|Anything that Begins to Exist Has a Cause|
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The first premise of the KCA is “anything that begins to exist has a cause” where “cause” is understood to include both material and efficient causes, making the premise tantamount to “it is not the case that something begins to exist with no efficient cause and no material cause.” Something coming into being with no efficient cause and no material cause would constitute something coming into being from nothing and thus a violation of ex nihilo nihil fit (from nothing, nothing comes). Three reasons to believe ex nihilo nihil fit:
- Something coming into being from nothing is literally worse than magic. If the intelligent atheist has good reason to accept the implausibility of magicians who can pop things into being by waving their magic wands, she has even better reason to accept the implausibility of things popping into being uncaused out of nothing.
- If ex nihilo nihil fit can be violated, it becomes inexplicable why anything and everything doesn’t pop into being out of nothing. The ex nihilo nihil fit principle is the best and only explanation for why not everything and anything pops into being uncaused (i.e. no efficient cause and no material cause).
- Common experience and scientific evidence confirm ex nihilo nihil fit. Related to the second reason, the fact that we don’t see anything and everything popping into being from nothing gives us substantial evidence for the “anything that begins to exist has a cause” premise. Science (e.g. the conservation of electric charge) and common experience provide significant support.
When considering the rebuttals to the three objections I discussed, it becomes increasingly evident that the rational support for ex nihilo nihil fit is extremely strong, unsurpassed by even the best confirmed physical laws that astrophysics relies on. One reason is that if we accept that ex nihilo nihil fit can be violated at all, we cannot justifiably assume the uniformity of nature with respect to things coming into being from nothing only infrequently, because qua nothing there isn’t anything to constrain the frequency of how often such things would happen, and so there is no good justification for the belief that it would continue to occur only infrequently. The upshot would be we would have to abandon our natural skepticism to “things coming into being from nothing” claims, and this seems unreasonable. Ex nihilo nihil fit should, all things considered, be accepted with a great deal of confidence.
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