I’m so tired of so called scientists, rationals, elites, atheists, christians, and all kinds of other people making silly statements about knowledge. Today it seems that people accept “story telling” as a reasonable explanation of something.
Let me give you this example. Your whole life you have lived on an island that someone else built for you. It has a nice little house with a red front door. A silver telescope is mounted to your front porch and when you look through it you can see another island that someone else is living on. What types of things can you infer correctly, or at least reasonably, about that island?
1) Clearly you didn’t build your island, and clearly the other person didn’t either, because they, like you, do not have the skills, time, nor materials to do such a thing.
2) What types of experiences that person has are probably just like yours. The sand between their toes, the sun on their face, the shade of the house, the sound and feel of water etc.
I’m sure there are many other accurate inferences, but you get my point. Now, lets say you just started making up how things worked on that person’s island. Are those inferences reasonable or in anyway possible of being correct? For example, every time you see your neighbor close his front door, you tell yourself a rooster just crowed instead of the typical sound of a door closing that you have experienced 1000 times. Why would you even say that, or believe it to be true?
Yet, this is how so many people make inferences and explanations about our world. They simply make up something that sounds plausible, but they have no actual evidence for or experience of, and think that explanation is more true and believable than the others based on evidence and experience.
While there are many theories on how we can know things, allow me to give you my simple explanation. We can only know things through 3 ways:
1) We experience it first hand (can be physical like touch or sight, or immaterial experience like feelings and morality).
2) Someone we trust experiences it first hand and we believe their story.
3) We make inferences about things no one (we know) has experienced by only using what experiences and knowledge we currently possess, not with stories or made up explanations.
Here are some examples:
- The running stove is hot because I touched it.
- Someone else told me the stove was hot because they touched it.
- Someone tells me how my words made them feel inside.
- I know the running stove in my neighbor’s house is hot by inference of my experience with my stove.
- I know that stealing that gum at 5 years old was wrong (true story).
- Someone tells me who threw the first punch of a fight at their school in the 3rd grade.
- A historian tells me about Alexander the Great’s life.
- God reveals Himself to me personally or in His Word
- Jesus tells us He is God, He was there, and that He knows what He is talking about.
- Followers of Jesus tell us they saw Him alive after death with their own eyes, and touched him with their own hands.
Of course no method of acquiring or proving knowledge is foolproof, because we can be mistaken about what we experience – the rake doesn’t bend when I stick it in a pool of water – we can deceive ourselves, our bodies can deceive us with chemicals, other people can lie to us, or be deceived themselves, and our perspective could be limited and blind to some key components. This doesn’t then mean we cannot know anything, but it simply means we need to be careful about what we think we know, and perform due diligence to make sure we have adequately believed the truth.
In all of this I have been attempting to positively argue how we should go about knowing things, but it was mainly to address one example, just like in my island example where someone argued that their neighbor’s doors sounds like a rooster when it closes, and not like a door.
Some atheists and naturalists want to argue that our Universe, while it didn’t come from nothing and can’t be eternal, did come from another Universe that created it (basically from some other naturalistic cause outside this Universe), and they think such a story is an adequate theory of truth.
First let us consider how they could even know such a thing. They were not there at the beginning of our Universe and no one they know (they deny God who would be the eye-witness) was there. Thus they have no first hand knowledge or even second hand knowledge of the event. They only have inference ability on what they do know. And what do we know about inference? It must be made based on experiences and truth claims we have already verified, no making up stories.
Thus this explanation fails all three tests because no where in their whole materialist universe of experience do they see something outside of our Universe acting on our Universe because such a thing is self contradictory according to their world view. You cannot, on the one hand, argue as naturalists do, that this Universe is all there is, and then on the other hand argue that there is an existence outside of this Universe that caused this Universe.
But lets say they are inconsistent, or hold to another type of philosophy that allows them to believe this. Their explanation fails the same test because they are claiming that a non-intelligent, non-supernatural, material Universe caused another non-intelligent, non-supernatural, material Universe.
We know from cause and effect that all effects have a cause, and there are two types of causes: agent and event. Agent causes are when intelligent minds cause things to happen like turning on and lighting a stove and placing a pan with a steak above the fire. Event causes are what happen when the fire heats the pan, which heats the steak, which cooks.
If we do not see the beginning of a causal chain, we can only infer about that beginning from our interaction with the beginning of causal chains we do experience. All the casual chains that we see the beginnings of are caused by Agents. Therefore when we consider the beginning of causal chains like the Universe, Physics, Geology etc. we can only infer that an Agent caused them, we have no other experience or evidence to the contrary.
Thus, in the Universe creating a Universe scenario, we can only ask what created that Universe and so on until we get to an Agent. Only an Agent is a sufficient reason to explain the origin of the Universe, because only an Agent begins causal chains. If Agents only begin causal chains, and the Universe is a cause, and we exist in a current causal chain, then only an Agent began the Universe and no rooster crowed when that happened.