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Does every effect have to have a cause?

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This question appeared in my mind when I tried to criticize the "argument of first cause". A brother presented this argument:

"Our intellect can comprehend the fact that there has to be a first cause, a cause of which has no beginning or end, which by default becomes infinite. The first cause can't be 'some things' because everything starts with a zero and adds up (they become finite). The first cause is infinite. Infinity does not add up or subtract, it has no beginning or end and we know it exists because it must exist for everything else to exist. This infinite cause is what we call 'god', the creator of everything. Our intellect is able to rationalise the first causes' existence (god)."

My critics on this argument are these:

1. Not everything has a cause as per your own argument, e.g., the first cause itself, which you are mentioning as a cause which has no beginning or end. Means it is not caused by any mean.
2. 1st assumption is FIRST cause, 2nd assumption that cause has no beginning or end. Seems to me that whole argument is based on assumptions. What is missing in your comment? fact i.e., every effect has a cause. So considering what caused the universe? The answer is not first cause, this universe can be caused by another universe which can be caused by another & so on to infinity. Why because law of universe dictates that "energy can neither be created nor destroyed". This universe is nothing but matter & energy.

It would be great if you criticize my critics or the argument itself. So that we can have a better understanding of its strengths & weaknesses.

Edited by Spiritual

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The solution by william lane craig is: Whatever begins to exist, has a cause.

[This is just his view]

Within normal conditions , perhaps energy only changes from one state to another. However, if you place God in the picture, why can he not create energy itself, and, the very law that determines that energy can only change from one state to another ?

 

 

Edited by uponthesunnah

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Let me cut it for you: 

Q: Ultimately we have no other way but to accept an un-caused entity, why should it be God and not Universe/Matter itself?

1st A: Universe has a start point, Matter is limited (by definition) but God is unlimited. we are searching for the cause when it comes to limited beings, not unlimited.

You may not like this answer, by trying to imagine an Unlimited matter or a limitless chain of universes that each caused the next. (see? you always need to make it "unlimited" to escape the law of causality, it has its own discussion, the relation between finite-hood and causality)

However, the answer that I like, is the precedence of actuality over potentiality. Matter is poor, it is just potentiality -by definition- something must actualize it from outside. Now there might be people who tend to change the technical definitions, like they talk about "nature" as if it is a certain entity out there, the same happens to concepts like matter and universe, they say Matter and Universe, but what they mean is in some sense the "totality of reality with whatever necessary that it needs to exist" which is a definition of Wajib al-Wujud.

Once a scholar said "we don't have any problem with atheists, it's just verbal misunderstanding, we call it God, they call it Nature."

He didn't mean it to its fullest sense, but he had a point.

 

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1 hour ago, mesbah said:

Let me cut it for you: 

Q: Ultimately we have no other way but to accept an un-caused entity, why should it be God and not Universe/Matter itself?

1st A: Universe has a start point, Matter is limited (by definition) but God is unlimited. we are searching for the cause when it comes to limited beings, not unlimited.

You may not like this answer, by trying to imagine an Unlimited matter or a limitless chain of universes that each caused the next. (see? you always need to make it "unlimited" to escape the law of causality, it has its own discussion, the relation between finite-hood and causality)

However, the answer that I like, is the precedence of actuality over potentiality. Matter is poor, it is just potentiality -by definition- something must actualize it from outside. Now there might be people who tend to change the technical definitions, like they talk about "nature" as if it is a certain entity out there, the same happens to concepts like matter and universe, they say Matter and Universe, but what they mean is in some sense the "totality of reality with whatever necessary that it needs to exist" which is a definition of Wajib al-Wujud.

Once a scholar said "we don't have any problem with atheists, it's just verbal misunderstanding, we call it God, they call it Nature."

He didn't mean it to its fullest sense, but he had a point.

 

Nice try mesbah :) but again a fallacy which is known as begging a question.

Lets take your question e.g., and assume an un-caused thing, why you think that the un-caused thing is god?

Secondly, the question itself challanging the very basic fact i.e., every effect has a cause. This would means that every effect not necessarily have to have a cause.

Actually you have mixed up the arguments here, wajib ul wajood, mumkin al wajood argument is the argument of Imkan (probablity), while you are discussing the argument of cause & effect. 

Anyway, here are my questions, can we call god, a cause? An un- caused entity? How do we know that that un-caused entity is just one & not many? Can cause & effect phenomena creates things? Or it just mentions chain of events?

Since you have begged the question i.e., existence of un-caused entity, now this has changed the rules of business :). Now every effect not necessary have to have a cause, so there must be many un-caused entities.

This doesn't make sense at all, mesbah.

Know that I am a Shia Muslim, practicing Muslim in fact, and have a strong believe Alhamdolillah. Dont get confused with my critics, this is just an effort to make a good understanding of this argument and analyze its weakness & strength.

Wassalam

 

 

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4 minutes ago, Spiritual said:

Lets take your question e.g., and assume an un-caused thing, why you think that the un-caused thing is god?

Because God by definition is pure actuality, while matter -by definition- is pure potentiality.

6 minutes ago, Spiritual said:

Secondly, the question itself challanging the very basic fact i.e., every effect has a cause. This would means that every effect not necessarily have to have a cause.

Every limited entity (i.e. object of human experience) must have a cause. unlimited entities are not objects of human experience (or have not been so far)

8 minutes ago, Spiritual said:

can we call god, a cause? An un- caused entity?

Yes, what would be wrong about it?

8 minutes ago, Spiritual said:

How do we know that that un-caused entity is just one & not many?

It has its own discussion.

 

9 minutes ago, Spiritual said:

Can cause & effect phenomena creates things

Create has two meanings: 1-coming into existence after non-being   2-giving new form, state of being etc.

First is only possible for God; the latter is what we observe in daily life and in science.

 

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15 minutes ago, mesbah said:

Because God by definition is pure actuality, while matter -by definition- is pure potentiality.

God is actuality by definition, noted.

 

23 minutes ago, mesbah said:

Every limited entity (i.e. object of human experience) must have a cause. unlimited entities are not objects of human experience (or have not been so far)

So you agree with the possibility of more than one unlimited entities?

 

26 minutes ago, mesbah said:

Yes, what would be wrong about it?

So there must be many actualities then?

27 minutes ago, mesbah said:

Create has two meanings: 1-coming into existence after non-being   2-giving new form, state of being etc.

First is only possible for God; the latter is what we observe in daily life and in science.

Means you agree with that cause & effect phenomena creates things in either case. 

Before going deeper into this one, can you describe what are the effects of un-caused causes?

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It is always the same fallacious argument, believers first argue for the "casualty principle" and then discard it conveniently to accommodate God.

It's difficult to understand why even base the argument on casualty in the first place.

 

22 hours ago, uponthesunnah said:

Whatever begins to exist, has a cause.

 

Can you give me an example of something that "begins to exist"? 

wslm.

*
 

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2 hours ago, Quisant said:

It is always the same fallacious argument, believers first argue for the "casualty principle" and then discard it conveniently to accommodate God.

It's difficult to understand why even base the argument on casualty in the first place.

 

 

Can you give me an example of something that "begins to exist"? 

wslm.

*
 

Bro the answers to your points are in the article . I have provided the link earlier

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Historically no major philosopher has argued 'everything has a cause'.  They have said things like:

-every contingent thing (i.e. that didnt have to exist) has a cause / reason / explanation

-everything that moves/changes (from potentiality to actuality) has a cause

-everything that begins to exist has a cause

God isnt contingent but necessary; He doesnt 'move' from potentiality to actuality; He didnt begin to exist.  Therefore the main premise of these arguments doesnt apply to Him.

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2 hours ago, .InshAllah. said:

Historically no major philosopher has argued 'everything has a cause'.  They have said things like:

-every contingent thing (i.e. that didnt have to exist) has a cause / reason / explanation

-everything that moves/changes (from potentiality to actuality) has a cause

-everything that begins to exist has a cause

God isnt contingent but necessary; He doesnt 'move' from potentiality to actuality; He didnt begin to exist.  Therefore the main premise of these arguments doesnt apply to Him.

Historically it has never been demonstrated that a God exists and is active in this universe.

Most theist arguments are of this form:

1. There is something we don't have an explanation for.
2. Put God as the explanation.
3. Therefore, God exists.

The argument that humans or the universe do not have to exist but they do as providing evidence for God is really quite feeble.
Many 'contingent' phenomena occur by natural causes, from earthquakes to snowflakes and there is no need to invoke God's will to explain them. 

What applies to earthquakes and snowflakes applies to the Universe. Just because we cannot yet explain the origin of the Universe does not imply the existence of God.

Existence is the only Necessity for which all other things, including a God, are contingent.

wslm.

*

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46 minutes ago, Quisant said:

Most theist arguments are of this form:

1. There is something we don't have an explanation for.
2. Put God as the explanation.
3. Therefore, God exists.

Yes, there is something we were unable to explain what & who it is. What we knew was that, that something is Supreme in knowledge and Power. What we were sure about that thing is that it must be the beginning.

We were enjoying life but unaware of the purpose of life. We were dieing but unaware of what is the purpose of death. We were observing different forms of life but were unable to understand why their is so much diversity in life. We were thinking ourselves as animals.

After reaching to the message, we knew that who we are, what is the purpose of life and death. We knew who is that "something" which we were unable to explain & how is He!

We got the answers of our questions from that message, we are now in the state of peace, our intellect is satisfied with the message. 

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Lol I didn't even realise you made a topic dedicated to our discussion, but you still never refuted my arguments on this thread

Like what I said though, you're the type of person that would never admit he's wrong so there is no point in arguing with you because it'd just be a waste of time.

Edited by Sayed Hassan Y.

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14 hours ago, Quisant said:

It is always the same fallacious argument, believers first argue for the "casualty principle" and then discard it conveniently to accommodate God.

It's difficult to understand why even base the argument on casualty in the first place.

 

 

Can you give me an example of something that "begins to exist"? 

wslm.

*
 

Read this post 

 

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3 hours ago, Sayed Hassan Y. said:

Lol I didn't even realise you made a topic dedicated to our discussion, but you still never refuted my arguments on this thread

Like what I said though, you're the type of person that would never admit he's wrong so there is no point in arguing with you because it'd just be a waste of time.

I dont need to say anything, just need to quote back you why i have made this new thread:

On Friday, November 04, 2016 at 4:18 PM, Spiritual said:

It would be great if you criticize my critics or the argument itself. So that we can have a better understanding of its strengths & weaknesses.

I refuted this first cause argument logically when i was a student. 

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12 hours ago, Quisant said:

I have read the post; ancient philosophy is very interesting but has little relevance these days.

What is your point?

 

What is so philosophical about what I wrote? Please explain how my logical argument that proves the existence of god is wrong.

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10 hours ago, Sayed Hassan Y. said:

Please explain how my logical argument that proves the existence of god is wrong.

It is meaningless to talk about regress before the Big Bang, we don't know how time behaved or if it even existed.

As you may know,  in 1915 that Albert Einstein published his 'general theory of relativity'; before that time the accepted thinking was that the universe was essentially static, and unchanging in time.  
Einstein' theory holds that space and time are soft, malleable entities. On the largest scales, space is naturally dynamic, expanding or contracting over time, carrying matter like driftwood on the tide. 

If the universe just keeps changing state, expanding, contracting, that's infinite iterations, not infinite regress. The ducks are not in a row.

In any case, Infinite regress or traversing the infinite is speculative philosophy, not physics.

In physics, the idea of cause-effect relationships just doesn't describe reality very well. In fact, it isn't even clear that the traversal of time is anything but an illusion.

For example, in General Relativity, space-time is described as a single entity (called a manifold). This entity doesn't traverse time, and neither does anything within it.
It just exists across all time and space

The passage of time arises as an emergent property of certain specific configurations of the manifold.

A photon has no sense of time or direction. It can traverse any distance you care to imagine in no time whatsoever, with respect to its reference frame.

There is no proof for God, logical or otherwise, faith is your best friend. :)

wslm.

*


 

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7 minutes ago, Quisant said:

If the universe just keeps changing state, expanding, contracting, that's infinite iterations, not infinite regress.

Expanding & Contracting at the same time???? It should be either expanding or contracting....

I like big crunch hypothesis, you know why? because we have something similar to it in Quran:

"On the day when We roll up heaven like the rolling up of scroll for writings, as We originated the first creation, (so) We shall reproduce it; a promise (binding on us); surely We will bring it about." (21:104)

So the Universe is expanding at the moment, its contraction will start one day. We don't know how many times did it expanded or contracted in past, but we know that the rules of business have been set by the One i.e., Supreme in knowledge & power.
 

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12 hours ago, Quisant said:

It is meaningless to talk about regress before the Big Bang, we don't know how time behaved or if it even existed.

As you may know,  in 1915 that Albert Einstein published his 'general theory of relativity'; before that time the accepted thinking was that the universe was essentially static, and unchanging in time.  
Einstein' theory holds that space and time are soft, malleable entities. On the largest scales, space is naturally dynamic, expanding or contracting over time, carrying matter like driftwood on the tide. 

If the universe just keeps changing state, expanding, contracting, that's infinite iterations, not infinite regress. The ducks are not in a row.

In any case, Infinite regress or traversing the infinite is speculative philosophy, not physics.

In physics, the idea of cause-effect relationships just doesn't describe reality very well. In fact, it isn't even clear that the traversal of time is anything but an illusion.

For example, in General Relativity, space-time is described as a single entity (called a manifold). This entity doesn't traverse time, and neither does anything within it.
It just exists across all time and space

The passage of time arises as an emergent property of certain specific configurations of the manifold.

A photon has no sense of time or direction. It can traverse any distance you care to imagine in no time whatsoever, with respect to its reference frame.

There is no proof for God, logical or otherwise, faith is your best friend. :)

wslm.

*


 

Saying we don't know how time behaved or even existed still doesn't answer the question to what started everything. Time/space/quantity/quality exist because of Existence itself. There is nothing without Existence, there is only existence. 

Physics and the physical world exists because of reality. Without reality there is nothing because reality itself is existence. A person once said: One needs to ask, is Reality created or eternal? Can some one make Reality? God within the Islamic philosophical/mystical tradition is called 'Al Haq' (Reality). The Quran itself makes various references to God being Reality. God is not some man in the clouds with a long beard who limits himself. God is Reality itself. Reality cannot be denied. Only Reality is there. Reality is not to be limited to physical things because if Reality is limited, what is it limited against? Limitations imply comparisons with something other than what is limited. There is nothing other than the Real, and Reality transcends all things. Nothing can exist without Reality. All things depend on Reality. We all are limited manifestations of Reality, whereas Reality in itself is inconceivably unlimited. 

 

"There is no proof for God, logical or otherwise, faith is your best friend."

If a floor has a 1 out of a trillion chance to collapse, would you still walk on that floor? In a logical point of view, you would walk on that floor given the odds of that floor actually collapsing. One can't be 100% certain of anything in life, one must do what is reasonable to believe. The fact that you believe everything existed by chance without a creator is not reasonable, because the odds of that is overwhelmingly low. There was a website that once said 
"The mathematical physicist Sir Roger Penrose calculated the chances of a life supporting universe happening by chance to be 1 in 10^10^123. Let me try to put that number into perspective: 10^10^3 is a 1 followed by a thousand zeros, 10^10^6 is a 1 followed by a million zeros and 10^10^9 is a 1 followed by billion zeros. These numbers are practically impossible to imagine, but 10^10^123 is so big that it is totally inconceivable to the human mind. So with odds of only 1 in 10^10^123 it can be said with absolute certainty that a life supporting universe could never 
happen by chance."

"The total number of connections in the human brain approaches 10^15 or a thousand million million. Numbers in the order of 10^15 are of course completely beyond comprehension. Imagine an area about half the size of the USA covered in a forest of trees containing ten thousand trees per square mile. If each tree contained one hundred thousand leaves the total number of leaves in the forest would be 1015, equivalent to the number of connections in the human brain."

 

Now let me ask you, do you think all this happening by chance is reasonable or logical to believe? Even famous physicists such as Brian Greene are amazed of how our universe is so well fine-tuned and designed, that a universe like ours to happen by chance is impossible.

Edited by Sayed Hassan Y.

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On 11/5/2016 at 10:32 AM, Quisant said:

It is always the same fallacious argument, believers first argue for the "casualty principle" and then discard it conveniently to accommodate God.

It's difficult to understand why even base the argument on casualty in the first place.

Can you give me an example of something that "begins to exist"? 

wslm.

*
 

Everything that we see existing, did not exist, and now they are existing. A process brought them from potential, to reality. Whether its a car, a rock, a table etc.

Causality is a mechanism that applies to things that go from potential to reality only.

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On 11/5/2016 at 4:26 PM, Quisant said:

Historically it has never been demonstrated that a God exists and is active in this universe.

Most theist arguments are of this form:

1. There is something we don't have an explanation for.
2. Put God as the explanation.
3. Therefore, God exists.

The argument that humans or the universe do not have to exist but they do as providing evidence for God is really quite feeble.
Many 'contingent' phenomena occur by natural causes, from earthquakes to snowflakes and there is no need to invoke God's will to explain them. 

What applies to earthquakes and snowflakes applies to the Universe. Just because we cannot yet explain the origin of the Universe does not imply the existence of God.

Existence is the only Necessity for which all other things, including a God, are contingent.

wslm.

*

This is debatable.

What you are referring to is essentially God of the Gap style arguments, which exist, but hardly fair to say encompass all our arguments.

I hope to add more soon.

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13 hours ago, Sayed Hassan Y. said:

Saying we don't know how time behaved or even existed still doesn't answer the question to what started everything. Time/space/quantity/quality exist because of Existence itself. There is nothing without Existence, there is only existence. 

Physics and the physical world exists because of reality. Without reality there is nothing because reality itself is existence. A person once said: One needs to ask, is Reality created or eternal? Can some one make Reality? God within the Islamic philosophical/mystical tradition is called 'Al Haq' (Reality). The Quran itself makes various references to God being Reality. God is not some man in the clouds with a long beard who limits himself. God is Reality itself. Reality cannot be denied. Only Reality is there. Reality is not to be limited to physical things because if Reality is limited, what is it limited against? Limitations imply comparisons with something other than what is limited. There is nothing other than the Real, and Reality transcends all things. Nothing can exist without Reality. All things depend on Reality. We all are limited manifestations of Reality, whereas Reality in itself is inconceivably unlimited. 

 

"There is no proof for God, logical or otherwise, faith is your best friend."

If a floor has a 1 out of a trillion chance to collapse, would you still walk on that floor? In a logical point of view, you would walk on that floor given the odds of that floor actually collapsing. One can't be 100% certain of anything in life, one must do what is reasonable to believe. The fact that you believe everything existed by chance without a creator is not reasonable, because the odds of that is overwhelmingly low. There was a website that once said 
"The mathematical physicist Sir Roger Penrose calculated the chances of a life supporting universe happening by chance to be 1 in 10^10^123. Let me try to put that number into perspective: 10^10^3 is a 1 followed by a thousand zeros, 10^10^6 is a 1 followed by a million zeros and 10^10^9 is a 1 followed by billion zeros. These numbers are practically impossible to imagine, but 10^10^123 is so big that it is totally inconceivable to the human mind. So with odds of only 1 in 10^10^123 it can be said with absolute certainty that a life supporting universe could never 
happen by chance."

"The total number of connections in the human brain approaches 10^15 or a thousand million million. Numbers in the order of 10^15 are of course completely beyond comprehension. Imagine an area about half the size of the USA covered in a forest of trees containing ten thousand trees per square mile. If each tree contained one hundred thousand leaves the total number of leaves in the forest would be 1015, equivalent to the number of connections in the human brain."

 

Now let me ask you, do you think all this happening by chance is reasonable or logical to believe? Even famous physicists such as Brian Greene are amazed of how our universe is so well fine-tuned and designed, that a universe like ours to happen by chance is impossible.

 

A very nice post, I always find it interesting to read someone else's view point. 


(Stupefying coincidence is still just a coincidence, unless you can show that there's intent, not just assert it.)

I have come to different conclusions, I believe that we evolved to fit the world, not the other way around. The "fine tuning argument" assumes that the Universe had us (people) in mind while it was forming its laws. 

It didn't. It did not even have any laws in mind. Life evolved over billions of years to fit already existing Universe. Not the other way around. 

The universe is fine tuned for life in the same way that holes in the ground are fined tuned for puddles.
I noticed that usually' when Creationists talk about God creating every individual species, they always instance hummingbirds, or orchids, sunflowers and beautiful things.

They never mention, for example, that there exits in West Africa a parasitic worm that lives in water and bores its way into the eyeballs of human beings, eating its way through them, turning people blind. Children are specially effected because they enjoy playing in the water.

I find that very difficult to reconcile the notion of a benign God imagining, designing and bringing into existence  a worm that's going to turn people blind in excruciating pain. 

And I certainly find it difficult to believe that a God might exist who would actually do that.

I guess we all think different.

wslm.

*
 

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58 minutes ago, Quisant said:

I believe that we evolved to fit the world, not the other way around.

Where that world comes from? in which you evolved.

 

58 minutes ago, Quisant said:

The "fine tuning argument" assumes that the Universe had us (people) in mind while it was forming its laws. 

Universe cannot form its own laws. A system cannot work unless it knows the principles or procedures to which something is done. You can test this fact on any human manufactured system.

58 minutes ago, Quisant said:

It didn't. It did not even have any laws in mind. Life evolved over billions of years to fit already existing Universe. Not the other way around. 

:) Its not so easy to say "not the other way around".

What you're assuming here is that Universe has no beginning, this is wrong assumption. And again a system cannot work unless it knows the principles or procedures to which something is done. Even the life cannot form itself in a warm little pond with every sort of salts, light, heat, electricity etc. present, until these things know the principles & procedures of how to react with each other.

58 minutes ago, Quisant said:

I find that very difficult to reconcile the notion of a benign God imagining, designing and bringing into existence  a worm that's going to turn people blind in excruciating pain. 

With this, do you mean why we feel pain? & Why we die?


 
 

Edited by Spiritual

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