A decent debate on the origin of the universe

I’ve been meaning to make this post for a while, and since we have been visited by a new member who insists on dealing with this logic, it was time. It is one of the best debates I’ve read on the psychics and philosophy behind the Kalam Cosmological Argument.

I post the 3rd response, but you can use the index to work in either direction. Carrier is responding to Marshall’s accusation of question begging. Paraphrasing and quoting here:

It is not question begging to say a cause must exist somewhere to exist. If there is no time or space for something to exist, then it doesn’t exist. This solves the problem of the uncaused cause, not with a being that is uncaused, but with a state that doesn’t have causes. Spacetime can exist without anything else existing. There is no need for a “necessary being” to create it.
Although I could not argue for the probability of a primordial vacuum state or explain how one could cause the causal universe we live in, what I do understand about it, seems a lot more likely than a complex being like the God of the Bible existing. It’s really not that hard to understand that we can use math to trace back cause and effect a few billion years to a point where the laws for that math begin to break down. At that point, the laws that require an infinite regress of causes, ends.

Lausten, When the puzzle just doesn’t have enough pieces, it may be best to look for the missing pieces.

This last month I was working with people who explained a whole new pathway of how everything works. That people transcended from other parts of the universe and had past lives here on earth. And they were all connected using different energy frequencies. The feeling I got was that they were looking for answers because none of the answers being used today seem to fit what they feel is correct by what they have been taught by today’s electronic media precognition. They seem to agree with telepathy, clairvoyant psychics, psionics powers and a bunch of other items I can’t spell or pronounce.

They seem to be good people and have good morals. I am a little scared of how far these people may be willing to go based upon their beliefs.

Point being. It seems to be part of human nature to want the answers to everything. What is concerning is that people are looking for answers where there is no logic or facts in the questions. They are missing the concept that knowledge is data. Wisdom is how to use the data. The wisdom is missing. There is no data that wisdom can work with on subjects like the universe hyper time and stuff.

I have only read the third reply. But it seems silly to me. First mistake is they are using a god without a name. So, I correctly assume it is the Christian god. The Christian god is a god that evolved from other gods. Therefore, they are arguing the “belief data” people use. Where is the wisdom in that? Are they really any brighter than the guys using energy frequencies? Is their answer going to have any better wisdom than if I ask the energy people how the universe came to be? Another concern is that these people should be raising families. None are. They are going to be past the age of having a family soon. I wonder if they had a family if they would still have the same beliefs?

I have studies Jesus somewhat. I got an idea how the true Jesus viewed god. The teachings of god were done in the wisdom. God was a term that meant knowledge. Thus, you add wisdom to knowledge, and you have created god. Jesus believed god was in everyone. Therefore, I have to side with Marshall.


I figure the universe came from another universe that always existed. It’s just philosophy at this point, but it makes sense. I used to think the universe came from laws of physics that always existed, but part of this article casts doubt on that. I don’t know much about physics and cosmology, so I can’t say too much about the origin of the universe. I really do want to understand how a universe could come from nothing and why it would happen. Was there nothing, and then something very small just appeared? I want to know what’s going on there. Even if there was a universe before ours, I’d still like to know why a universe could exist without a cause.



So glad you like my choice of topic, and that you responded with such honesty. I’d say we’ve come to the root of our discussion. I do not dispute the existence of the universe. I could do that hypothetically, but it would be pure conjecture for me, just for fun. And yes, it’s a cause and effect universe. And we can model it with equations, so those are either inherent as you say, or the ability exists in some other way, but again, that’s getting too far out into philosophy for me.

You’ve arrived at a place where there is “no scientific explanation for the presence of the universe”. I guess technically, you are correct, but lets’ move on. This statement about “any model… refers to material… and presupposes the universe.” Hmm. Maybe at first science did that, when we didn’t realize how old and how vast it is and didn’t have the math we have now or the tools to gauge millionths of a second. So, it would be theoretical physics, but there is science that attempts to model non-material things. I’m not saying they are right, but they are necessary to the theories. I’m not sure if time is a material for instance. But let’s say I even grant you that one. It’s your conclusion up to that point where we really part company.

So the universe exists but its presence simply cannot be ever explained scientifically without first presupposing some form of physical presence which itself begs explanation.
As for it always existing, that actually has been a theory, proposed by scientists. Not sure why you said that. If your conclusion is that our universe came from something that is different than all the all the laws in our observed universe, well, that’s also what science says. It’s exactly what Krauss is doing when he talks about “nothing”. They don’t call it God though, quotes or not. It would not be useful to use a term from mythology to refer to a primordial vacuum state or any other theory. They certainly don’t assign a personality or intentions or intelligence to that non-material agency. They don’t jump to a conclusion that something like that is needed, they just keep following the evidence wherever it leads them.

Very well put. Thanks

“These features are – IMHO – direct compelling evidence of a creative non material agency, I simply cannot get away from that”

How so? How did you come to this conclusion? What would an non designed universe look like?

Frankly claiming the universe has always existed, there never was a time when it did not exist is no stronger intellectually than saying God has always existed and there was never a time when God did not exist.
Whether or not you find the hypothesis intellectually appealing, this statement always intrigues me. You are saying that physics and religion are on equal footing, and in both cases that footing is terrible. So if we can show one or the other explanation of the universe has some rigor to it, has some usefulness, leads to a better understanding of where we live, then wouldn’t that give us reasons to choose one or the other?
Not terrible – I’m not judging them but comparing them, they are equally axiomatic neither has any inherent advantage over the other.
But just before you said a universe from nothing "is no stronger intellectually than saying God has always existed", you said,
That would then amount to the presence of the universe cannot be explained scientifically, so despite placing our trust in science it ultimately fails to explain anything at all.
So you say physics ultimately fails, and it is no stronger than the God hypothesis. If one does not have "any inherent advantage over the other", aren't you saying they both fail?

Holmes – “non-material agency”. First time I have heard it put that way. I googled “non-material agency” and got ‘eroticism’. Dug a little more and got ‘mind’ and ‘soul’. I still go with you on the meaning, good choice.

I think for the good of clarity we should stop changing the meanings of words. “God” should mean what it was first used for. That you possessed knowledge and the wisdom to use this knowledge. It just makes everything outside of the bible better reading.

I think the word “unknown” works better than “god” with “non-material agency”.

The pathway I take is that which has been passed down from pre-history in the Rig Vega. “How the universe came to be, mankind may never know.” You are debating one of the oldest questions of mankind. One can only imagine how many time this question has been ask.

That’s not true. There are theories on where matter came from. Of course it’s a difficult problem but it might be solvable. Science works fine for now without that solution.

Are you serious? Lausten how can there be a scientific theory explaining how material came to exist UNLESS that theory presupposes that material ALREADY exists?
The more you scream about this the more you show your ignorance and unwillingness to simply things up. In the age of Google, proving that there is a theory of where matter came from is as easy as looking up the name of that actor from that movie you saw last year.


logical impossibility within your Frame of Reference, perhaps.

Be clear that does not mean a rational impossibility to understand, for an open curious clear headed thinker.

You’ve simply turned up your filters way the hell too high.

I think sherlock has gone to god

Of course you know that there are theories, you just don’t like them.

I’m sure you’ve heard of string theory


This one is a little more complicated


I’m not going to try to explain these to you because I’m not a physicist. If you really wanted to know, you’d study that.

Sherlock Homes,

Not to derail your debate, but I would like yours and others point of view. In pre-history according to the text of the Rig Vega. All things are made from matter. Where matter came from, mankind may never know. Can you think of anything that is not made of matter? Is gravity a thing?

Please show me the theory which which explains ‘where’ matter came from?
This isn't exactly a theory, but he does spend a lot of time describing the state of scientific observational and experimental understanding. Which gets us back to what science is all about, making observations and reaching conclusions based on the accumulated facts. I just got through listening to it, and parts of it are mind-blowing, which is why this was my second listen - what they've been able to figure out regarding the earliest moments in the universe is amazing. Some big surprises if you haven't been paying attention this past decade.
SYMPHONY IN C Carbon and the Evolution of (Almost) Everything by Robert M. Hazen



Why did you ask the question at all? We don’t know the origin of the universe, that’s pretty much common knowledge. I answered your question as if you asked if there are theories at all. I even said I didn’t think you’d accept them. If you have a point, please make it. something other than “we don’t know”, because that point has been made.

You are not using the words “logic” or “theory” correctly. Or perhaps it’s the word “universe” that you are playing with.

But I’ll take a more complicated word that might be your stumbling block, “material”. You are discounting theories because you say they refer to “material quantities”, or they “presuppose some form of physical presence”. Is space-time physical? If so, please describe it, because we have our best people on that and they can’t. They use mathematics to create models of what happens when something travels near the speed of light or falls into a black hole. But once they get to things like a singularity, they can’t predict anything. It’s at the limits of our understanding.

I’m not going to try to summarize the physics because I’m not a physicists, and you can google it yourself. But you don’t want to know. You want to say that because science has not explained the origin of this physical universe, it never will and in fact can’t. You are having trouble conceptualizing matter without time and existence without cause or something without a cause that is not in time as we know time. If we ever do, this is how we will explain the existence of the universe. We won’t have to simply “presuppose” something, we will be able to predict it using math. Confirming the math by actually creating a universe or by observing a different universe or somehow finding the ends of ours might be beyond our abilities, but there is no logical reason to completely eliminate the possibility.

Lots of people have this problem. It wouldn’t be a problem if you could also just accept that you don’t know. Instead, you want to fill in that not-knowing with something else. That has led to most of the man-made suffering in history.