What is the Cosmological Argument?

The video below, part of The Atheist Voice series, answers the question: What is the Cosmological Argument?

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the project — more videos will be posted soon — and we’d also appreciate your suggestions as to which questions we ought to tackle next!

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • Denis Robert

    The most important objections to the Cosmological “argument” are as follows:

    1. Depending on how you define Universe, it may or may not have a beginning at all.

    2. The argument depends entirely on the premise that EVERYTHING is either eternal, or has a cause. When the universal quantifier is used in logic, it makes the argument fail if a single counter example can be found. And in this case, the single counter example is quite clear: the very technology we are using to communicate right now depends entirely on the fact that quantum events are NOT caused in any way. At most, quantum events are constrained (in that they have a probability distribution), which is not the same thing as saying they are caused at all.

    In the end, 20th century science has defeated the cosmological argument, and it’s high time that apologists stop making fools of themselves by repeating an argument which is no more valid than that about the number of angels that could fit on a pinhead.

    • http://fractalheretic.blogspot.com/ Fractal Heretic

      I can understand why, without an education in astrophysics, people would think everything has a cause. I mean, I’ve never seen anything that didn’t have a cause, so it seems like a reasonable inference based on what we observe day-to-day. What I don’t understand is how they get from “Something caused the universe” to “God caused the universe.”

      • Jasper

        I think the cosmological arguments are second only to Pascal’s Wager in terms of the wide variety of different ways it falls apart upon inspection.

        … and yet those two are two of the most common arguments… for some reason.

      • primenumbers

        Their use of the word “cause” is very slippery though. The presenter of the argument will use it in a very “common day” sense, but in conjunction with events that are far from common day, such as universal creation. Every day causes occur in time and space, with cause preceding effect. Universal creation, if indeed there is one, neither occurred in time nor space, and hence it’s not the “cause” we’re talking about. They also equivocate on “exists”, whereas everyday things exist physically in time and space, yet their God is not-physical, and doesn’t exist in time and space, yet the same word in the argument is used for both this real existence we know about and this completely opposite definition.

        • Kiwi_Dave

          I used to be quite tangled up by cosmological arguments until the problems you identify here and others led me to realise one day that the cosmological argument works only if you accept three somewhat contradictory assumptions:

          1) we can reliably extrapolate from evidence within the universe to knowledge before/outside the universe;
          2) we can then believe conclusions about before/outside the universe which quite contradict our experience within the universe;
          3) we may safely ignore any evidence within the universe which contradicts the desired theistic conclusion.

          • primenumbers

            Yup, you’re right with all those problems. In science when we have a theory that predicts a particle exists (say), the next thing we do is prove out the theory by finding the particle. Apologists have a theory that predicts God exists, so the next thing they do is worship God without bothering to find God first. The only reason they’re using an argument to demonstrate God is because they can’t find God. If they and everyone else could find God, there’d be no arguments presented, cosmological or otherwise.

    • C Peterson

      When I teach science, I call this the Billiard Ball Fallacy. We live in this particular regime of the Universe in terms of size and time where things seem so causal. We watch the balls on a billiard table, and everything moves just as our intuition dictates. The fallacy lies is in assuming that the Universe cares in the slightest about our intuition. With general relativity and quantum mechanics, we know beyond doubt that our natural intuition, based on how we observe things around us, cannot be trusted.

      As you say, there is no reason to assume that an effect requires a cause. There is no reason to assume that “before” means anything if time doesn’t exist. Many of the fundamental “why” questions involving the Universe are probably far beyond any intuitive concepts we have (intuition which formed the way it did to keep us from falling out of trees, not understanding cosmology). Yet most people insist on hobbling their thinking by refusing to consider just how broad the real possibilities are. “God” is about as narrow, constrained, and unimaginative an hypothesis as I can think of.

      • Denis Robert

        Amen, brother! I do think that lack of imagination is the best explanation we have for the existence of theism.

    • UWIR

      “the very technology we are using to communicate right now depends entirely on the fact that quantum events are NOT caused in any way.”

      That’s nonsense. There are interpretations of quantum mechanics that are deterministic, and our technology doesn’t “depend” on it being non-deterministic.

  • Jasper

    The Cosmological Arguments are like Geocentrist Flat-Earthers trying to plot a trip to Mars on a Hot Air baloon… they’re making assumptions about how the universe works based on our limited day-to-day “common sense” understanding of reality.

    In reality, Science keeps showing us that our common sense is wrong.

    • Jasper

      I think my point is that, whatever naturalistic explanation may be for the existence of the universe, whatever it is will probably blow our minds – it’ll be something we’d never have considered or imagined was possible.

      Even Quantum Physics, that we’re actually actively researching, blows peoples’ minds… and that’s something we already know about.

      … but this hypersimplistic mind set of “everything that begins to exist has a cause” is like arguing that you can walk to Mars because, clearly, when we look around us, the whole world is flat.

  • Jeff

    Quit with the videos. My complaint is not with just this blog, (I’m a very big fan of this place), but why is it every place on the internet somehow thinks we all want to receive information visually? We don’t. I would rather read information that watch it. It’s the difference between reading a book and having it read to you. If I have to see a picture to get the explanation, or to see that someone actually said something stupid, maybe it makes sense. But if it doesn’t require a picture, stop with the picture.

    And I admit I’m older than the Internet (though I started working with it when it was Darpanet). So maybe it is a generational thing. But damn it is annoying. It’s as bad as listening to a politician speak, then the talking head news folks follow with telling you what they said.

    This message brought to you by a curmudgeonly old guy.

    • M. Elaine

      Hemant, please don’t quit with the videos. Jeff, please quit watching Hemant’s videos if you don’t like them.

      • QuestioningKat

        Yes, Hemant has amazingly good teeth. It’s a step up from all those Brit atheists.

      • Jeff

        I have no problem if you like the videos. Totally ok with it. But if that is the ONLY source of the information, not watching means not getting the information. I’ll go without.

    • Jasper

      Arguably, the YouTube videos have a broader reach than the blog itself. Some people are also more receptive to that then text (is it a shock that many theists may not be all that into reading?)

    • Thackerie

      I’m with you on this one — I’d rather read than watch, too. I guess I’m a curmudgeonly old gal.

    • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw/ m6wg4bxw

      This should be an easy solution because every person on this planet shares the same preferences you’ve expressed. Seriously though, I won’t give you the standard prick response of, “then don’t watch them.” But…

      Depending on how you view the site, these posts can be easy to recognize. Since most of the content is contained in the video, the amount of text in the post is significantly reduced. This means the embedded video appears at or near the top of the post, and thus can often be seen in the truncated list of posts on the main page.

      If you view the site this way, all you need to do is learn to recognize these posts, and then skip them. In other words, if you don’t like them, “then don’t watch them.”

      • Jeff

        Excuse me, I didn’t imply my solution should fit everyone. But you are not correct, on the blog, I go to it, there is a video, no other comments, no text, etc. So, I do like you said, I don’t watch them. But from the other posts, I’m obviously not alone, so lots of folks don’t watch then. So I won’t give the standard prick respones of “Your argument implies I have to accept your preference.”

        • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw/ m6wg4bxw

          My opening “easy solution” remark was meant to be light-hearted, which is why I followed it with, “seriously though.” But that was all in my head. Reading it now, it seems quite sarcastic. For this, I apologize.

          The rest was hopeful instruction, based upon my own experience viewing the site. I knew it might not apply to you, but I wanted to, at least, try to be helpful.

    • 3lemenope

      I’d say I don’t mind that there are videos but I’m not usually in a position where I can actually watch them when I’m posting (at work, or whatever), so I miss out.

      Transcripts would be awesome but that’s a helluva lot of work.

      • raerants

        I certainly would not complain about the existence of the videos per se, but given how some people have slow computers and/or slow internet — or are deaf! — I heartily second the proposal that there be transcripts.

        • GeneralSynopsis

          Well, if you have hearing problems you can turn the captions/subtitles on.

          Also, since Hemant almost certainly has a script I doubt a transcript would be “a helluva lot of work”, just a bit of work.

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

            There’s no script. The questions are asked and I just start talking. (Though I tend to know the questions in advance.) That’s why we can’t always get the transcripts up. It really would take some work.

    • ginalex

      If you want to get info from reading, great. Please don’t speak for me by saying “We don’t”. Some people are visual. In fact it’s quite common. I work with a lot of autistic students and many of them, I’d hesitate to say that just about all of them are visual learners. I’ve always had a photographic memory and if you present it visually, I will remember it but if you just say it, I won’t. The point is, you shouldn’t assume that everyone is like you. The best articles or posts online should have the video and the printed text below it. Thank You.

      • Heidi McClure

        He was saying “we don’t” as in “we don’t all.” Thus: Why do they think we all ____? We don’t.

        I’m very visual, but I have ADD. And for brief information dumps, I read faster than I listen.

      • Jeff

        I apologize, again, no /sarcasm font, but I don’t speak for anyone buy me…and from the responses, a few others.

    • corps_suk

      I am a young guy, and I don’t want the videos either. There is something about reading it or at least being given a transcript so I can read it.

      I usually skip his posts with only videos, nothing against him personally, I am just not a fan of streaming 1 minute videos I could read in a paragraph.

    • GubbaBumpkin

      I’m a middle-aged guy, and I peruse the blog while at work. That means if other people are around, I won’t click the videos, and would prefer to read instead.

    • skeptical_inquirer

      I prefer reading because it’s usually a lot faster for me. I wish blog entries had both options. It’s one of my peeves with Yahoo since their videos often take forever to get to the point.

      • Jeff

        And Yahoo videos are frequently preceded with an advertisement

  • 3lemenope

    I would divide the cosmological argument, which is actually a family of arguments, into two groups. There are “old-school” cosmological arguments, which rely upon a concept of causality that is essentially temporal, a sequence of causes that occur over the passage of time. These are flat-out terrible arguments, most of which were definitively destroyed by an 11th century Muslim philosopher by the name of al-Ghazali who pointed out that there is no logical reason to expect sequential causal chains to terminate on either end; our expectation in this area is entirely driven by experiential induction and intuition, which while important are not exactly sources of logical validity.

    Then there are the “new-school” cosmological arguments, most famously WLC’s version, that treat the concept of causality quite a bit differently. The big difference is cause is no longer defined as the sequentially prior event, but rather as the enabling condition. For example, an atom is caused, in this conception, by the force- and mass-carrying particles out of which it is composed and the laws of physics that regulate their interaction. Larger physical objects are caused by atoms, and so forth. There can be any finite number of simultaneous causes for any given entity, those things without which it could not be. These are called hierarchical causes.

    This, it turns out, is a much better argument.

    Where they go off the rails completely is only in the latter parts, where Christians (including, laughably, WLC) think that the result of this argument–hierarchical causal chains always terminate, so the one that describes the universe does too–describes their God, when in fact the final step of the argument doesn’t resolve the nature of the primary hierarchical cause at all. The “ground of all being” could just as easily be “Spacetime the Operating System” as “the Alpha and the Omega”; no object-hood, let alone person-hood, let alone consciousness is at all implied to be features of the referent of the most basic hierarchical cause.

    • primenumbers

      Where they really go off the rails, is that they think arguments prove existence, when in fact existence is something demonstrated.

      • 3lemenope

        Right. All they’ve really proved (if we take the “New hotness” version of the Cosmo at face value) is that there is a–I guess you could call it a “reference container”, i.e. a “to be referred to as a first cause”–at the beginning of the hierarchical causal chain. The argument doesn’t say anything about what, if anything, fills the container, only that it is not empty; it must contain a referent.

        • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

          I like to entertain ideas that the hierarchical causal chain somehow folds back onto itself to form a closed cycle without there needing to be some extra something “outside”.

    • Rationalist1

      The other thing that especially Catholics do is play around with cause in a way science and philosophers don’t. You often get them switching between the various Aristotelean causes and assume they are accepted (material, formal, efficient and final). Pin them down to what cause they mean and get them to stick to it.

      • 3lemenope

        True. They tend to be dirty equivocators, or even more commonly, simply don’t keep the definitions of such tightly segregated in their own minds, so when they employ the concepts they come out very muddled and unusable.

        I tend to think the people employing it being poorly informed as to its intricacies more than anything else is why the Cosmological Argument (the best of the three classic arguments, for whatever that’s worth) isn’t treated on its own terms; that is, people argue lazily against poor presentations of the Cosmo rather than the Cosmo itself in its best possible restatement.

        • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw/ m6wg4bxw

          My comment can only diminish the quality of this thread, but I must know: Have you ever called any of them a “dirty equivocator?” I hope I get the opportunity to use that sometime.

          • 3lemenope

            Can’t say I have. It shouldn’t just lay around unused, though, so have at it! :)

      • UWIR

        There’s also the issue of whether we’re talking about sufficient or necessary causes. If we’re talking about sufficient causes (and 3lemenope’s discussion clearly is), then this is aiming at proving a sufficient-cause-God. That is, a God that made the universe possible. But that leaves the question of what made the universe actually exist, rather than possibly exist, unresolved, and the Christian conception of God is a being that made the universe actually exist, not just possibly exist.

    • GCBill

      This is a *really* good explanation. I wish the video said something more along these lines. Sorry Hemant, you’ve been one-upped!

      • 3lemenope

        Thanks, GCBill!

  • Camorris

    I am interested in Christians’ beliefs about heaven. I don’t hear much about the concept other than making it to and then through the “Pearly Gates”. What do Christians expect to be doing on Heavenly Day #1 – day #X? Will they get to see God? Will they be required to muster for periodic worship sessions? Will they become Angles? Will they be reunited with deceased spouses, and if so with all of them or the most recently deceased or the first spouse?

    Lots and lots of questions concerning Heaven. I wonder in Christians think seriously about the belief?

    • Sohan

      Angles? I hope not. I always thought we’d turn into Jutes. ;-)

      • GubbaBumpkin

        Don’t be obtuse.

      • FaithIsGlorifiedDelusion

        No you heathen it’s Saxons!

    • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw/ m6wg4bxw

      My money is on them becoming angles… very obtuse angles.

      I also wonder about such things. And please pardon me for having fun with your typo.

      • Camorris

        You are forgiven. Thanks for the amusing correction.

      • trj

        Only straight angles are allowed.

        • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw/ m6wg4bxw

          Nicely done. The only right angle is a straight angle.

          • randomfactor

            Everything else is 180 degrees opposed from a straight angle.

    • observer

      Ironically, I’ve gotten better descriptions of Hell then Heaven.

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke, TOWAN

      this was a major blow to my potential in belief. “Diary in Heaven: Day 1,495,768,697,883. Same deal, different eternal number. Saw Jeebus again this morning, wow is he boring. He did the water into wine trick, again. Like no one has seen that one before, snore. God’s Throne room was really boring today, i mean really. How many times can that closet case twink of a choir director do the milkshake while giving praise? whatever. and those nuns. i swear, they invented stupid gossip. i really wish we had a shuttle to Hell, at least just on weekends. i am So Bored here.”

      • Camorris

        I recently had a cordial visit from a father and daughter JW team trying to convince me their version of Christianity is the one true faith. They didn’t succeed.
        Their version of heaven seems like hell to me. I am a retired 67 year old senior, and I don’t relish the thought of being reconstituted into an earlier version of myself and having to go back to work for eternity. Maybe I misunderstood them.

      • rhodent

        I think Evelyn Waugh summed it up quite well when he wrote that “every creed promises a paradise which will be absolutely uninhabitable for anyone of civilized taste.”

  • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw/ m6wg4bxw

    Anyone else notice that religious apologetic arguments are ostensibly articles of faith, like everything else they believe? I think this is why so many of them persist with their bad arguments long after their problems have been revealed.

  • Mick

    At the 1’20″ mark when the Christian hears you say the cosmological argument is a cop out which encourages them to stop questioning and stop thinking, they will say, “Well duh! That’s what it’s supposed to do.”

  • C Peterson

    Hey! I’m an astronomer, and I use “cosmological” all the time. All five syllables of it! Are you seriously going to view my ideas skeptically because of that? :)

    Damn astrologers co-opted what should have been the proper term for my science, and now the philosophers are trying to claim “cosmological”.

    • islandbrewer

      Well, obviously your problem is that you don’t study a real science. Like Ken Ham said, real science is where you can do experiments in a lab. With a white coat. Do you have a white coat? I bet you don’t.

      • C Peterson

        You’re right, I don’t have a white coat. But I do have a banana! Shouldn’t that be good enough for folks like Ham?

        • GubbaBumpkin

          You’re thinking of Ray Comfort, the banana man. Ken Ham is the Jesus riding a dinosaur guy.
          I know someone who has a tie-dyed lab coat.

          • C Peterson

            No, I was actually thinking of guys like Ham, which includes Comfort. They’re cut from the same cloth. And it ain’t a lab coat!

            • C.L. Honeycutt

              I suppose that bathroom paper is technically a cloth.

            • SeniorSkeptik

              Is it a straight jacket they are wearing?

    • GubbaBumpkin

      You’re easily upsettable. Are you a Taurus?

      • 3lemenope

        No, it’s obvious he’s a Capricorn. Capricorns don’t believe in astrology.

    • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw/ m6wg4bxw

      This reminds me of hearing about how “Venereal” was tainted by its adoption to describe sexually transmitted diseases.

  • Ryan Fox

    I say there was a great condensation of matter from a universe of nothing but energy. Energy is eternal. It cannot be created nor destroyed. The universe could have existed infinitely prior as just waves of pure energy. Most people can even grasp energy without it interacting with matter.

    • Camorris

      I share the idea you express here. I think matter is condensed pure energy, and what seems like the “big bang” was actually the big condensation that kept radiating out from the original point of disturbance. I think this could help explain gravity.

  • midnight rambler

    What is the Cosmological Argument?

    It’s a vehicle for sophists to practice their trade by taking a fundamentally very silly argument, making it highly convoluted, and playing “hide the logical fallacy”. That’s all.

  • 3lemenope

    What is the Cosmological Argument?

    An argument that consists of three parts vodka, two parts triple sec, a dash of cranberry, a splash of lime, shaken with a twist of modal categories.

  • Bdole

    Shouldn’t it be more accurately called the “cosmogenical” argument?
    ….
    cosmogenital (tee-hee)
    ….

  • randomfactor

    The Cosmo Argument (saves me three syl’bles) is an attempt to use REALLY FANCY-LOOKING shells in playing the old shell game. Like Global Thermonuclear War, the only winning move is not to play. Or to upset the entire table in mid-shuffle.

  • Bdole

    On a more serious note: I think the cosmological argument was misstated in the vid. It’s “everything that has a beginning has to have a cause.” Since we can trace the beginning of the universe 14.5bya to the Big Bang, we know it has a beginning. But, god is supposed to not have a beginning, ergo…my imaginary being beats your universe.

    • randomfactor

      Which is why they added that particular coat of shiny to the shells they use in the con. The universe doesn’t have a beginning either, because the Big Bang doesn’t count. Why not? Same reason as god.

  • Theory_of_I

    A cosmological conundrum-

    According to Christian theologians and apologists, notably Anselm and Aquinas
    among others, “God is a being greater than which no being can be conceived
    (even by God)”, i.e.; God’s perfection is so absolute that there can be nothing
    more perfect.

    Borrowing from the Jainist philosophical concepts of Acharya Jinasena, 9th century CE:
    “If God is ever perfect and complete, how could the will to create have arisen in him?”

    In the case of a perfect god, perfection must be defined as the unqualified, absolute perfect state, i.e.: one that cannot be modified in any way; thus something is either perfect or not perfect, and can never be more perfect or less perfect.

    Because the attributes of absence, anticipation, need and desire and the act of creating anything are necessarily non-existent in an absolutely complete, perfect state of being, a perfect god can lack nothing whatsoever. Therefore the need or desire to create anything cannot emerge from within that already perfect state–it is a self-evident contradiction in terms.

    By definition An eternal, infinitely perfect god pre-exists everything.
    Only a non-material god could pre-exist the material universe.
    A perfect non-material god could not need nor desire to create a material universe.

    A material universe exists, which causes an ineluctable conflict–since a
    material universe does exist, it can only be completely independent of a
    perfect god, making the imagined existence of such a god irrelevant.

    A perfect god must be complete, unique, infinite and eternal, solely constituting all that is within itself.
    It is self-evident that if a god lacks anything it is then definitively imperfect.
    Therefore a perfect god can neither lack nor desire love, worship, devotion, or obeisance.

    Theistic claims to the contrary are indefensible. By what authority would any apologetic modification, manipulation or re-definition of a perfect god’s attributes be acceptable?

    • Without Malice

      “If God is perfect and complete, how could the will to create have arisen in him?” The question assumes two things: that God is perfect and complete, and that the will to create arose in him at some time. Both of these assumptions are as full of holes as the cosmological argument itself. The first assumption, that God is perfect and compete holds no meaning except for the various different meanings that we may give it, and to say that being perfect and complete means that there would never be a reason for God to create is just another assumption backing up the first. It could be that God is perfect and complete and that all of creations – so called – is part of his perfection and completion and that it has always existed as part of God. The second assumption assumes that God existed for a certain amount of time before he got the idea to create something – in this case the universe or multiverse or whatever the true nature of reality is – when it can be just as easily assumed that there has never been a time when God has not been creating, and, indeed, that the very idea of time does not even apply to God. The existence or non-existence of a being that might be called God can neither be proved nor disproved, but to me such a being – if he exists – must remain an ineffable and non-conceptualizable being about which no definitive statements can be made.

      • Theory_of_I

        >”The first assumption, that God is perfect and compete holds no meaning except for the various different meanings that we may give it”

        Granted *if* you intend to play the semantic chicanery game so those terms only mean what you wish them to mean. It’s the game theists have always played because they have nothing else.

        The question is, by what authority do you decide what a perfect god’s attributes ought to be?

        If the authority is you, then your god is indeed irrelevant.

        • Without Malice

          “The question is, by what authority do you decide what a perfect god’s attributes ought to be?”
          Perhaps you should read my post again, you seem to have missed the point; which is that neither I, nor you, nor anyone else can possible make definitive statements about God. Both theist and atheist set forth propositions concerning the existence of God that cannot be proven. I set forth the proposition no one has any idea that has been formed by the existence of facts, or propositions that have been shown to be true, about any of the attributes that such a being as God must have, and that, therefore, all arguments about such a being’s existence are meaningless.
          “The question is, by what authority do you decide what a perfect god’s attributes ought to be?”
          Since my argument is that no one can possible know what the attributes of a perfect God may be, you’re question is illogical.

          • Theory_of_I

            Well, ok – if you get to set the terms to make a god being ineffable – but what to do about the bazillions of other claimed or unclaimed but potential ineffables? We can’t put any of them in a definition box, but can’t disclaim their existence either. Unless you claim there is but one TRUE(tm) ineffable, that’s a pointless excursion to nowhere.

            However that may be, based on your comment in a previous thread when you said: “Geesh, Gods are such thin-skinned beings. I can’t think of anyone’s version of God that does not deserve to be ridiculed.”, it seems whether the god concept is perfectly irrelevant or merely ridiculous, we have no real disagreement here.

  • Peter Packiam

    Well Stated…Hemant………Cheers

  • ufo42

    God was created by a magical turtle’s fart. That turtle by another turtle’s…. etc… all the way down! :)

  • Gregory Stacey

    Dear Hemant (if perchance you’re reading this)- I often read your blog and listen to your videos. I’m a Catholic, so obviously I disagree with quite a bit of what you say, but I think that oftentimes your videos give reasonable and factual answers to questions people might have about atheism- your video on the topic of whether atheists hate God, for example, seemed to lay out the position of many atheists well. So I think your blog can serve a useful purpose.

    However, I must say that I felt somewhat embarrassed for you in this video. Firstly, talking of “the” Cosmological argument is unhelpful, since there are many versions of the argument, which rely on different premises and yield different conclusions (a typical analysis suggests at least 3 main groups of argument, not including modal versions). Because of this, your video doesn’t answer the question very helpfully.

    Secondly, virtually all cosmological arguments attempt (or more strongly, are at least able to) to maintain that God is not in need of causation whilst consistently urging that universe or some phenomenon within it does. Hence, e.g., “Kalam” arguments have as their first premise “everything which begins to exist has a cause”, en route to suggesting a timeless or eternal cause of the universe (and that God is timeless or eternal is clearly Biblical e.g. Psalm 90.2, Isaiah 57.15), and “Leibnizian” arguments aim to demonstrate from contingent beings (which allegedly require causes) the existence of a necessary being, which at least would not require a cause to explain its existence.

    Finally, let me suggest that you read someone other than Richard Dawkins on this subject (i.e. anyone who has ever studied philosophy at an academic institution!). There are plenty of cogent commentaries by atheists on such arguments- perhaps survey J.L. Mackie’s succinct discussion in “The Miracle of Theism” or an introductory article by W. Rowe or another philosopher in a standard philosophy of religion handbook. Personally, I wouldn’t bother with Bertrand Russell, though. Hey, maybe you could even read a theist’s take on the arguments, like Swinburne or Craig. But if you haven’t got time to do that (or are just not interested in philosophy?), please don’t bother putting up videos on subject you are apparently ill-informed about, since a simple “google” search would uncover more helpful information for all your readers. Best Wishes, etc. Gregory Stacey

    • Guest1412

      “everything which begins to exist has a cause”

      …such as?

      • Jasper

        well, apparently not virtual particle and radioactive decay.

        • Gregory Stacey

          Firstly, calling Craig names does nothing to counter the points above (which didn’t even defend a version of the argument!). Secondly, manifestly lots of things begin to exist and have causes, such as cars, cows and internet comments. Finally, no, those are just cases of indeterministic causation. Few modern cosmological, argument rest on really strong versions of the PSR which would thereby be falsified. But even if I’m wrong, this was still a poor video. If you commented on this, I hope you take notice of your own arch-defensiveness. Perhaps you’re worried the arguments might have something to them…

    • baal

      Craig is a mendacious bastard. CF. youtube’s theoretoricalBS for more on him.

  • Ken

    Why is this in video form?


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