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Does the Cosmological Argument prove God's Existence?

  1. Jan 31, 2006 #1
    This is my first post here, so I appologise in advance if this is the wrong forum.
    Anyway, I was interested to see if this was a generally held opinion. My philosophy course didn't really go into much detail (alas, only Higher level (in Scotland)) I think that the cosmological argument goes as far as to prove a cause, but I don't know if this can be expanded into a proof for God. I think this would require a leap of faith, but any input would be much appreciated, considdering the quality of argument and writing I have seen.
     
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  3. Jan 31, 2006 #2

    hypnagogue

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    Would you mind reviewing the cosmological argument for us in your own words, and giving your own perspective on the argument in a bit more detail? This would be the best way to go in order to get everyone on the same page, mitigate any potential confusions, etc. Thanks.
     
  4. Jan 31, 2006 #3


    Welcome Neonerdy.

    In my opinion the Cosmological argument does not prove the existence of God because it assumes that the cosmos must have a cause and/or a beginning. As there is no proof for neither a cause nor a beginning then it cannot be a proof of God.

    If the Cosmos is eternal it has no beginning or end. This may or may not include our present observable physical universe.

    The First Cause which the Cosmological argument is based on leads instead to an infinite regression of causes and effects, or if the universe is eternal, there is no first cause.
     
  5. Feb 11, 2006 #4
    This is flawed ofcoarse. The very first premise is incorrect.
    Not everything have a cause for its existence. Might I suggest studing up on virtual particles. They come into existence and out of existence. ALOT. and there is absolutely no cause.

    Next. If you were to actually accept this proof. Take (5) God exists. and then (1) everything that exists has a cause of its existence. THEREFORE something caused God existence. Which then begs the question. If God has a cause. whatever that which caused this. Has or Had a cause. and so on and so on.

    Im sorry if i broke any rules so far. But let me bring up my favourite one thats related.

    Its the ontological. originally done up by Saint Aquinas. Essentially its.

    1-God is perfect(by definition)
    2-If he doesnt exist. he wouldnt be perfect.
    3-Thusly since hes perfect he must exist.

    and guess what? 600 years or so when it was done up. the Saint was told that this arguement is fallacious.

    How is it? Just because you can define something to exist. doesnt make it exist.

    The good old Invisible Pink Unicorn is perfect(by definition)
    There are 40 billion trillion of the IPU(by definition)
    and since hes by definition the IPU exists.

    what is also interesting is the name of the Unicorn is illogical. If the unicorn were invisible, hes not pink. HES INVISIBLE.
     
  6. Feb 22, 2006 #5
    according to the christian religion god is all powerfull.
    so "if god is all powerfull can he create a stone he cannot lift" if he can create it then he's not all powerfull cos he cant lift it, if he cant create it then he's not all powerfull cos theres something he cant do.

    therefore god is not only not all powerfull he is also a logical paradox and therefore the christian faith is based on a god who is logically pardoxical and therefore flawed.

    hence just for that he doesnt deserve to exist, which is doubtfull if he does anyway.
     
  7. Feb 22, 2006 #6

    selfAdjoint

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    What this argument shows is not the there is or isn't a god or that "he" has any properties or doesn't, but the human thinking about infinite beings is incoherent. The stone argument leads to contradictory conclusions, which is not a property of its subject, but a property of the argument.
     
  8. Feb 22, 2006 #7
    which would show that the belief system is incoherrent yes, which would therefore show a flaw in the belief system itself.

    i was not attempting to prove or disprove god as it is a question which i do not have the time, inclination or ability to answer, i was merely pointing out just one of many subtle flaws in the whole belief system, and it is these very flaws in the belief system which throw doubt on the beliefs and therefore make us question them.
     
  9. Feb 22, 2006 #8
    ok as we are rational and logical beings. this is how things are. such that the scientific method is based upon.

    You have a problem:
    Why do we exist?
    You hypothesize(guess):
    God created us.
    You experiment or find evidence to prove or disprove your hypothesis:
    Opps all the christians stopped at the last step. There is no evidence to believe in a god.

    So why should we believe in this hypothesis? No reason to.

    Now ive heard a few arguements. "You innocent until proven guilty!"
    essentially saying that the God hypothesis is correct until someone proves there is no God.

    But this simply is flawed. as you cannot prove a negative. Which in debate ive seen this.

    Bald man stands up and says. I have hair. and I have hair as long until you disprove my hair's existence. Christian speaker stands up. I can clearly see you have no hair. The bald man says. Im sorry but you cant see my hair. its invisible to anyone who doesnt believe in my hair. That my hair is in another dimension. The muslim speaker walks over to the man. Attempts to grab his hair. Grabs nothing. and thats his evidence that its not there. but since its in another dimension it cannot be felt. The Jewish speaker stands up and says the smartest thing yet. We clearly cant prove a negative. You prove that you have hair. The atheist bald man says. at last. I have no evidence for my hair. So now i concede that I have no hair.
    He then continues.
    Now I cant see/feel...etc your "God" you prove "God's" existence. and it went NOWHERE from there on. As none of them could give any real evidence.

    Oh really? I beg to differ. you see the arguement is completely straightforward and valid. You say not a property of its subject. I dont see that. Your saying that God's property(omnipotence) cannot create a stone? or lift a stone?
     
  10. Mar 15, 2006 #9
    Your argument on God's omnipotence is interesting. Here's another one:

    - God is perfect, and always has been
    - Perfect things cannot change and still be perfect (they either improve, in which case they weren't perfect, or become corrupt, in which case they aren't perfect)
    - God has changed over time (in Christian religion)
    - If God has changed over time, he is now different. He has changed.
    - Therefore, God cannot start out perfect, and now still be perfect.

    Or, if that sounds illogical:
    - God is perfect
    - Perfection is static, that is it needs nothing to improve it. Needs are temporary faults.
    - If somebody needs nothing to improve, they have no desires.
    - Somebody with no desires is completely passive, they do nothing.
    - A perfect being would have no inclination to create the universe.
     
  11. Mar 15, 2006 #10
    I'll prove conclusively to you that God doesn't exist when you prove conclusively to me that the Tooth Fairy doesn't exist.
     
  12. Mar 15, 2006 #11
    I know I've been posting a lot, but I have to do this before I forget it.
    A logical train of thought for an omniscient God:

    - God knows all
    - God created us and gave us free will (Christian)
    - Because God knows everything, he can predict anything
    - If our actions can be predicted, we do not have (from God's perspective) free will. We behave in what is, to him, predictable ways, so he can influence our actions to the result he wants. Thus we behave how he wants us to, and are not responsible for our own sins.
    - Thus the reason I don't believe in him is his fault, not mine. I would be a machine behaving in (to him) and obvious manner.

    So -- either God is not all-knowing, or you can take my atheism up with him, my Christian friends.
     
  13. Apr 2, 2008 #12
    The Real Cosmological Arguments

    Ok, I am a Christian theist responding to the various claims made in this thread.

    Firstly, the simple cosmological argument that munky99999 supplied is not held by any credible theistic Philosophers today. The reason is because as munky99999 suggested, it can lead to self-contradictions. The two main cosmological arguments are: The Kalem Cosmological argument and the Argument from Contingency. With these two arguments, God does not need a cause.

    The Kalem Cosmological argument is as follows:

    1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
    2. The universe began to exist.
    3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.

    With the first two premises being true, the conclusion necessarily follows.

    Now I will respond to a couple of the arguments against this argument that have been raised in this thread.

    So Royce you are denying the second premise. However, the great majority of scientists today know the universe had a beginning because they hold to the Big Bang Theory.

    But suppose the universe never had a beginning, then that then means there must be an infinite amount of events that have occurred up to this day. However, one cannot reach an actual infinite series of things by successive addition. The argument is as follows:

    1. A collection formed by successive addition cannot be actually infinite.
    2. The temporal series of past events is a collection formed by successive addition.
    3. Therefore, the temporal series of past events cannot be actually infinite.

    The second premise is obvious. To prove the first premise:

    Now if an event occurred today, the event prior to it had to occur. But before that event could occur, the one prior to it had to occur, and so on. So one gets driven back and back into the infinite past, making it impossible for any event to occur, which is absurd. There must be a first cause.

    Virtual particles are not an exception to the first premise. The central point to be made here is that the quantum mechanical vacuum on which virtual particles depend for their existence is emphatically not nothing. The microstructure of the quantum vacuum is a sea of continually forming and dissolving virtual particles which borrow energy from the vacuum for their brief existence. A quantum vacuum is thus far from nothing, and vacuum fluctuations do not constitute an exception to the principle that whatever begins to exist has a cause.

    That is simply a fallacious argument. Creating a rock that he can't lift is logically inconsistent. Being omnipotent does not mean the ability to do the logically absurd.

    On the other hand, I could say: God can create a rock so heavy that he can't lift it. Then he can lift it. But then you'll say, "But that's logically inconsistent." Yes, God can do the logically inconsistent.

    You see, that argument you presented is simply illogical and no intellectual Philosopher uses that argument anymore.

    You can prove a negation by pointing out the logical inconsistencies in a position. For example, I can absolutely say that there are no married bachelors. I can also prove a negative if I have absolute knowledge about a subject. For example, I can absolutely say there are no muslims in the U.S Senate.

    Nobody has absolute knowledge about the universe, so they cannot disprove God that way. The only other way is to show a logical inconsistency in God.

    So then if a person has not found a logical inconsistency in God, then they can only reasonably be an agnostic or theist.

    However, as I've shown in this post, there are good reasons to believe in the existence of God. The rational mind would believe in the existence of God, rather than not.

    The second premise you must prove. The third premise is simply false. "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." (Heb. 13:8)

    The fourth premise is false. Why would God's middle knowledge mean that we lose our free will? Having knowledge about something does not mean controlling that something.
     
  14. Apr 2, 2008 #13
    The Big Bang doesn't say there was nothing before it, only that matter was condensed into a point. It could have been a rebound from another universe or could have originated inside a larger multiverse.

    No, it doesn't. You are assuming time stretches back infinitely as well. What if events do not occur in time? What if time doesn't exist? What if events follow a time loop and everything repeats?

    Why can't that uncaused first cause simply be the universe?

    Oh, but yes it does. If you are omnipotent you can do anything. The logically absurd is a subset of anything...and since you can't do the logically absurd, you can't be omnipotent and the bible is wrong.

    God CANNOT make a rock so heavy he can't lift it. He can lift any rock. So he's not omnipotent.

    But since God IS logically inconsistent, we can be sure he does not exist as described in the bible. He is described as being omnipotent and omniscient. Those two qualities cannot coexist, therefore the bible is wrong and the god it describes cannot exist.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2008
  15. Apr 2, 2008 #14
    Wow I cant believe I'm even still setup for notification let alone the thread still existing. The fellows on the forum don't take kindly to religion. Religion and you know facts, intelligence, knowledge dont mix obviously.

    Anyway the last time anyone even posted in this thread was March 2006. Over 2 years old. There's some serious decomposition going on here. Really bad necrophilia happening here. Let alone the fact that this is your first post. It doesn't seem good.

    Lovely how you qualify that by credible and theistic. Like as if this is a definable characteristic.

    Kalam* aka Muslim Religious Science.

    Oh I agree. Many things do not need a cause. The universe doesn't need a cause. Nuclear decay has no cause. Quantum Mechanics is very very without a cause.

    #1 is actually false.
    #2 is challenged.
    Thusly #3 does not logically follow.

    Good thing they are not.

    Circular logic brought on by Appeal to Popularity. Quite fallacious of you.

    You certainly like your William Lane Craig. Anyway..

    #2 is not valid.

    Yes but not actually true unless you use 400bc math and knowledge.

    You certainly do like to copy and paste. Lets hope you at least give some credit at the end of your post to those who originally said all this. Also as we have already established. First cause is not a valid premise. So thusly you loose.

    vacuum is not nothing? Oh right... I forgot we were speaking about you're reality where God exists.

    Actually yes they do. If you had any clue what you were talking about and weren't just copying and pasting you would discover that many things in quantum mechanics have no cause.

    That's the point.

    Yes it does. All powerful. The power to do EVERYTHING. Including the logically absurd. Oh what's this square circle god painted for me. Oh right it doesn't exist.

    Actually no. It's not logically inconsistent. It is failure to satisfy the premise of creating a rock which is too heavy for God to lift.

    Actually yes they do. There are other methods of saying it in more complex ways. However the essence of the argument stands still. The catholic church has infact changed God to NOT omnipotent so they don't have to deal with square circles. Which is fine if they wish to believe in a powerful alien and not an omnipotent god.

    No. You cannot prove a negative. Infact you can go further and explain the burden of proof to you where the idea of innocent until proven guilty actually explains that the burden is on the theists to prove God exists. A steady failure by theists obviously or God would be taught as science.

    That is because it's an illogical self-contradicted term. God however has played hide and seek over the years. Originally he lived in the clouds. Which is why heaven is cloudy. We built airplanes and couldn't find heaven nor god. But God moved his home to outerspace. We got the appropriate technology and God moved to another reality. Which by definition proves in of itself that God does not exist. As you have to be within the constraints of reality to exist. However since this other reality might exist... just as I might be petting my invisible pink unicorn. Who might exist. Bertrand Russel's teapot may exist also. God is thusly in a sense plausibly in existence. God cannot have ever interacted with our reality. Meaning the malarkey in the bible is false. Some undefined God may exist however. If you believe such a being exists. We would love to hear some evidence for it.

    Might I suggest reading The God delusion by Richard Dawkins? He explains why you are wrong quite well.

    Which I have and it disproves all the omni- attributes in the constraints of our reality. We have no evidence at all to suggest another reality exists. However it is possible. Which can have different laws and logical. Which could allow God to exist. So God can even exist after that. The unfortunate problem is that God doesn't have the power to have any effect on our reality/universe and the burden of proof is on you; as a believer obviously.

    We have MANY logical inconsistencies with the abrahamic god. We have many inconsistencies for the other gods. The inconsistencies are not even the issue. You are not deemed to either disprove something or believe it. My invisible pink unicorn just left me to go trash your house... Disprove my invisible pink unicorn exists. If you cant do that.. you must believe my invisible pink unicorn exists.

    The burden of proof is on you to provide evidence for your claim.

    I have seen not a single shred of evidence in this post yet. I have seen plagiarism and fallacies out the wing-wang.

    Are you even remotely capable of understanding logic and rational thought? You have no evidence at all to believe a God exists yet you do. This is a delusion. You have a mental disorder by definition according to the American DSM at least.

    It is logically consistent in of itself. Please elaborate on why you believe it is wrong.

    Oh ya? So you support Leviticus 24:16 where it advocates putting me to death? God wills it. The community must put me to death.

    Or how about Leviticus 20:9 which demands the death of disobedient children. Oh boy virtually all children will have to die in North America because of this one. So you support this?

    Or how about Exodus 22:20 which demands the death of all non-christians/jews. Again you're being ordered to execute me and a great deal of people. 85% of the world needs to be put to death according to you. Hmm what a loving god.

    There is no fourth premise. That was a logical following. It is logically consistent with the other 3 previous points. Which you seemingly do not challenge.

    He knows exactly what you are going to do. It is by definition from his omniscience. You MUST follow exactly what he knows you are going to do. Or it would violate omniscience. In that God didn't know what you were going to do. Which isn't possible if God is omniscient.

    No god doesn't literally hold an xbox-controller playing the most advanced Sims game there is. However God could come meet with me right now and I'd say. You write down on this piece of paper this 100 digit number that I'm going to write afterwards completely randomly. You have to write what I'm going to write.

    God writes down the 100 digit number. As per his omniscience he must know EXACTLY what I'm going to write. So no matter what I do. I cannot possibly write down anything other then that 100 digit number he has on the page. If I have absolutely no other option then that one. There is no free will. I am predestined to exactly what he wrote down before.
     
  16. Apr 2, 2008 #15
    The fallacy of ambiguity usually pervades in this subject. The argument from design refers only to some kind creative agency, about which nothing more specific may be knowable and nothing more can be said. The ontological argument refers only to something which is perfect, whatever that is, and that remains unanswered by the syllogism, and therefore it is another thing about which nothing more can be said. These arguments have nothing to do with the way more than 95 percent of the fluent speakers of our language use the word "God". The word is used by almost everyone to refer to a highly specific being who wants people to go to a certain place of devotion, on certain days, wearing certain clothes, and recite certain words, eat certain foods, and obey certain other rules. To use the same word for a very nonspecific idea and for a very specific idea is a serious mistake in reasoning. That is about as bad a case of ambiguity as the assertion, "A pen is a place for keeping animals, and a pen is also a writing instrument, therefore animals are kept in a writing instrument." This kind of ambiguity is often exploited intentionally. If I were a theologian engaging in a debate with a skeptic, I would sometimes find it strategically beneficial to propose to my adversary at least one minimal statement with which he or she is likely to agree, and so I abruptly discard my lifelong claims of a highly specific concept, and I suddenly adopt the most general concept of a little-understood agency. We observe this daily.
     
  17. Apr 2, 2008 #16
    To add a little to the ontological argument. The argument, which correctly stated says that 1) God is a perfect being. 2) A perfect being would have all desirable characteristics 3) Existence is a desirable characteristic 4)Anything which does exist is therefore more perfect than that which does not exist 5)Therefore God must exist, really only serves to redefine God. THis argument takes God from being omnipoten, omniscience, and omnipresent, and simply makes It into "the best thing in existence". Essentially the argument is saying anything that doesn't exist can't be God. Which seems somewhat self-evident.

    On the matter of rocks God can't lift or square-circle creation. I say God can do those things. God can do anything. Thats the definition of omnipotent. I see no reason why God should be bound by the constraints of logic. After all, given the generally held beliefs on It, God created logic. And of course a being which is not constrained by logic is a being which can only be believed in based either on faith or mystical experience.
     
  18. Apr 2, 2008 #17

    cristo

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    Actually, the Big Bang theory says that the universe was once much hotter and denser than it is today, and has expanded from such a state.

    There shouldn't be a reason to resurrect a two year old thread, let alone a two year old thread on religion!!
     
  19. Apr 2, 2008 #18
    That version of the ontological argument is circular. Here is a formal version.

    X = God
    Y = Perfect

    1. X = Y, where Y = {a(0), a(1),...,existence,....,a(n)}
    2. X \{existence} => X =/= Y.
    3. X = Y (from 1).
    4. X includes the element of existence (from 2 and 3 per modus tollens)

    See where it goes wrong? That's right. The argument already presupposes that existence is an element in X.
     
  20. Apr 2, 2008 #19
    Really the ontological argument is a statement of belief, and an explanation of belief. It contains no real "argument".
     
  21. Apr 2, 2008 #20
    Because the theists aren't actually capable of dealing with the most fundamental fact. You really cannot discuss God without first providing evidence for the premise of God actually existing.

    Except the universe can be explained without God or any creative agency as you say. E=mc^2 NOT e +(god)=mc^2

    The PERFECT island in the ocean. If it is perfect is must exist somewhere. So where?

    Except all these gods are highly highly contradictory to each other. So you really can't plop them together. So really each god is counteracted by a HUGE majority. No religion has ever held a very big majority in the world.

    It's true.

    So you consider the use of the word God is simply a giant equivocation. It's a fairly self-proven fact. However since the pope pushes or at least pope jean paul pushed ecumenism. Which has made many people also push the idea that all religions are just talking about the same God. Which is very ironic because polytheism isnt the same as monotheism.

    I have 3 requirements before I debate the topic of God usually. 1. We need to establish which god we are talking about and what that god's attributes are. If they are abrahamic it's straight forward. 2. Do they wish to kill me. The bible for example commands their believers to execute and murder non-believers far far far more significantly then any of the 10 commandments, such as thou shalt not steal. 3. Provide evidence God exists. We cannot discuss something without the first premise of the object existing.
     
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