may now send cash. Large denominations accepted.

    • E.A. Blair
      Posted January 25, 2013 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      I’m sure Eva will be happy to have another peron around.

  6. Sines
    Posted January 25, 2013 at 5:57 am | Permalink

    Not many people hit on this point, but why must it be timeless and spaceless?

    Why can’t the cause be some scientist in another universe, creating a new universe with it’s own separate chunk of space and time?

    Of course, it might be said that it wasn’t the scientist that was the cause, but whatever natural forces the scientist used to create the new universe, which are timeless and spaceless.

    In which case this cause is now no longer a mind.

    Or what if you wish to say “How could a scientist exact a change using timeless natural laws, since how can those timeless natural forces change anything?”

    To which I respond, “A problem you wish to solve by making the mind behind it also incapable of change.”

    The usual arguments against the cosmological argument are pretty old. Theres a lot of fun to be had in the “Scientist in another universe” argument. It’s a nice argument, and you can always color it with the “We’re all in the Matrix” supposition, if you like.

    • lulu_footloose
      Posted January 25, 2013 at 7:43 am | Permalink

      Why can’t it be a space cucumber that farts complex things and events into existence? I define this space cucumber as dum dee doo and it’s only dum dee doos that can create universes. There!

      • HaggisForBrains
        Posted January 25, 2013 at 9:35 am | Permalink

        I suppose then that it’s dum dee doos all the way down (at least until you reach the turtles).

        • Posted January 25, 2013 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

          Nice, but then you’d need an explanation for the DDD/T boundary.

  7. Timothy Hughbanks
    Posted January 25, 2013 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    “I hereby define the Universe is defined as…” Well, I’m somewhat relieved that I’m not the only one who gets impatient and writes cut-and-paste burps like this. Now, if only WordPress would allow us a decent interval for fixing ‘em.

    • whyevolutionistrue
      Posted January 25, 2013 at 6:08 am | Permalink

      Fixed. Not a cut-and-paste but a rewrite before coffee.

  8. Posted January 25, 2013 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    Minds depend on protein synthesis. Proteins are made of amino acids. Amino acids depend on hydrocarbons. Ergo, God is co-dependent on a material universe.

    • Posted January 25, 2013 at 7:32 am | Permalink

      I haven’t heard many theists pressed on this point – how can there even be such a thing as a disembodied mind? I have a Christian friend but he doesn’t mind only being able to say “I don’t know” to questions like this, so not finding an answer doesn’t weaken his belief.

      • gbjames
        Posted January 25, 2013 at 7:48 am | Permalink

        I expect the usual believer’s answer would be “bla boa boa souls bla bla boa”.

      • Curt Cameron
        Posted January 25, 2013 at 7:49 am | Permalink

        This video was just putting cool pictures together with William Lane Craig’s apologist arguments that he uses all the time in his debates. I’m surprised that Craig wasn’t credited, because it really is his script.

        When pressed on the point of a disembodied mind, I’ve heard Craig explain it. A mind, he argues, is a very simple concept, so it could “just be that way.” Or something. He just brushed aside the fact that even our flawed minds are the result of the most complex single thing we know about in the universe, the human brain.

      • Curt Cameron
        Posted January 25, 2013 at 7:51 am | Permalink

        I found WLC’s response to that question:

        As an unembodied mind, God is a remarkably simple entity. As a non-physical entity, a mind is not composed of parts, and its salient properties, like self-consciousness, rationality, and volition, are essential to it. In contrast to the contingent and variegated universe with all its inexplicable quantities and constants, a divine mind is startlingly simple. Certainly such a mind may have complex ideas—it may be thinking, for example, of the infinitesimal calculus—, but the mind itself is a remarkably simple entity.

        • gbjames
          Posted January 25, 2013 at 7:53 am | Permalink

          “…a divine mind is startlingly simple…”

          You might say divinity is simpleminded.

          • HaggisForBrains
            Posted January 25, 2013 at 9:37 am | Permalink

            +1

        • Posted January 25, 2013 at 7:58 am | Permalink

          Thanks for linking to that, even though Craig doesn’t give a very good answer.

        • Posted January 25, 2013 at 8:03 am | Permalink

          In contrast to the contingent and variegated universe with all its inexplicable quantities and constants, a divine mind is startlingly simple.

          Wait, so he’s saying the simple can give rise to the complex? Well, then, that scuppers the usual theistic argument against abiogenisis.

        • gluonspring
          Posted January 25, 2013 at 9:54 am | Permalink

          Some minds, apparently.

      • Darth Dog
        Posted January 25, 2013 at 8:28 am | Permalink

        I agree that this should be a killer point. But they’re all dualists. The mind is instantiated in the soul. That’s always the explanation that I get.

        • gluonspring
          Posted January 25, 2013 at 10:08 am | Permalink

          Definitely. We should probably spend more time confronting dualism directly because it is a poison well from which all sorts of nonsense springs. It’s why you get people wanting to call flushing a fertilized egg murder. They actually believe that that single cell possess a soul and by dent of that some kind of mind.

          • John Scanlon, FCD
            Posted January 27, 2013 at 10:40 am | Permalink

            Dent, Arthur Dent?

  9. coozoe
    Posted January 25, 2013 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    Why do these nuts always blabb without studying the science first? Their responses are infantile.

    • gluonspring
      Posted January 25, 2013 at 10:09 am | Permalink

      Why don’t the ignorant know anything? ;-)

  10. Kieran
    Posted January 25, 2013 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    1. Steal the underpants
    2.
    3. Profit

    I’ve read my Pratchett, that which cannot change cannot learn.

  11. moleatthecounter
    Posted January 25, 2013 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    The argument from Wibble.

    1. All Wibble that begins to exist must have a cause.

    2. Wibble exists.

    Therefore –

    3. God is Wibble, and Wibble is god.

    Next!

  12. John K.
    Posted January 25, 2013 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    Wheee! Begging the question is fun!

  13. Posted January 25, 2013 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    As Daz pointed out above, there’s a big logical step involved in

    An eternal cause cannot create a non-eternal effect without the intervention of a personal mind.

    Indeed, that seems to be in many ways the crux of the argument.

    If anyone’s curious about how that’s actually supposed to work, it’s usually something like the following.

    An eternal cause cannot create a non-eternal effect without making a libertarian free will decision. After all, if the sufficient conditions to produce a universe existed eternally, then the universe would exist eternally. If there were a mindless, mechanical physical process existing eternally (something with a non-zero chance of creating a universe at any given point), then in terms of probability, it would have created a universe infinitely long ago. And if it were a deterministic will, that wouldn’t work, since there was no causation before the universe.

    The most sensible kind of thing that could create a universe, then, is an eternal will that a universe begin at some time.

    Yes, it’s a mess, but that’s pretty much what they have. (For my part, I think that that explanation then calls into question the inference that the cause was eternal, anyway. Among other problems.)

    • Pete D
      Posted January 25, 2013 at 6:52 am | Permalink

      I suppose that somewhat answers my question below. But it seems kind of arbitrary to pick some point in an infinite amount of time at which to create a universe for such a fleeting moment. Additionally, if there was no causation before the universe, then there was no cause of the beginning of the universe.

  14. Pete D
    Posted January 25, 2013 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    Unchanging? So how did it go from a state in which it did not create the universe to a state in which it did create a universe?

    • Darth Dog
      Posted January 25, 2013 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      I’ve always wondered that myself. In fact, I think the concept of a mind outside of time is incoherent.

      So God, in all her omniscience, just sits there for all eternity with the same glazed look on her face.

      • Pete D
        Posted January 25, 2013 at 9:52 am | Permalink

        Exactly!

      • Marella
        Posted January 25, 2013 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

        All concepts of god are incoherent, or at least all of the ones I’ve heard of. Which is why I am quite certain this being doesn’t exist.

  15. Another Matt
    Posted January 25, 2013 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    This is just standard William Lane Craig and J.P. Moreland apologetics.

    Yesterday I “recommended” Moreland’s Scaling the Secular City on the Moreland thread. Here’s where he says it has to be a person. (pp. 41-42 — the first 40 pages lay out rest of the argument from the video, in exactly the same order!)

    The first event was caused either by something personal or by something impersonal. Prior to the first event — where prior means “ontologically prior,” not “temporally prior” — there was a state of affairs which can be described by the following: there was no time, space, or change of any kind.

    It is hard to conceive of such a state of affairs in physicalist terms (i.e., in terms of matter and energy). But let us grant that such a state of affairs could exist.

    In this state of affairs, either the necessary and sufficient conditions for the first event existed from all eternity in a state of immutability or they did not. If they did not, then the coming-to-be of the those conditions was the first event. One can then ask about the necessary and sufficient conditions for that event. No matter how far back this regress goes, the coming-to-be of any set of necessary and sufficient conditions for a further event will itself be an event. And it will be an event which becomes a part of the series of past events which occurs after the first event — unless, of course, it is the first event itself.

    It seems, then, that the only way a physicalist understanding of the beginning of the universe can avoid the first event being uncaused is to say that the necessary and sufficient conditions for the first event existed from all eternity in a timeless, changeless state. These conditions for some reason or other gave rise to the first event.

    The problem with this scenario is this. In the physical universe, when A is the efficient cause of B, then given the presence of A, B obtains spontaneously. If the necessary and sufficient conditions for a match to light are present, the match lights spontaneously. There is no deliberation, no waiting. In such situations, when A is the efficient cause of B, spontaneous change or mutability is built into the situation itself.

    The only way for the first event to arise spontaneously from a timeless, changeless, spaceless state of affairs, and at the same time be caused, is this — the event resulted from the free act of a person or agent. In the world, persons or agents spontaneously act to bring about events. I myself raise my arm when it is done deliberately. There may be necessary conditions for me to do this (e.g., I have a normal arm, I am not tied down), but these are not sufficient. The event is realized only when I freely act. Similarly, the first event came about when an agent freely chose to bring it about, and this choice was not the result of other conditions which were sufficient for that event to come about.

    In summary, it is most reasonable to believe that the universe had a beginning which was caused by a timeless, immutable agent. This is not a proof that such a being is the God of the Bible, but it is a strong statement that the world had its beginning by the act of a person. And this is at the very least a good reason to believe in some form of theism.

    • Vaal
      Posted January 25, 2013 at 8:08 am | Permalink

      Moreland says:

      “The only way for the first event to arise spontaneously from a timeless, changeless, spaceless state of affairs, and at the same time be caused, is this — the event resulted from the free act of a person or agent. In the world, persons or agents spontaneously act to bring about events. I myself raise my arm when it is done deliberately.”

      Uhm…I’ve never seen a person raise his arm in a timeless, changeless, spaceless state of affairs. Every action we’ve ever seen people take involve time, change, space. If there could be a less logical leap than that taken by this fellow, I can’t imagine what it could be.

      “The event is realized only when I freely act. Similarly, the first event came about when an agent freely chose to bring it about, and this choice was not the result of other conditions which were sufficient for that event to come about.”

      Of course what he is hiding in words like “freely chose” is “magic.” Is there any empirical support, any precedent he can point to for a timeless, changeless, spaceless person or mind doing anything? No. Aside from merely asserting such things exist, how would this a-causal “free” action WORK? No explanation. You know…it just does. Magic.

      Oh, ok, well if we can make assertions with no empirical support and no explanation for how it does things, Pandora’s box is open. I assert an eternal stone caused the universe. You see, it just has the qualities of “being able create universes.” Any precedent for this? No. How would it do it? I dunno…just does…magic.

      Ok, the world of theology/apologetics is too infantalizing. Back to the grown-up world of science where “magic” and baseless assertions aren’t tolerated.

      Vaal

    • Posted January 25, 2013 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      The implication of following Moreland’s logic here is that everything not involving agents should happen all at once. Only an agent can inject time (for deliberation, etc).

      No. No, no. Something is very wrong with this argument.

  16. Mateus
    Posted January 25, 2013 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    So many of my neurons died during the minute I’ve spent watching that video that my IQ was probably halved.

    • Reginald Selkirk
      Posted January 25, 2013 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      making you a perfect candidate for religious conversion. Their strategy is working!

  17. Josh
    Posted January 25, 2013 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    Wow… I’ve never seen that many unjustified assumptions crammed into a one-minute video before.

    • abrotherhoodofman
      Posted January 25, 2013 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      That’s the trick. Once a critical mass of unjustified assumptions is achieved, a neuronal explosion occurs, resulting in a low-level religious fallout that can persist for decades.

  18. Kevin Alexander
    Posted January 25, 2013 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    The being must make sense.
    For the being to appreciate scents it must have an exceptional nose.
    To be endless it must have it’s nose in it’s arse.

    Therefore, Dog

  19. See Nick Overlook
    Posted January 25, 2013 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    He had a cool British accent! It must be true!

    • moleatthecounter
      Posted January 25, 2013 at 7:34 am | Permalink

      British accent? Really? I think not… More antipodean than British methinks.

      • See Nick Overlook
        Posted January 25, 2013 at 8:58 am | Permalink

        To a Minnesotan, it’s all the same and it lends overwhelming authority to anything anyone says.

        • Reginald Selkirk
          Posted January 25, 2013 at 10:22 am | Permalink

          Ya, you bet.

          • Posted January 25, 2013 at 11:50 am | Permalink

            Close. A true ‘Sotan would never leave her interlocutors hanging by not appending the requisite “-cha” to “bet”.

            I will happily produce my Scandisotan credentials upon request.
            :)

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted January 25, 2013 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      It’s an Afrikaans accent

      • John Scanlon, FCD
        Posted January 27, 2013 at 11:02 am | Permalink

        Sounds Australian to me (that’s where I live, and I’ve a fairly good ear for accents). Any particular vowels that signal Afrikaner to you?

  20. Jeremy Nel
    Posted January 25, 2013 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    OK, challenge in reverse: can anyone find ONE statement in this video that’s logical?

    • moleatthecounter
      Posted January 25, 2013 at 7:44 am | Permalink

      To be fair yes I can…

      ‘Note’

      • Jeremy Nel
        Posted January 25, 2013 at 8:20 am | Permalink

        Haha! Touché!

  21. Vaal
    Posted January 25, 2013 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Yeesh….

    “The universe began to exist…”

    Not so fast. The Big Bang Theory only speaks to the early development of the universe, telling us at one point it was of infinite density and temperature, beyond which our calculations break down. This first premise assumes “there was no universe at all” – nothing – to begin with – for which no support is given.

    “Therefore the universe had a cause.”

    The gratuitous assumption of the first premise makes this one gratuitous as well.
    But continuing on anyway…”what do we know about this cause?”

    “Because it CREATED… (right, like no one is going to notice you’ve slipped from “caused” to “created” there, begging the question)….space and time, it must be spaceless and eternal.”

    Wait…why? If by “Universe” you mean “all that exists” then nothing exists outside of it to create it. But if by “universe” you mean “the known universe…THIS one we see” then if you are going to go positing something else existing outside the universe, then logically it could be some other entity existing in different sphere of space and time. Scientists hypothesize the mechanics of other universes as causes for our own, for instance.

    “It must be unchanging”

    Already rendered moot by the failure in support for the previous premises. But if it IS unchanging and timeless, then how could there be a “Time A” at which it was not causing the universe and a “Time B” at which it was causing the universe?

    “It must be unimaginably powerful in order to CREATE this vast universe.”

    Aside from the question-begging “Create,” there is no reason to think that if *something* caused the universe then IT must be unimaginably powerful.
    If there is any lesson science seems to have taught us it’s that complexity is often traced downward in scope, or backward in time, to ever more simplicity in the causal chain. This is one of the lessons of Evolution: people use to look at “ALL THIS” biological complexity on earth, all the interlocking ecology etc, and then infer only a Great Mind could have created it. Yet we have found that it can be all traced back to much, much simpler beginnings. Surely the very first living biological organisms or simple life forms that led to all of earth’s biology were not themselves “Unimaginably Powerful.” Given potential algorithms within nature, the vast and complex can arise form the simple and meagre. And of course the universe itself seems to have began in a much smaller, simpler form. So there is no reason we must posit Ultimate Power as a cause for the universe.

    (the cause)”Must be personal…why?…an eternal cause can not create a non-eternal effect without the intervention of a personal mind.”

    So the final step is to simply give the cause magic powers? It’s just asserted that “minds” have the magical qualities of being able to make decisions – let alone cause a universe – without there being time, space or the material. Any empirical support whatsoever for this ginormous assertion? Any minds you can show me that are not operating within time/space/material, let alone causing things under such circumstances? No? Thank you. Go home now.

    Vaal

    • Posted January 25, 2013 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      “Given potential algorithms within nature, the vast and complex can arise form the simple and meagre. And of course the universe itself seems to have began in a much smaller, simpler form. So there is no reason we must posit Ultimate Power as a cause for the universe.” — QFT!

      /@

  22. Posted January 25, 2013 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    Thought it was telling that the YouTube advert banner running on this video was for “Kabbalah Secrets”!

  23. @eightyc
    Posted January 25, 2013 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    Actually I created the Universe when I woke up this morning.

    • Mark Joseph
      Posted January 25, 2013 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      Wrong. I did. But, I created you with the mental impression and (false) memory that you created the world when you woke up this morning.

      • gluonspring
        Posted January 25, 2013 at 10:13 am | Permalink

        Damn you. Better memories next time, OK?

        • Another Matt
          Posted January 25, 2013 at 10:17 am | Permalink

          I’m afraid if Mark is correct, then “damn you” is not something you should be saying to him

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted January 25, 2013 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

            None of you exist. The webmaster types it all in. :)

      • Posted January 25, 2013 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

        Aha! I knew the omphalos argument was the correct one.

  24. Rain
    Posted January 25, 2013 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    “Personal” just sounds like one of those wishy-washy terms that nobody knows what the hell it means. It just has equivocation written all over it.

    • Rain
      Posted January 25, 2013 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      It seems to me that it should be a philosopher’s duty to at least try and avoid terms that could potentially be equivocal. Oh wait, we’re talking apologetics here. So equivocation and weasel words are actually a feature and not a bug.

  25. Rick M
    Posted January 25, 2013 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    It must be cartoonly dickish and sex-obsessed because It is male

  26. abrotherhoodofman
    Posted January 25, 2013 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    I thought Wiseman’s cat NDE was a better proof.

  27. DrBrydon
    Posted January 25, 2013 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    Wow…that was just…wow.

    I can a scene in a movie in which these statements are repeated to a captive audience over and over again in a monotone “Everyting has a cause…Because it is eternal it must be unchanging…It must be immaterial…”, like Yoyodyne in Buckaroo Banzai: “Work. Work. Work. The greatest joy is the joy of duty.”

    Or the re-education scene in Clockwork Orange.

  28. KP
    Posted January 25, 2013 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    I have never understood why the Cosmological Argument gets such high praise, especially by someone of WLC’s cleverness.

    Am I the only one who thinks it falls apart due to special pleading? Why does “God” get to be the uncaused cause?

    • Kevin
      Posted January 25, 2013 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      It falls apart because the first premise is incorrect.

      “Everything that begins to exist must have a cause” is a false statement.

      Therefore, the entire proof fails.

      But yes, special pleading extraordinaire after that. Why not Chthulu? Or Brahma? Or Ra? Or the Titans? Or an all-natural cause (which would be the most parsimonious from a physics perspective–Occam would be proud)?

      It’s a grand great leap from “things are caused” to “Baby Jesus’ daddy poofed the universe into existence with magic words”.

  29. Posted January 25, 2013 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    We have a good word for ‘nonsense’ it is ‘codswallop’ After watching the 1-minute God-Proof I proclaim it as ‘Godswallop’. Let us bray. ;-)

  30. Kevin
    Posted January 25, 2013 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    I won’t even bother to look at it…but let me guess.

    1. Everything that begins to exist must have a cause…BZZZZZT. Wrong.

    First premise is objectively and empirically incorrect. So sorry. Proof denied. Back to physics 101 for you.

  31. Jeffrey Shallit
    Posted January 25, 2013 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Oh, not the old “you cannot have an infinite number of events” claim. Who knows, it might be true in our universe, but there is no logical reason why it could not be the case.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted January 25, 2013 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

      I would have thought the definition of infinity ruled out there ever being an infinite number of anything, anywhere, ever. Because if you have an infinite number of [things], then you can always add one more – so your ‘infinite’ number wasn’t truly infinite.

      (But I’m not a mathematician so I may have got that wrong…)

  32. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted January 25, 2013 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    I just watched it. First thing that came to mind was ‘non sequitur’, repeatedly. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many packed into 60 seconds.

    Second thing was that he seems to be working up to gravity = God :)

  33. Posted January 26, 2013 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    “God Proven in 1 Minute” or “One minute’s worth of non sequiturs” Take your pick.

  34. Jim Thomerson
    Posted January 26, 2013 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    I have read that Steven Hawking has proposed methods for studying the situation before the big bang. He also says, based on quantum mechanics, I think, that the Big Bang produced some 10^500 separate universes, some of which were small and short lived.

  35. derekw
    Posted January 30, 2013 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    The producers of this video evolutiondismantled.com state on their website that ‘theEvolutionDismantled is dedicated to the advancement of science.’ Ha! That is a joke and an affront to Christianity IMHO. Clearly they are a young earth organization and are trying to advance their specific interpretation of Scripture (along with twisting/misinterpreting/ignoring good science.) Sadly they appeal to solid Big Bang cosmology scientific evidence for this video argument for God’s existence but throw away pretty much all other astronomical, geological, paleontological evidence for existence of old earth, fossil record etc.


One Trackback/Pingback

  1. […] (hat tip: Jerry Coyne) […]

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 30,616 other followers

%d bloggers like this: