How can an atheist invoke an uncreated universe with no intelligent design and assert its logical consistency? Why is it logical?

By moving the goal post to aliens seeded earth from another universe, the question doesn’t disappear because reductio ad absurdum is the argument used against God’s existence and if both are possible then it becomes a belief whereas atheism's assert lack of belief in a god and affirming the consequence is not proof.

Theists will define their god and attribute qualities to their god such as intelligence, intentionality and inspiration.

Assume atheists did not invoke any of the following

  • argumentum ad ignorantiam
  • false dilemma/false dichotomy
  • petitio principii
  • non causa pro causa / post hoc ergo propter hoc / cum hoc ergo propter hoc
  • argumentum ad verecundiam
  • concensus gentium
  • affirming the consequent

What would be a logical explanation for an uncreated universe/multiverse?

I’m not asking if it can be true. I’m not asking how it can be true. I’m asking why is it logical that something uncreated ended up with earth containing organic intelligence.

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    Despite the work that clearly went into this question, it is still unclear to me what you want to know.. – Mark Andrews Mar 20 '19 at 19:17
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    It is logically consistent because no apparent contradiction is derivable from it. I think you are using "logical" in "how is it logical" in the colloquial sense of something like "explained", but that has nothing to do with logical consistency. In philosophy, atheism actually asserts non-existence of god(s), just lack of belief is called agnosticism. Again, the colloquial usage is different. To your quest an atheist/agnostic can reply that postulating a god with properties designed to "explain" the universe is no better than postulating it directly, and, in fact, worse, by Occam's razor. – Conifold Mar 20 '19 at 19:42
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    I made some edits. Please roll them back or further edit if I misrepresented your position. – Frank Hubeny Mar 20 '19 at 20:06
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    this is a bit yawny trolly.. – Richard Mar 20 '19 at 20:14
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    @Autodidact In light of the comments and your responses, I recommend withdrawing the original question and resubmitting one that better describes what you want to know. – Mark Andrews Mar 20 '19 at 21:47

I will try to present some reasoning why an atheist might believe it is "logical that something uncreated ended up with earth containing organic intelligence."

Assume we have a creation event. That would be a first cause. What happens after that are called secondary causes. Here is Wikipedia's description of secondary causation:

Secondary Causation is the philosophical proposition that all material and corporeal objects, having been created by God with their own intrinsic potentialities, are subsequently empowered to evolve independently in accordance with natural law. Traditional Christians would slightly modify this injunction to allow for the occasional miracle as well as the exercise of free will. Deists who deny any divine interference past the creation event would only accept free will exceptions. That the physical universe is consequentially well-ordered, consistent, and knowable subject to human observation and reason, was a primary theme of Scholasticism and further molded into the philosophy of the Western Tradition by Augustine and later by Aquinas.

If the creation stops then the universe is on its own except for occasional miracles when the first cause intervenes. Note how Deists push out God's action by eliminating miracles.

Atheists can claim, based on a belief in secondary causation known through natural laws, that either the universe is eternal and doesn't need a first cause or if it did begin (such as believed with the big bang) the cause was some sort of randomness.

Just as the atheist denies a first cause a theist could deny secondary causation or reduce its significance. A complete denial of secondary causation is viewed as continuous creation or occasionalism.

Occasionalism is a philosophical theory about causation which says that created substances cannot be efficient causes of events. Instead, all events are taken to be caused directly by God....The theory states that the illusion of efficient causation between mundane events arises out of God's causing of one event after another.

So to go back to the original question:

I’m not asking if it can be true. I’m not asking how it can be true. I’m asking why is it logical that something uncreated ended up with earth containing organic intelligence.

When theists accept secondary causation (except for some miracles) they open the door logically for atheists to believe only in secondary causation. They make it possible to think in terms of only secondary causation. If God created the world at the big bang then everything after that (except for miracles) would be done by secondary causation including organic intelligence.

The way around that would be to present a theism that limits secondary causation or entirely eliminates it in some form of occasionalism.

Wikipedia contributors. "Occasionalism." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 9 Sep. 2018. Web. 20 Mar. 2019.

Wikipedia contributors. "Secondary causation." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 8 Apr. 2018. Web. 20 Mar. 2019.

  • Thank @Frank Hubeny for your response and the edit to the question. If I may: My qualifier given your response is that secondary causation implies a Big Bang theistic model and not a Genesis 1-2 young earth no gap occasionalism model and while former opens secondary causation to atheist by Big Bang theist, the latter doesn’t by Creation Young Earth theists. What is the logic other than Darwinian theists for a first causation by atheists? – Gordian Knot Mar 20 '19 at 20:29
  • @Autodidact Occasionalism would fit either the Genesis 1-2 Young Earth Model or the Big Bang/Darwinian Theistic model because God can create as He will. Having too much secondary causation would likely limit theism to a Big Bang model with God intervening through miracles or in other ways "sustaining" creation. But the theist doesn't have to give up all secondary causation. An alternative to a continuous creation is a create and sustain reality. – Frank Hubeny Mar 20 '19 at 20:39
  • I suppose it would @ FrankHubeny. I guess I would go with a create and sustain reality. And I understand why you were contrasting but I’m essentially interested in the atheist explanation and why there is no apparent contradiction to start with a first cause, then randomness, accidents and time, secondary causation and end up with organic intelligence. Time and randomness does not allow for irreducible complexity. – Gordian Knot Mar 20 '19 at 20:53
  • A star to be formed requires, gravity, heat and matter, but in order to have gravity you must have a hot core and to have a hot core you must have gravity. That is affirming the consequent and circular reasoning. (I’m simplifying star birth but you understand, I trust) – Gordian Knot Mar 20 '19 at 20:53
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    @Autodidact your claims about gravity are simply false. Gravity of small masses has been demonstrated numerous times, from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cavendish_experiment through space.com/42863-nasa-osiris-rex-orbit-asteroid-bennu.html But I suspect that you and I are speaking different languages (theology vs science) and we will never come to agreement on the facts of the matter. – Foo Bar Mar 23 '19 at 0:18

What is a universe ?

Word "universe" is a very loaded word, i.e. it does have different meanings in physics, mathematics, and of course in different philosophical schools. For example, it could symbolize totality of everything that exists, it could be just one of many worlds in multiverse (another ambiguous word), or it could be just a representation of existence in our mind ("Everybody lives in his own universe").

It is precisely this definition that differentiates between various forms of atheism and theism . You already mentioned yourself that atheist consider universe to be uncreated (which is logical, because creation would require creator) . It is entirely possible to imagine universe as something that doesn't have beginning in time, and even does not exist in time, with time being just a function of our mind (Kant). Or to imagine our universe (which has time) as just a part of bigger multiverse, one of possible worlds .

Now we come to the problem of intelligent life. If you limit yourself to a narrow definition of universe as described in current physics ( Big Bang theory, universe has beginning and probably an end) question arises of sapient life's probability in such confined universe. Limited universe does favor idea of creator, but only if you consider it as only universe. With introduction of idea that there could be many possible universes (and that they actually do exist "somewhere" ) intelligent life is not a rare event, but certainty . After all, in all possible worlds, there are few with intelligent life. Those without - well we do not know about them because there is no intelligent life in them :)

Note that cause-effect relation (something that is mostly considered for granted in human reasoning) does not need to be taken as precondition for existence of the universe. Or in other words, there could be worlds without classical arrow of time, which do not have "first cause" as described in classical philosophy.


How can a creationist invoke a created universe and assert its logical consistency, given that almost nothing (as measured by volume or mass [1]) inside the universe was created by intelligence? It's only a tiny fraction of things in the human world, the rest is created by intelligence-free, unconscious mechanisms. Even the only known intelligence inside animal brains is created by intelligence-free mechanisms. See neuroscience for details on how.

Note that this applies to the universe at every stage in human history. It applies to all parts of the universe that were previously unknown, or "outside" the universe as it was defined in a previous time.

At no stage in history has the universe outside the minds of humans been verified to be created by conscious intelligence. Be it the Nile Valley, the European continent, the earth, the solar system, or the Milky Way galaxy. How is creationism logically valid if every time humans have expanded the visible "universe" we have access to, it turns out that the same or similar intelligence-free fundamental laws and processes are what's doing the creating?

Doesn't creationism commit a special pleading fallacy by asserting the entire universe MUST be different from what occurs inside it AND ignores the history of how each time the universe has expanded, the old parts were found to be created by intelligence-free mechanisms? Doesn't creationism commit a 2nd special pleading fallacy by asserting the entire universe works the same as the infinitesimal fraction of the universe that humans are responsible for?

Science proves simple parts with simple rules can combine into very complex systems (i.e. intelligence simply isn't needed to create complex, magnificent results) so the creationist argument from complexity/amazement isn't logical or consistent with empirical observation, whereas atheism is logically consistent with all known evidence, and all definitions (i.e. sizes) of the universe.

"Theists will define their god and attribute qualities to their god such as intelligence, intentionality and inspiration."

The only known cause of these attributes is intelligence-free processes, mechanisms and laws inside the universe. See neuroscience for details. It is not logical to violate the parsimony principle, i.e. assume there is some other mode of existence or way to have these qualities. Every new assumption without empirical evidence doubles the chance the conclusion is wrong. Theism adds hundreds, thousands, perhaps millions of philosophical assumptions, making it both logically invalid and probabilistically impossible.

"What would be a logical explanation for an uncreated universe/multiverse?"

As emotionally unsatisfactory as it is (because it says the "creator" is not, in any way like us), the logical explanation for an "uncreated" universe created by intelligence-free mechanisms is what science continually tells us: that astounding, complex structures can be created with only simple intelligence-free rules and without intention, from simple parts interacting in 4D space-time, 2 more dimensions that is required for the leap from simple dynamical systems to complex chaotic systems.

[1] Let's assume everything inside the livable part of earth was created by humans. Divide that thin spherical shell volume by the total volume of universe. Rough guess, it's about 10^(-100), yet this minuscule fraction is what creationism demands is somehow inverted for the case of the universe itself, based simply on the way humans work and subjective, unreliable human emotion of amazement (mostly due to ignorance). Creationism really is an inversion of logic and all known evidence.

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