The Reasonable Atheist

Well its friday–time to post something.

I did the atheist’s homework.

I have lately been puzzling my little brain˚ to try to invent a rational argument for atheism.  Apparently the accusative claim has been made that “burden of proof” lies on my side of the intellectual conflict (the side of the theist), and thus the atheist need not rationalize himself.  For it is I alone who have asserted things absurd and unreasonable, and thus it is I who must justify my thinking.  However, I have come to think that I have done my job–let the “burden of proof” lay where it pleases–for I have proposed a deductive argument for the existence of God with which I am well satisfied, and now the atheist must meet my challenge with a worthy response.

Unfortunately, I do not think it meet to trust another person, one who actually disagrees with me, to complete this task, as I am yet to see it done by such an individual in a way that is convincing and stimulating to the argument I have begun.  I would, of course, be thrilled if I could find another to propose such an argument as I would deem satisfying to my purpose, but such propositions are, while not lacking altogether, remarkably rare.  I simply don’t find much of common proposition to be valuable to the formation of a belief on the issue of theism, and it seems utterly pointless for two people to debate when they cannot so much as agree on what is worth debating.  Therefore, I have taken it upon myself to stretch this miniature mind to its utter limits†, and find me an argument I consider prudent to my purpose.  Thus the world of blogging grows even more lethargic than before.

After ruling out many utterly absurd and extremely popular atheistic arguments, I invented my own semi-original argument with the intention of crafting it in a way that adheres to the following two demands:  (1) It must be logical–no arguments against the belief in logic, that’s just pointless  (2) It must be deductive–I don’t really care to bother with inductive proofs and endless rhetoric when the theistic argument I have made is deductive, thus trumping any inductive opposition, no matter how convincing.  Notice, the argument is only semi-original; this is because it is adapted, in part, from a comment on this blog (so I guess blogging can find a small ray of redemption in that).  Anyway, here it is:

Regarding causality, if one is to escape the necessity of a primal cause, one might propose a self-causing model of causality*.  Thus, as my commenter put it (roughly), we mustn’t think of causality as a linear chain, but a figure eight or sideways infinity, eternally causing itself (notice the wonderful symbolism).  So, as I take it, we must imagine that the “end of time” and “beginning of time” are really the same thing, and once its all over, the universe will begin again.  Surely, this has some nice scientific grounds (if we are going to be purely naturalist for a moment) as it seems it would be mathematically impossible for the universe (thought of as a gigantic physical system) to not repeat itself eventually unless its laws were specifically designed to prevent such a phenomenon.  Of course, the most evident flaw with this argument alone is that the cause of that “figure eight” is then unexplained, but we may yet have an answer to that problem upon further complication of the argument.

If I can take the conventional “linear” model of causality, as it exists in the natural world, and mold it into a figure eight, why couldn’t I also take the conventional supernatural model of causality and do the same?  Suppose the natural universe is a causal system that is now thought to cause itself, and as such, we are required to explain its “supernatural” or “conceptual” cause–that is, the cause of causality, if you will.  We may then take that conceptual system and fold it on itself such that causality is its own cause (a conceptual or supernatural figure eight).  Then, whence asked the cause of that conceptual system, we may repeat the algorithm, and continue to do so ad infinitum.

This seems to me a reasonable proposition at face value (which I cannot say of most arguments I find on this side), but I fear it is too simple in its understanding of causality˚.  For if causality exists in accordance with the model I present in The Nature of Causality in the Logical Scope, as it seems it must, within the logical scope, then there are no lines or eights or sideways infinities of any kind.  Instead, just as a proof is a means of understanding that a premise is, in some sense, the same thing as a conclusion, so is causality a method to understand how a cause really is the same thing as its effect.  Thus, whether the physical universe does or doesn’t repeat itself is irrelevant.

To assist with this understanding of causality, allow me to bring in the model of a four-dimensional cube.  Hypercubes, as they are called, are animated three-dimensional objects, for it is presumed that, just as a three-dimensional cube can be shown in all its entirety on a two-dimensional screen by animating it (i.e. rotating it about an axis parallel to the screen), so can a four-dimensional cube be projected in three dimensions by animating it (i.e. rotating it about a fourth access parallel to the universe (see animation below)).  So is causality really just the showing of a singular higher-demensional-entity from different angles over time.  Thus, the natural universe, in all its moments in time, is really just one thing, and being so, must be either the effect (or transformation) of some omnipotent outside of it, or else must itself be omnipotent, uncaused.  And I do believe that this concept supersedes the figure eight algorithm ad infinitum.  (Thus, the omnipotent is, in some way, His creation–hence the Body of Christ–or else, He is the cause of the cause of His creation, still leading to the same conclusion, etc.)

Sorry this animation is so stinky, I’ll try to make a better one in good time.


˚ I’ve been told I have a small mind, so I thought I’d call my brain ‘little’ to accentuate this unique quality of mine.

† This additionally servers to hint at my disproportionate height (which seems the result of unnatural stretching)–another outstanding feature I have the honor of bearing.  (Perhaps also alluding to my obsession with calculus.)

* It is my understanding that this could be called an “anti-cosmological argument” if you’re the sort of person who enjoys naming things like that.

˚ Arguments have never been so personified: now they have names and even understandings.