Not Turtles All the Way Down?

Dinesh D’Souza, who was a hero to all of us Young Republicans in the oh-so-PC 1990s, has a good post at his website tothesource.org defending the classical argument for the existence of God as First Cause. D’Souza shows how professional atheists Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris once again really don’t understand the intellectual legacy they’re ridiculing:


Think of the chain of causation in the universe as represented by a series of dominoes falling. Each domino that topples over is itself knocked over by another domino. The dominoes have been arranged so that, when the first one falls, it knocks over the second one, and so on. The trail of dominoes may be extremely long, but it cannot go on forever, because the whole process is only triggered by the fall of the first domino. If the first domino isn’t toppled, then the second and third and fourth ones aren’t going to fall either. Moreover, the first domino isn’t going to topple itself. It relies on some agent outside the series of falling dominos to knock it over….

Given that nothing in the universe is the cause of its own existence, the universe cannot be explained by an infinite regress of causation. If there were infinite regress then the series would not have gotten started in the first place. The universe is here, just like the fellow who has gotten his driver’s license or like the dominoes that we see toppling over before our eyes. And just as there had to be a first number at the DMV that got the sequence going, and someone or something that got the dominoes to start falling one by one, so too there must be a first cause for the universe that accounts for the chain of causation that we see everywhere in the world. We may not be able to say much about what this first cause is like, but we have logically established the need for it and the existence of it. Without a first cause, none of its effects—including the world, including us—would be here.

2 comments on “Not Turtles All the Way Down?

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