Naturalism: A Fishy Perspective on Causality

Mehran Banaei

There is a famous Persian proverb about a curious little fish who confronted his father with a burning question: “Dad, what is this thing called water?” The young fish asked inquisitively. His father helplessly replied, “Son, I heard about it too, but to tell you the truth, I have absolutely no idea, no one has ever encountered water.”

The intended message behind this proverb is that while any question may seem valid to pose, one ought to be equipped with sufficient brainpower to comprehend the answer. Reality has to be accessible to the observer’s intellect and conceptualization is the key to understanding. While our brain can absorb many things, it certainly cannot conceptualize and absorb everything, simply because it does not have the capacity to comprehend the nature of all that exists.

One of the most frequent questions posed by atheists is that, if everything has a beginning and cause, then who caused the First Cause; that is to say where did the Originator of the Big Bang come from, and who created Him.

As a theist, I find this ubiquitous reductionistic approach unworthy of analysis, merely fitting for tabloids and gossip magazines. The question posed is irrelevant and totally unnecessary to put forth. For one, the Creator’s “personal life” does not really interest me, nor do I think I am equipped with enough cognitive capacity to understand His infinite uncaused nature. For mortal beings like us, trapped in a finite universe of cause and effect, it may seem difficult to envision that there could be an uncaused cause outside time and space dimensions who is not bounded by the laws of cause and effect. However, what I can easily grasp which matters most, is that I am here, did not need to be here, was not here at one point, and will not be here further down in time. While I am busy to make sense of my own existence, I have no interest to dwell on the nature of the First Cause, the Uncaused Cause. Deductive logic and inductive extrapolative evidence sufficiently attest to existence of an intelligent conscious Being outside of this universe; indeed, without Him the universe could not have existed. What is known to our intellect is enough to establish His existence; thus what do we need to know His “biography” for, which is inaccessible to our cognitive apparatus?

Atheists believe that nothing exists beyond the natural world. They make an incorrect assumption that outside of this caused universe, there could not be an Uncaused Entity, and that the Causer of the universe must also be caused, subject to His own laws. For the sake of discussion, let’s assume that the First Cause of the universe was caused by a bigger cause than Himself, if so, then who caused the “First Cause”, and so on. This erroneous approach would obviously lead to an infinite regression and unsettled conclusion, thus dismissible at the outset, yet it is continuously brought up by likes of Richard Dawkins. These atheists fail to understand that the cause of the universe cannot be within this universe, subject of the very laws of physics within the universe. That which creates cause and effect cannot be the subject of cause and effect. That which creates time and space cannot be the subject of time and space. That which creates time must be timeless. That which is timeless and eternal must be Uncaused.

It is now well established that the universe and time have had a beginning some 14 billion years ago. In discussing the origin of this created universe, what becomes inescapable is that causality has to be attributed to something, i.e. to mythological gods, a cosmic luck, blind processes of cosmic natural selection, a self-created universe aimlessly fashioned out of nothing, extraterrestrial more advanced than us, or to A Singular Uncaused Cause. It is our task to explore all explanations and determine which explanation is rational and makes more sense.

image

By way of analogy, while fish do not have the capacity to deductively or inductively comprehend the existence of water, the existence of fish alone is a sufficient proof for the existence of water, whether the fish comprehends water and its dependence on it, or blatantly denies the existence of water. Yet atheists feel content with attributing the existence of 28,000 different stunning species of fish, each playing a role in the intricate balance of ecosystem to a keeper of an aquarium. The keeper being natural selection, laws of physics, mindlessness, etc. without articulating where did they come from. Thereby, blatantly committing the notorious fallacy of passing the buck.

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Philosophy of Science and Religion

One response to “Naturalism: A Fishy Perspective on Causality

  1. Omer

    Very nice and aptly explained. This is a post worthy of being memorized.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s