Atheists believe something came from nothing

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"It seems atheists would much rather believe that something came from nothing, than to believe that Someone has always existed. Of course both beliefs are a matter of faith. [1]"

This argument is related to the cosmological argument, some versions of which rely on the unproven premise that "everything that exists must have a cause".


Counter arguments

Straw man and hasty generalization

"Are you going to go on record as saying that something can come from nothing?[2]"

Atheism does not take any position on this matter. The belief they do it is a common misconception, a straw man or a hasty generalization, depending on the context. Rejecting the claim "something cannot come from nothing" is not the same as disagreeing with it, since we may simply have insufficient evidence to know either way.

Some atheists have views about the early stages of the universe but virtually none claim to have certain knowledge of what triggered the Big Bang or what might have existed before (or even if time existed before). It is quite possible that "something" existed before the Big Bang or that the universe is necessarily existent. However, not having certain knowledge, particularly in this subject so distant from everyday experience, is not a problem.

Demanding that skeptics demonstrate that something can come from nothing is shifting the burden of proof.

Atheism needs faith

The point of this argument is to show that atheism is dependent on faith. It is unclear what exactly the purpose of that might be beyond an ad hominem tu quoque.

Somethings actually do come from nothing

The argument is based on the notion that "something coming from nothing" is absurd. However, it seems that not all events necessarily have causes. For instance, virtual particles seem to come into existence without a cause.

We have no examples of nothing

We have evidence of something coming from something. However, we would not expect to have access to examples of something coming from nothing, since we don't have any instances of "nothing". Even if all the evidence is on one side of the argument, we suffer from a major selection bias in our evidence. Therefore, we cannot use inductive reasoning to conclude something cannot come from nothing.[2]

Questionable definition of nothing

Apologists sometimes mean non-existence when they say "nothing".[2] This differs from concepts in physics, including a vacuum, the early universe, or what (if anything) came before the big bang.


  1. [1]
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Something Can't Come From Nothing, The Atheist Experience, 26 Feb 2012/9 Sept 2012
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