Ever since the publication of On the Origin of the Species, the crown jewel of the apologist’s costume collection has slowly moved from the argument from design to the argument from first cause. I’ve talked about the Cosmological Argument in the past, but new readers should know that I’m not impressed. Version 1.0 of the argument was one big fallacy, and, while the current iteration taking into account scientific data supporting the Big Bang has improved the argument’s foundation, it only manages to include Bible-damning evidence into a theistic statement that’s only achievement is explaining one mystery with a larger mystery. That’s all there is to it. No more to say. It’s for this reason the current post is only incidentally about a "first cause." In fact, it’s about nothing.
Theists claim that atheists must adopt the logically invalid (or at the least counter-intuitive) stance that something came from nothing. This is completely untrue. Going by the most scientifically accurate origin story available, the Big Bang Theory, we only know that the universe came from a singularity. What came before the Big Bang is unknown. However, it is the believer’s practice to fill gaps of knowledge with the supernatural. In this case, it is God popping space and time into existence. It's the theist who believes that something came from nothing, at least in the material world. The intellectual out of trumping nature with magic is unfounded. There is no reason to believe that anything trumps nature. There is no reason to believe in “nothing.”
I read Lawence Krauss’ book A Universe From Nothing sometime before I started this blog. In it Krauss brings up the theist’s tendency to define “nothing” as that which has no potential to form “something.” The theist works their desired answer into the question. Can something come from nothing? No, according to this definition, it can’t. In fact, even God shouldn’t be able to act on nothing according to this definition. Krauss spends most of the book explaining how the universe could spontaneously spawn from quantum foam. I don’t get into this explanation in debates because, however accurate it may be or may not be, I simply can’t wrap my mind around it. To be honest, “nothing” as a complete lack of anything--a void of the void, the capitol “S” sans--is incomprehensible in it’s own right. Does nothing exist? No, it is the antonym of existence.
So next time a theist says that you must believe that something came from nothing, know that this is untrue. You don’t even have to believe in “nothing.” Something might have come from something, we just don’t know what, and that’s okay.