Atheists Believe Something Came From Nothing

This is a common meme, a recasting of the atheist position into something more easily ridiculed.

To the best of my knowledge, when pressed on what came before the big bang, no scientist has EVER said “Nothing”. Ever(1)Thank you, Lawrence Krauss. The world renowned physicist who discovered dark energy has now come out and said that it’s at least possible we DID come from nothing. So now I must add this caveat. None the less nearly no atheist believes we came from nothing, and this remains a strawman argument. Even Dr. Krauss says he doesn’t know what we came from, leaves “nothing” only as a possibility, and uses the word “nothing” differently than most people use it (indeed, his “nothing” has weight… go figure). . And that’s not the position of scientists.

The truth is we don’t know what came before the big bang. We don’t. There are some theories (as I write this, the discovery of the Higgs- bosen has hinted that we live in a multiverse, with other big bangs going on outside our universe, creating other universes). While it’s convenient for theists to recast “I don’t know” as nothing, it’s not true.

There’s always been a frontier of science, that which we don’t know, and theists have always used that as “proof” of God. What causes the waves to move? What causes gravity? What causes mars to move backwards? Don’t know? See, God is real!

Notice the reliance on both the Prime Mover (here) and God of the Gaps (here) arguments, neither of which come even remotely close to proving God. Further this argument requires a blatant misrepresentation of what an atheist is (here).

The atheist position on the matter is simple: I do not know. I do not know how the universe started (if I did, I we wouldn’t need science to figure it out).

The universe is an infinite place(2)I get called out on this one—it’s not infinite, it’s 14 billion light years across. But I use the word Universe in a broader sense, to include even things that might be outside it… tachyons, material moving faster than the speed of light, or multiverse, all of which there is evidence to support. We don’t have a word for that—for something bigger than the formal universe, so I use universe., or at the very least it would appear that it’s large enough that we’ll never understand all of it. On the micro level, we’ve never found an irreducible component, everything appears to be made up of smaller things, and every question we answer gives us ten more. On the macro level, we’re already finding the possibility of other universes around us, possibly an infinite number of universes, each with different physical laws. Our minds are finite, and as we get into really strange concepts (beyond the strangeness of spacetime, but to quantum probability and strings) our brains are simply not designed to intuit these things. Our minds rebel at the thought of an infinitely reducible world, an infinity expanding multiverse, and the notion of events without a cause. There will always be concepts that defy our ability to grasp them.

But none of these prove God. That we can’t understand or explain something (or everything), that there are gaps in our ability to comprehend, is evidence of a finite brain trying to grasp a rather wild universe. We are not gods ourselves, there will always be things we don’t understand.

The atheist argument isn’t “I know there is no god”, it’s that “I don’t see any evidence for god” (and the corollary, “since I don’t believe in things for which there is no evidence, I don’t believe in god”). When faced with the unknown, the theist insists on pressing god into it (this is the god of the gaps argument). The truth is that we don’t know how the universe came into existence, we have no idea. Our limited minds insist on putting an answer in there, filling that void—we genuinely prefer a bad answer to no answer at all, so the deist say’s god did it, and the theist takes it a step further and says that their specific god did it (this is a Prime Mover fallacy. Even if a higher power started the universe, that’s not evidence for theistic claims, like the divinity of Jesus).

No atheist says that “something came out of nothing”. The atheist says “I don’t know”. This is similar to other god of the gaps arguments. 300 years ago one could say “The atheist must believe that mars is alive and can change its course on its own, because that is the only explanation if you think God isn’t causing retrograde”. It’s unfairly casting silly beliefs onto atheists, straw man positions, to make them easier to take down. The patient atheist who says “I don’t know” how something happens is far, far more productive than the theist who says “It was god, and let’s leave it at that.”

This is a prime mover and god of the gaps argument. The atheist is comfortable saying “I don’t know”. The Theist feels compelled to insert an answer into that ignorance. They claim that ignorance is proof of god, and denounce the non-believers as refusing to admit the “Evidence”. It is a textbook god of the gaps argument, and I say this without hyperbole or exaggeration, it is the single most refuted, most failed argument in the history of human discourse.

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. Thank you, Lawrence Krauss. The world renowned physicist who discovered dark energy has now come out and said that it’s at least possible we DID come from nothing. So now I must add this caveat. None the less nearly no atheist believes we came from nothing, and this remains a strawman argument. Even Dr. Krauss says he doesn’t know what we came from, leaves “nothing” only as a possibility, and uses the word “nothing” differently than most people use it (indeed, his “nothing” has weight… go figure).
2. I get called out on this one—it’s not infinite, it’s 14 billion light years across. But I use the word Universe in a broader sense, to include even things that might be outside it… tachyons, material moving faster than the speed of light, or multiverse, all of which there is evidence to support. We don’t have a word for that—for something bigger than the formal universe, so I use universe.

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Shaun Philip Hutchings
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I have no problem believing that before time began nothing happened because nothing can happen unless there is time.

Lee Helms
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The idea that the universe might have originated from a quantum mechanical fluctuation releasing a fount of simple particles and energy is far easier to accept than the idea that an intelligent magical entity arose from nothing.

Steve Matthews
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How does anyone know there ever WAS “nothing”?

Shaun Philip Hutchings
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This atheist was of the opinion that nothing happened before the universe began. It’s called the Free Lunch theory I believe. But with the idea of multiple universes I’m no longer so sure. I certainly don’t know.

Walter Petrovic
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Jesus would have been regarded as an Atheist, in his day. His Kingdom was not of this world. It was a Kingdom of God within the inner dimension of a person – therefore he would have been going against the traditional and conservative view of religion within his time. You can have a true connection and knowledge of a creator without worship – which would also be seen as Atheist.

Ted Spicer
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My Solstice tree is a reminder that generations before a Jewish JC, people welcomed the shortest day of the with such a tree. It had nothing to do with JC.

Ted Spicer
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We evolved. There was a Big Bang. Man invented many gods, just to explain what they could not figure out. Time to grow UP.

Shawn D Stephens
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You don’t have to believe anything.

Michael Anthony Manor
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You’ve created a very convenient straw man. The characteristics associated with the Judaeo-Christian and Islamic models of God are easily dismissed by nothing more than logic. Pantheism which is a perspective rather than a theology, strictly speaking, is not so easily dismissed, because it is based upon a point of view that you can neither confer nor deny. For someone to say that the sky is divine is merely to assert an opinion, a feeling. You might refute this with some pale reference to Merriam-Webster but saying that someone else doesn’t have the right to hold such a view is daft on the surface, because in doing so you refute your own right to an unprovable opinion. WHICH IS WHY ATHEISM IS JUST ANOTHER FORM OF FUNDAMENTALIST RELIGION ALBEIT ONE SANS THE WESTERN CONCEPT OF GOD. Frankly, I don’t care what you do or don’t believe, but you do – as all fundamentalists do. You care about what other people think. It’s not enough to have your own view. You have to make sure that the rest of the world is saved for atheism or some laughable equivalent. Don’t mind commenting. I won’t comment back. I’ll be over here with the grownups laughing at you.

David Hamrich
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the sign of a weak mind is the desire to have no opposing views presented…

Mike James Reid
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The origin of the universe is a matter for scientists, not belief. An atheist might hold any view of what science is right. There is no group atheist view on anything.

Ted Spicer
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I like your comment.

Mike James Reid
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The Humanist Codex you are right! Certainly most atheists will trust (see how I avoided believe?) in the scientific method, evidence based decisions and the power of reason and logic. In science. I think you will also find more atheists lean to the left of politics and to be more accepting of new ideas. But atheism has no views, per se. It, for instance does not have a view on adding superflous latin phrases to sentences. Because “it” is merely a lack of something.

Bill Baker
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Before cosmos, there was Phi- which according to some physicists such as Stephen Hawking was what birthed cosmos, Hawking says phi is a self-collapsing wave length which his colleague mathematician Roger Penrose, amongst others, has hypothesized self collapsing wave lengths are minds. Therefore Phi is THE mind, Divine mind. Atheism is a reactionary lazy cop out

Mike James Reid
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“Therefore Phi is THE mind, Divine mind.” who says so? You? No idea why you think athiesm reactionary, a cop out or lazy. The science around this subject is difficult and at the frontier of knowledge, atheism is just not believing all the god myths presented to us from 2000 years ago. Two different unrelated things.

Bill Baker
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Mike James Reid Wel, I will correct myself atheism in itself isn’t neccaserily so. One can be a reasoned atheist for rational reasons. And some are. But a large segment of modern atheists tend to be mere reactionaries reacting against ANY “perceived” concept of a divinity or God or spiritual/mystic component or “religion”, even f it’s a FAR cry from REVEALED religion and the fundamentalist abrahamic revealed religions they are..rightly…reacting against and from any form of anthropmorphic/centric theisms, and tossing the baby out with the bathwater. //””Therefore Phi is THE mind, Divine mind.” who says so? You? “// Says many people, deists, pantheists PanDeists,etc. And those of religions that have a deistic or pantheistic or pandeistic basis or even atheistic and agnostic religions. This includes many rational freethinkers, non-religious people, and scientists{especially some prominent mathematicians and physicists} and philosophers. The evidence at hand and logic suggest that atheism can be reasoned, but so can deistic and pantheistic views, equally so. It’s all a matter of how one interprets the evidence. My issue is merely with the new breed of dogmatic so-called “nu” atheists, the hardcore anti-theists, the shallow reactionary ‘anti-religionists” whom insist atheism is the only rational view and whom conflate atheism{the belief there are no gods or no God} with various other different ideas and philosophies such as classical materialism, philosophical postivism, humanism, anti-religionism and so on. Many of… Read more »

Bill Baker
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If I may I would like to reccomend some reading material/books to illuminate what I’m talking about, for your research and consideration

-“There is a God: how the worlds most notorious atheist changed his mind” by leading philosopher{who was the leading atheist thinker of the second half of the 20th century} Antony Flew(RIP)
-“Cosmic Jackpot” by physicist Paul Davies{as well as his books “the mind of God: the scientific case for a rational world” and “God and the new physics”
– “Gods Debris: a thought experiment” by Scott Adams{thinker/philosopher and creator of the comic strip “Dilbert”}
– “The holographic Universe” by Michael Talbot

-and of course Tom Paines ‘age of reason”.

and this

Bill Baker
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The Humanist Codex Read the above response to Mike, thanks.

//”Phi- I’ve read Stephen Hawking and never saw him reference it.”//

The above video will answer that question 😉

Bill Baker
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Thanks for engaging in reasoned debate about it.

I hope I did not seriously offend you. I do believe one can be a reasoned atheist, just that a large number of modern atheists are not reasoned atheists..but reactionaries

Bill Baker
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Fair enough, agreed. Sorry for suggesting that atheism in itself is a cop out. I do believe atheism can be arrived at through reason and not just reactionarism. 🙂 There was a time I was an agnostic-atheist myself via reason, I get it. From fundamentalist/evangelical christian till age 25, then classic deist

Bill Baker
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age 25 in 2004. Was classical deist till 2007 via reason, then in 2007 🙂 I was compelled by an

Bill Baker
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An argument by Sam Harris to become an agnostic-atheist for several months, but then compelled by a Paul Davies book back towards deism but PanDeism, which I still am-PanDeist a decade later. But in all these cases I was compelled by reason an the Socratic method of following the evidence wherever it led, still apply this reasoning, so I realize that one can be led by reason to atheism’ as to deism, and one can become deist for bad reasons as one can become atheist fr bad reasons. Theism on the other hand is all most always a faith based proposition or belief’ at least anthropomorphic/centric monotheism and most forms of polytheism aside from maybe archetypal polytheism’ and of course pantheism. I’m PanDeist, deism and theism being different categories of belief in regards the god/divine question, as are atheism and agnosticism, each being umbrellas with several subcategories included in them.

Paul Brocklehurst
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To be an atheist, you can’t be assumed to believe anything what so ever.

Bill Baker
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No, that’s nihilism. Not atheism, which is simply the belief that no God or gods exist. Some atheists are also nihilists, most are’nt

Ian Sinclair
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I believe in plenty of things Paul. And you know, there are plenty of things you believe in that don’t need God/s to assume exist. You just don’t think about how little you think of God while doing these things. I believe in humanities capacity for great things, i believe, in my family and friends, i believe in our basic right to be treated well. Whether you have religious beliefs or not over all. And many other things.

Ian Sinclair
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I am guessing the question is rhetorical in nature. So The Humanist Codex, what is the purpose of this?

Ian Sinclair
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The Humanist Codex Good question. How about taking out the “what atheists believe” part, and simply start with the question asked? And then it gets addressed.

Ian Sinclair
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The Humanist Codex But then you get atheists who may miss understand it as an anti atheist thing.

Clinton Arneson
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To be an atheist, you have to have no beliefs at all.

We accept, or reject, premises based on evidence, or lack thereof.

There is no reason for a belief of any kind.

Richard Roy
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No. Actually to be an atheist all you do is not believe in a god or gods. You can believe in anything else if you like. Santa, unicorns, dragons, pixies, leprechauns. It doesn’t dictate reliance on science, or anything. You can choose not to believe anything, too, but it’s not a requirement.

William Hounslow
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Er… no! That’s theists who believe a god made of nothing came from nowhere and the made everything from nothing. But no wonder you pretend not to believe that. No sane person would either.

Ian Sinclair
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The Humanist Codex Ok, explain this codex please?

William Hounslow
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The Humanist Codex Indeed. As I said, you pretend not to. It’s too idiotic to admit to isn’t it.

Ian Sinclair
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The Humanist Codex It’s how the post up top starts, that has similar thoughts as Darwin, and then addresses the actual issue with such a thought. People get confused by the title and initial lines on your introduction.

William Hounslow
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Then perhaps you need to learn to express your thoughts more accurately.

Judy Cormier
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No, we believe that nothing came from nothing.

Lora Singer
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The Humanist Codex Atheism has no pre-requisites except lack of belief in a god or gods. Sure there are alternatives to “we came from nothing” – hundreds of creation stories from around the world, some better than yours.

Jeremy Arter
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No. To be an Atheist does NOT mean we believe something came from noting. It doesn’t mean that we know what happened, or think we do. It merely means we reject what you theists believe happened because there’s no evidence for it

Jeremy Arter
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The original post

Melvin Noble
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Really? No evidence! I guess when you look through your biased anti-God lens there is none but try it with your eyes opened and really look sir. Oh yeah & Merry Christmas to you and yours … http://www.icr.org/article/summary-scientific-evidence-for-creation/

Jeremy Arter
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Still ignores the obvious logic gap–if there was a creator, who/what created the creator?

Jeremy Arter
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You’re right. I only read the headline.

Melvin Noble
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Jeremy Arter Professor John Lennox addresses your “who created the creator” question much better than anyone I’ve heard address the subject when talking about Richard Dawkins book “the God Delusion” . Check out his response to your statement/question … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OeVL6O5T54Q

Ian Sinclair
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Melvin Noble You’re an idiot. Honestly, you can believe that some middle eastern nomads knew how things were put together, but scientists with modern methods couldn’t possibly have validity, really? If a god can come from nothing and create everything spontaneously, and you buy into it. But scientists suggest its not spontaneous as such, and that nothing isn’t absolutely nothing, that you find hard to believe? Wow….

Ian Sinclair
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The Humanist Codex No, we don’t. But we need nonsense anti science apologetic’s apparently. What is the purpose of your content? Fixed it, now stop complaining.

Melvin Noble
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The Humanist Codex

Ian Sinclair
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The Humanist Codex Now that i can agree with for sure. I get tired of the apologetic word salad nonsense sometimes. Same arguments over and over, without any of them stopping to think about them.

Jeremy Arter
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Melvin Noble mine was a rhetorical question

David Hamrich
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Melvin Noble knock it off

Jeremy Arter
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Not true