Too Many Turtles!

One of the common arguments against the idea of a First Cause of the universe or a Prime Mover is the counter argument, “What caused the First Cause? This comeback is a little like the person who, not paying attention to the details of a story being told to him by his friend, asks questions of his friend at the end of the story that belie the fact that he was not paying attention. If we are postulating a First Cause, Prime Mover, asking what caused the First Cause is nonsensical. 5_08_turtlesThe very definition of an un-caused, First Cause is that there is no prior cause responsible for it. If you want to posit that you believe in an infinite regressive chain of causes (multiverse, aliens from another universe, etc.) then please admit that you believe that the universe and or all of its prequels are infinite. Then, please recognize (say it out loud, perhaps) that you are embracing the turtle theory. Which is recounted nicely by Stephen Hawking in A Brief History of Time:

A well-known scientist (some say it was Bertrand Russell) once gave a public lecture on astronomy. He described how the earth orbits around the sun and how the sun, in turn, orbits around the center of a vast collection of stars called our galaxy. At the end of the lecture, a little old lady at the back of the room got up and said: “What you have told us is rubbish. The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise.” The scientist gave a superior smile before replying, “What is the tortoise standing on?” “You’re very clever, young man, very clever,” said the old lady. “But it’s turtles all the way down!”

Those who reject the First Cause argument are guilty of believing in an endless supply of turtles. In this way they can push back the question of the origins of the universe and the design question.

Categories: Atheism, The Logic

Tags: , , , , ,

5 replies

  1. The response arises from specific premises normally used to set up the first cause argument, premises you skipped in favor of simply defining the first cause as uncaused. As you’ve now turned the conclusion of the argument into a premise, you get to treat those you disagree with like bad students. It also leaves you with a circular argument.


    • Feel free to enlighten me and those I have so sorely misled…


    • Actually, Daniel, as I state in my short article, one is free to posit whatever or whoever they want as the First Cause. The problem for atheists is that they don’t like any argument for God. I respect that. My article does not demand that to be intellectually honest one has to agree that the First Cause is the Christian God. But the question is whether or not there is a first cause or not. If not, then at least admit to the ramifications of that preposterous conclusion. It’s atheists that get so upset that there may be a God so they grasp at any possible imaginary construct that will rule God out.

      Further, there is no circular argument here (argument and premise in this case being the same thing) except that which is introduced by the atheistic response that ignores the premise and concludes with the “I-just-woke-up” response of what casused the First Cause? Daniel, take the premise of God out of the equation: if one posits that the first cause of everything that exists is a bunny with floppy ears, you may thinks that’s ludicrous but asking what caused the bunny is to ignore the premise that the bunny does not have a cause. You may say that’s stupid, foolish, illogical, etc. You may also require one who asserts that premise to give reason for his conclusions. You can offer your conclusions. But, as in the case of our subject at hand, asking what caused the first cause only serves as an investigation stopper. I don’t believe any scholoar in his right mind actually believes that the universe[s] is/are eternal, infinite, but unfortunately, atheists and evolutionists are willing to be intellectually dishonest if it means God gets discounted. I say, Play the game! Tell who or what was the first cause, but enough with multiverses and aliens!


Leave a Reply

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

You are commenting using your 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 )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: