Before stepping into agnosticism, I was an atheist, asserting that the universe, as it exists, needs no efficient cause for justifying its existence. I booed away the god-explanation tagging it as a ‘miracle’ explanation. It seemed so right & scientific, that there wasn’t any probability that it could be wrong.
Let us check. What is a miracle? Suppose while reading this, your computer, be it a tablet or a laptop or a pc changes into a supercomputer, with not just internal changes, but also external changes, making it look brighter & more attractive than ever before. How would you explain this event? The first reaction to this could be terming it as a hallucination. But as you confirm its reality, you start looking for an explanation. There is no way such a thing could ever happen. So how would you explain the event?
The explanation would be difficult as you wouldn’t have any efficient cause in your mind which could produce that effect. You may take a huge amount of time calculating this or that, but the magnitude of the anomaly in the event is far greater than would fall within the purview of the existing set of logical explanations. At last you’d fall down and say okay that’s a miracle, an extraordinary and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws. So the miracleness of an event is in the incomprehensibility or non-existence of an efficient cause which could produce it.
Now let us consider the ‘by chance’ argument. When do we say that something happened by chance? It’s a similar situation like the aforesaid. When you do not find any efficient cause which could explain and/or justify the existence of a particular effect, you could say that it happened by chance. To say that something happened by chance is also to say that there were innumerable chances that it couldn’t have happened, but it did.
Don’t the ‘by chance’ and ‘miracle’ arguments sound alike? Yes they do. They sprout out of one thing; us not being able to find an efficient cause to explain and/or justify an effect. So it doesn’t matter what you call it, either ‘chance’ or ‘miracle’, it’s the same thing.
Now let’s consider the existence of this universe. It is still true that the field of science doesn’t know how this universe came to exist. As an atheist, just to avoid a god like thing (sticking to certain definitions of god) to be used in the explanation, I simply asserted that it was just a chance that this universe is what it is now. Also while doing that, I took ‘existence’ of anything and any sort for granted. For mathematician Gottfried Leibniz, the question rather should be, “why does anything even exist, rather than not existing?”
So while taking existence for granted, I took the ‘by chance’ argument. As I proved above, I also implicitly said that the universe came about by miracle. At the same time, I booed away the god-explanation saying it was absurd. But there’s a catch here; in the god-explanation, you are presented with an efficient cause capable of bringing about the effect, that is the universe, whereas in the chance-explanation, we give no cause to the effect at hand. So by the law of causation, in which every logical person holds firm belief, the god-argument, even if some of us dislike, is valid. You have a cause, you have an effect, where the cause has the ability to produce that effect. To this I asked about the cause of god, and then asserted that it would lead to an infinite regress, leaving us with no explanation whatsoever. The theological reply to this is that god is ‘causa sui’ or the uncaused cause.
So what seems as an illogical argument, is actually a good one as it adheres to the law of causation, and that which seems to be the most logical one, is empty on one of its two sides (the side of cause), leaving it incomplete & hence invalid. So for an atheist, the better assertion would be a negative assertion that is “I don’t know”, which would at any point be true anyways. Though unwillingly, this would push him/her towards agnosticism, which is my approach.
And while taking the side of science to be hellbent to disprove god’s existence, one must know that science doesn’t concern with the supernatural because it is untestable, hence making him/her unscientific in the first place.