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Why Couldn’t the Universe Simply Have Started Itself?
If nothing existed prior to the Big Bang, what (or Who) caused it?
By Angelo Stagnaro
This question is often phrased, "What/Who created God?" Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, neither of whom is a physicist, often insisted that if theists could claim that God is eternal and didn't have a beginning, why couldn't atheists likewise claim that the universe was always here? Several reasons come immediately to mind:
Physicists gave up the notion of an “Eternal Universe Theory” many decades ago after the Catholic priest/physicist Fr. Georges Lemaître came up with the Big Bang theory. In fact, it was Fred Hoyle, the atheist physicist, who was the Western World's and modern science's last holdout to this antiquated and demonstrably false theory. Einstein, another atheist physicist, was among the first to pan the Big Bang theory.
An infinite regression is fundamentally illogical and unscientific. We have to, at some point, admit that the Big Bang was started by something — but if nothing existed before it, we are stuck with explaining why the Big Bang occurred. To claim an infinite causal regression is to dunderheadedly pretend the Big Bang never occurred.
The idea that the universe started itself is preposterous on the face of it. It's the same nonsense as saying, “If woman have the right to get pregnant, men should have the same right.” Just because we attribute a certain characteristic to God doesn't mean that we can necessary attribute it to the universe.
For example, most theists are logical in their beliefs about God. The same can't be said of Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens and those who agree with them. (A side note: I interviewed Hitchens after a presentation he gave in New York City. As part of the interview, I pointed out seven blaring logical errors he made during his presentation. One was so preposterous, I struggled to remember the Latin name for it as I hadn't ever heard it used outside of university lecture on logic.)
Neither Dawkins nor Hitchens have even a nodding relationship, let alone a working knowledge, of logic — nor were they particularly committed to critical thinking, rationality or even scientific methodology and scholarship. The less said about their lack of moral and logical consistency, the better. To accept the Big Bang theory is to accept that the universe had a definitive, historical, starting point—and that it was not the result of an endless series of causes.
Admittedly, as science is the study of physical reality, scientists will be at a serious and miserable disadvantage at trying to come to an understanding of what/Who caused physical reality. Now, as science restricts itself, understandably, to normal physical reality, it's a waste of time to solicit its assistance in figuring out what happened prior to the Big Bang. But the question, nonetheless, begs to be asked: If nothing existed prior to the Big Bang, what/Who caused it? The answer is simple and should be obvious to anyone—something outside of normal physical reality. It's like the chicken-and-the-egg question: Which came first? The chicken or the egg? The answer is, obviously, the egg.
A: Why? Because chickens don't come about without an egg.
Q: "But," someone will inevitably ask, "What produced the egg?"
A: If the Theory of Evolution is correct, something other than a chicken produced the egg.
Q: What/Who created the physical universe?
A: Something/Someone outside of the physical universe. (i.e., God). Q.E.D.
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