I just read a summary of the ABC “God debate” by someone who was at the taping. What what Ray Comfort’s argument? That design needs a designer, therefore creation needs a creator. (Which is essentially the cosmological argument in different words.) As PZ Myers points out: presumably, thunder needs a thunderer. As I argued in my last post, creation is not really proof of God’s existence. Comfort also touched on a bunch of other stuff later (like the inadequacy of evolution to create lifeforms).
Regarding the claim that creation needs a creator, I should probably talk about this a little more. There are a few positions someone could take on the existence of the universe – that it was uncaused (like how religious people claim that their God was uncaused), that the universe was created by an intelligent being (i.e. a “creator god”), or that it was caused by some natural phenomena (comparable to how lightning is caused by blind, naturalistic forces). While I’m not really a fan of the “uncaused” explanation, we can’t really ignore the possibility that there are naturalistic forces capable of creating universes. I don’t know what this naturalistic explanation could be, but humankind has had a long history of erroneously ascribing phenomena to intelligent beings. For example: the idea that volcanoes erupt because of an angry volcano god, storms are caused by demons, diseases are caused by demons, the planets/the sun move due to divine intervention (or gods racing their flaming chariot across the sky), and even the belief that god(s) are required to explain biological life.
Thomas Aquinas gave [the belief in storms being caused by demons] his sanction, saying in his all authoritative Summa, “Rains and winds, and whatsoever occurs by local impulse alone, can be caused by demons.” “It is,” he says, “a dogma of faith that the demons can produce wind, storms, and rain of fire from heaven.” (Source)
Augustine, 5th century church father: “All diseases of Christians are to be ascribed to these demons; chiefly do they torment fresh-baptized Christians, yea, even the guiltless, newborn infants.”
Of course, we know that these sorts of explanations are false. For ancient people, there was no good explanation for these phenomena. However, the fact that a society hasn’t discovered a naturalistic explanation for some phenomena doesn’t mean you *have* to accept supernatural explanations for that phenomena. It turns out that there were naturalistic explanations for these things, they just didn’t know what they were yet. Now, I’m not arguing that you need to accept naturalistic explanations of the universe, merely that the universe’ existence is not *proof* of God’s existence anymore than storms and diseases are *proof* of demons.
What could that naturalistic phenomena be? I’m not sure, and I realize that some people will haul out the first law of thermodynamics (“energy cannot be created or destroyed, only converted” also described as “conservation of energy”). However, there are some bizarre phenomena associated with quantum physics, such as virtual particles. Physicists agree that quantum physics can violate the first law of thermodynamics. Virtual particles are particles that can appear out of empty space. They are real, but they tend to disappear back into nothingness. There may be something going on with these virtual particles that could explain the existence of the universe itself.