Debate:Is a first cause of a process necessary, always possible, or sometimes impossible?

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Always necessary

With One Exception: God. Any scientist is familiar with fundamental properties of nature that neither he nor any of his colleagues can possibly explain--except to say, "That's the way God made them."

But an action, or a process (which is a series of actions), never occurs without cause. Sometimes the cause is another, similar action that eventually provoked it. Such a thing is similar to a term in a mathematical sequence. To illustrate, the set of counting numbers is a sequence. Every number Ni after the number 1 is equal to N(i-1) + 1. But--the set of counting numbers, as a sequence, had to have a definite first number. In this case, that number is 1. (The set of non-directed whole numbers behaves similarly, but its first number is 0, not 1.)

But, you ask, what about the set of integers, which is directed? That has neither beginning nor end. True--but the set of integers is not a sequence. Sequences, by definition, have beginnings, though they do not necessarily have ends.

This is a flawed appeal to causality. On a quantum level, events need not have a cause.-Barnes

Number theory: Integers can be counted by re-ordering them (eg, 0, 1, -1, 2, -2...). Real (ie, rational + irrational) numbers cannot be counted & are a higher level of infinity. How would they have a beginning?Tom Stockton 21:46, 13 April 2007 (EDT)

I already said that integers are not a sequence. By definition, a sequence has a first term.--TerryHTalk 21:55, 13 April 2007 (EDT)

Any process in nature must be a sequence. The beating of your heart is a sequence. And the descent of human beings from generation to generation is a sequence. But that, too, had to have a beginning. That beginning must have been the first couple--or, to an atheist, it is simply the first species, and ultimately, the first cell.

And where did that first cell come from? Even Charles Darwin frankly admitted that, if that first cell could not have assembled itself from simpler raw materials, then the mechanism of the origin of life would become impossible to imagine.

Misquoting Darwin are we? -Barnes

Something had to make that first cell. Even if you assume, like Francis Crick, that the first cell on earth came from another planet, you then have to ask whence came the first cell on that planet. Did that first cell come from yet another planet?

Even that sort of process would have to have a first planet--because once upon a time, no such things as planets existed. Anywhere. Unless you somehow want to assume that the universe is in a steady state. Does any astronomer accept that proposition? I doubt it.

Those of you who maintain that the "first cause" creates problems of its own, should present those problems here.--TerryH 12:14, 8 March 2007 (EST)

A few questions-
  1. WHY is a diety exempted from first causes?
  2. How does your reasoning square itself with many aspects of quantum theory, where Effects can occur spontaneously and without Cause. Nematocyte 11:34, 12 March 2007 (EDT)
In answer: God is the ultimate First Cause of everything. He is Eternal. If He were not, then He wouldn't be God.
The creation of the universe is a quantum-level event.
  1. You have not explained why a diety is exempt from needing a cause, you have simply asserted that you believe it is.
  2. All physicists consider the creation of the universe a quantum level event
  3. Do you disagree that non-causality is present in quantum physics? Nematocyte 08:43, 13 March 2007 (EDT)
Indeed, if the Universe had a creation at all, it would have to be a quantum event. Tsumetai 08:48, 13 March 2007 (EDT)
You have just suggested an explanation for God--that He is a Quantum Entity.
Why is such a complex being a necessity in a field that we have already established is exempt from causality? -Barnes
I'm not sure that I accept that, however--because ours is a remarkably ordered universe. Can quantum processes produce order? And such order as we still see? I doubt it.--TerryH 10:05, 13 March 2007 (EDT)
"ours is a remarkably ordered universe"-- Compared to what? Dadsnagem2 12:43, 18 March 2008 (EDT)
Our universe is ordered by any reasonable standard whatsoever. The closest we can come to the "standard of comparison" you demand above is the reasonable expectation of order from the laws of probability, and in particular the Law of Averages. Specifically, value after value after value, among what physicists today call the "defined constants" of the universe, lies within a very narrow tolerance for life even to exist. An honest statistician could accept maybe one such value falling within such a narrow tolerance--but hundreds? The odds against that are nothing short of astronomical. That's what I mean by an ordered universe--ordered to allow life to exist and to thrive.--TerryHTalk 13:48, 18 March 2008 (EDT)
The standard for life is not a standard which is free from personal bias. Symmetrically, our universe is inferior to the complete high energy symmetries which existed within the first milliseconds of the big bang.Barnes
God is subject to the rules of quantum physics?
As to 'order' - leaving aside for now the question of precise definition - there's one example that leaps to mind; quantum fluctuations during inflation lead to density perturbations in the early Universe, which seed the formation of large-scale structure. Tsumetai 10:10, 13 March 2007 (EDT)

How would quantum fluctuations cause an inflation? Surely the vacuum energy would be the same as it is now and thus cause infinitely more expansions than simply the one bang.

And BTW: what you put in sounds like Your theory does not work under my theory, so your theory must be wrong.--TerryH 12:09, 13 March 2007 (EDT)

I am not a physician, or a scientist, but I only know one thing. Except God, something cannot come from nothing/out of nowhere, although it is what the evolutionism always try to promote. Well, there is also a view that the world/universe is always here. Not quite possible under the second law of thermodynamic? As far as I know, no physical stuffs can be exist forever.Kmcheng 11:46, 25 December 2008 (EST)

A creator?

<reduce indent>

I think we're talking at cross purposes. I never mentioned God. I think you were thrown by my use of the word 'creation.' I simply meant it as shorthand for the beginning of the Universe; it wasn't intended to imply the act of a creator. Tsumetai 12:14, 13 March 2007 (EDT)

Well, maybe you weren't. But I was, and am.--TerryH 12:41, 13 March 2007 (EDT)
Ah; so when you said "The creation of the universe is not a quantum-level event," you weren't referring to naturalistic models, but to divine creation? That sounds suspiciously like Your theory does not work under my theory, so your theory must be wrong to me. Tsumetai 12:44, 13 March 2007 (EDT)
If you want to suggest that the First Moment in the universe--whatever you wish to call it--was a quantum-level event, and that your theory predicts that, that's fine. But then your theory has to account for the striking amount of order that we still see in the universe today.
And it has to account for a large number of findings that simply are not consistent with "spontaneous generation" of planets. Many of these findings are right here in our solar system--some on the earth itself, but others on the other planets.--TerryH 12:54, 13 March 2007 (EDT)
A quantum origin is one possibility; a past-eternal Universe is another. I already gave an example of one process which leads naturally to order. This is getting a bit off-topic, though. Tsumetai 12:58, 13 March 2007 (EDT)

Theological subarguments and TerryH's disagreements with inflation aside, two glaring questions haven't been answered-

  1. Why would a diety be exempt from first causes? It is not sufficient to simply say that any diety would be exempt because they are a diety, that's circular logic. I want an explaination as to exactly why a diety would exist without a cause.
  2. Does TerryH accept that quantum mechanics contain non-causalities? He doesn't have to accept them as the cause of the universe, simply state whether or not he acepts their existance. Nematocyte 06:15, 14 March 2007 (EDT)
Since the debate seems to have ended, I'd like to propose a close with the answers No,Indeterminable and Indeterminable. Nematocyte 09:26, 19 March 2007 (EDT)


We won't know until we understand all of physics completely, and we may never get there.

Middle Man

Seconded. Underscoreb 17:32, 12 November 2007 (EST)

Causation itself is unnecessary

Causation isn't even a part of modern physics. Physics, at least when it is being precise, speaks of the relations between physical objects, not of causes with effects. These attempts to prove the existence of God are ultimately just sophistry and they will convince no one. Read Matthew 13. --Andy 12:18, 17 November 2007 (EST)

Just because you can't see a cause does not mean it does not exist, only we have no way to presently find it. God does not exist only in the physical world but the supernatural too. This is a world we know little if anything of the way it works. There is plenty of witness accounts of this world from foretune tellers, ghost stories to out of body experiences and more. Unless you want to discount them because they just don't fit the rest of the story.