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March 03, 2008

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Dom

"The standard response of the atheist is to say that there is no answer to this question; spacetime's beginning to exist is a brute fact or has no explanation."

Strawman. The standard response of the atheist is actually that of reserved judgement. The null hypothesis might be that the existence of the universe is brute fact, but that's just a null hypothesis; there's no reason the atheist won't change their view as soon as evidence for another is presented.

It's also a bit of a politician's fallacy: there must be some reason spacetime exists, theism is some reason, therefore theism is why spacetime exists (or, theism is epistemically preferable to other theories).

Q the Enchanter

Yeah, well maybe it's worth pointing out that Smith not only has the argument wrong, but exactly backward: If contemporary cosmologists had claimed that as a matter of scientific fact spacetime had no cause, then the theist's claim that spacetime did have a (supernatural) cause would in fact be an independent reason to reject theism, not to prefer it (science having historically been proven the better epistemic bet).

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