A Brief Explanation of the Cosmological Argument

Here’s a good primer on what the Cosmological Argument for the existence of God consists of. (By William Lane Craig’s Resonable Faith)

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About Keith

Christian, Conservative, Husband, Father, Writer.

13 responses to “A Brief Explanation of the Cosmological Argument”

  1. Atomic Mutant says :

    Honestly, the cosmological argument fails on so many levels, that it only proves that Christians who use it, have not even once thought through it or searched for refutations. It only proves the one trying to use it as ignorant, nothing else.

    Just to take two simple points (there are many more, Google really is your friends here):

    i) Everything that begins to exist has a cause. – from everyday experience, true – but only for material thing INSIDE our universe.

    ii) The universe is NOT a material thing INSIDE our universe

    iii) Therefore, the universe has a cause. <- Meeep! Wrong.

    See, if you add the little detail that was conveniently forgotten to mention (that everyday experience, science, etc.) only confirms point i) for specific thing and doesn't talk about others, suddenly the conclusion is shown to be nonsense.

    Same thing with time (the same point):

    i) Everything that begins to exists INSIDE TIME has a cause. (true, as far as we know)
    ii) The universe did not begin to exist inside of time, as time started with the universe.
    iii) Therefore, the universe has a cause. <- Meeep! Wrong.

    Again, if you look that the detail that was "forgotten" to mention, the conclusion suddenly is obviously nonsense.

    And the other point, even simpler: Even if everything were true (it isn't)… This doesn't prove god. If the cosmological argument was true (it isn't), it would only be an argument for a cause, but calling this cause "god" doesn't make any sense at all – it's just wishful thinking, filling a gap with god because you want to and not because there is any indication he needs to be there. Nothing in the cosmological argument even slightly points into the direction of a personality or something like that.

    • Keith says :

      Essentially (and correct me where I’m wrong) your argument is:

      1) All space, time, energy and matter inside the universe must have a cause if it had a beginning.
      2) The universe consists wholly of time, energy and matter.
      3) The Universe had a beginning.
      4) The universe has no cause.

      #4 clearly does not follow if the others are true.

      As for your last point, God is an inference from the type of cause that would have the characteristics necessary to create the the universe. The Cosmological Argument is not meant to be a slam dunk for the existence of a creator, but part of a cumulative case.

      • Atomic Mutant says :

        No, “my” argument does not exist here. I only pointed out the hidden premise inside the cosmological argument which makes it’s failure obvious. Nothing more. From the fact that the cosmological argument fail does not follow that the opposite is true.
        And no, personality, etc. are no requirement for the starting of a universe – an infinite meta-universe, for example, that spawns temporary sub-universes like ours, would be completely enough to be the “cause” of the cosmological argument (if it was a valid argument, which it isn’t).

      • Keith says :

        There is no “hidden” premise inside the cosmological argument. There may be assumptions you disagree with, but you’ll have to show that the universe is something other than matter, space, time and energy in order to invalidate or prove the argument unsound with the point you’re making. Which you haven’t done.

        What evidence do you have that an infinite meta universe exists? Furthermore, are you suggesting that there is an infinite number of periods of time for that meta-verse? Or did it have a beginning?

      • Atomic Mutant says :

        Of course there is. The hidden premise that isn’t mentioned is, that our experience ONLY shows that all things that begin have a cause for things INSIDE time and consisting of matter and/or energy. Our experience does NOT show us that this is true for things that do not exist inside time (because we don’t have any experience with things outside time).
        With this premise made clear, you suddenly see that you cannot conclude anything about the universe from that statement.

        And I don’t suggest that this meta-universe exists, only that it would be completely sufficient as a cause, without needing to have a personality or even care the slightest about our universe. This disproves the idea that the cause must be “god”.

        But I would simply suggest asking Auntie Google – you will find the whole refutation of the cosmological argument. If you then want to continue using it, feel free, as it will only prove your ignorance because you won’t have the excuse of not knowing better then.

      • Keith says :

        So you think the universe 1) is something other than what it’s made up of 2) Exists apart from what constitutes it and 3) Was at one point outside of time?

        As far as “Auntie Google” I’m familiar with the debate surrounding the cosmological argument. I’m afraid you’ve found what you think is a handy counter-argument that you seem unwilling to defend other than to restate it over and over as if it’s a slam dunk.

      • Atomic Mutant says :

        Unfortunately, your attempts to save the cosmological argument fail. Let’s start with the most obvious one, 3):

        The universe is ALWAYS and NEVER outside time. Time is a PROPERTY of the universe, so your sentence doesn’t make much sense. Is the human body every outside the blood stream? Analogies only go so far, of course.

        And yes, the universe IS something other than what it’s made up, but that’s only natural: A set consisting of all numbers dividable by 3 (without remainder) is ITSELF NOT a number dividable by 3. So all the rules that apply for the numbers (for example “They are dividable by 3″) do not apply for the set itself – more even, the question does not make sense: “Is the set dividable by 3?” – because a set is a set, not a number. So, a set does not have to have the same properties as its members.

      • Keith says :

        1) “Always and Never?” – So the law of non-contradiction is out the window, noted.
        2) The human body is the sum total of all its parts..or a “set” if you will. If all the parts had a cause and a beginning, then the body had a cause (or causes) and a beginning…even though the body is a set of all the number of its parts. It doesn’t matter that parts of the body had different properties as the body as a whole entity.

        But then “analogies only go so far, of course.” As do pure mathematical examples.

      • Atomic Mutant says :

        1) The answer to nonsense is more nonsense. If you ask if something it ever outside of a part of it, then the answer you’ll get is nonsense, because the question makes no sense. Is a car ever outside it’s engine? That isn’t a question, it’s nonsense ending with a question mark.

        2) Don’t jump around please, trying to weasle your way out of this. The body example has nothing to do with “having a cause”, it’s about rules.

      • Keith says :

        1) My question about the universe existing outside or inside of time was to get a clarification of what you think, not making a claim. The fact that you responded with “always and never” has nothing to do with the question being nonsense, its you not thinking clearly.
        2) Hardly jumping around as I used YOUR example and showed how the sets/numbers does not apply in that case as it’s REASONABLE to claim if all the parts had a cause then the body as a whole had either one or multiple causes. Therefore, it’s not UNREASONABLE to apply that concept to the universe. The fact that you either can’t or won’t see the connection demonstrates an intellectual blind spot at best and intellectual dishonesty at worst.

      • Atomic Mutant says :

        As I (repeatedly) said, time is a property of the universe, so asking if the universe exists inside it simply doesn’t make sense. You could call it existing “outside” of time, but that would be dubious, at best, as time is simply a part of it.

        And no, it’s NOT reasonable to imply that if a rule apply for all members of the set, it also applies to the set itself. That’s simply nonsense. The fact that you try to make this argument again and again demonstrates an intellectual blind spot at best and intellectual dishonesty at worst. Sorry, your “it must have a cause because that’s what I see every day around me” argument simply doesn’t stand. It may sound nice, but it is useless to make arguments about something that’s not A from knowledge about A.

      • Keith says :

        So there was nothing. No time, no space…nothing, then boom! Something….without cause. Sorry, you seem to be able to muster more blind faith than me.

        And it’s perfectly reasonable to use as a starting point OBSERVATION and infer from that. (like we do with SCIENCE and REASON.) Like you said, it’s about RULES. why should i abandon the Principle of Sufficient Reason? If the set/number concept doesn’t fully apply INSIDE TIME (I.e. I’m justified in deducing a cause of the whole body given that all it’s parts/properties have a cause.)–if am justified in drawing a cause there, then the set/number distinction is not a slam dunk against The Cosmological Argument either.

        As it stands your causeless universe (which has no ontology, but is merely the abstract concept of “set”) from nothing is so outside the realm of cogent science and logic that the only honest thing someone of your position can take is no position at all…but shrug your shoulders and say “who knows?”

        I’m moving on from this comment thread, but I’ll give you the last word. Please feel free to comment in future posts too.

      • Atomic Mutant says :

        Argument from Ignorance: Invalid. The correct answer is simply “We don’t know (yet?).” We don’t have any clue how the universe started. Only I am honest only to admit that, while you only see another gap where you can force your god into. So, at the moment “Who knows – let’s try to find out” is much more honest than thinking that some bronze age guys had something useful to say about that by inventing a god.
        I can only tell you that the cosmological argument is not valid – but that doesn’t mean that there can’t be any cause, only that there is no valid argument for it.
        And of course, let’s assume there is a cause, then calling it “god” is still invalid, as there are many possible causes that are neither personal nor self-aware…

        And no, observation only goes so far. You cannot take one observation stretch it into infinity, thinking it has to be applied to everything else, too.

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