Recently we saw an OP here with a video presenting a formulation of the Cosmological Argument for the existence of God that could withstand the obvious come-back “But what created God?”. However, was the argument presented in the video actually a sound and valid argument? Let’s break it down into its premises and conclusions and see what we get.
Premise 1 (P1): Anything that exists has an explanation of its existence, either in the necessity of its own nature or in an external explanation.
When used correctly this premise can be accepted as true. However, theists use this premise to just divide “all there is” into two categories: stuff requiring an external explanation (the natural world) and necessary stuff (God). They arrive at this unsubstantiated division by equivocation and begging the question, as we will see here as well.
Premise 2 (P2): The universe has an explanation for its existence, and that explanation is grounded in a necessary being.
The first part might be true if we narrowly define “the universe” to be the 3+1D universe which we observe on a macro level. However, “the universe” in this context is defined as “the whole of the natural world”. The whole of the natural world does not necessarily have an external explanation for its existence at all. In string theory and quantum physics the fundamental reality from which our macro-level 3+1D universe emerges is timeless and does not require an external explanation; it is necessary of its own nature. But even in a narrow definition of “the universe” it could very well be necessary of its own nature, since no one knows how the very hot and dense state from which our 3+1D universe expanded came to be.
The second part of P2 is the most egregious example of begging the question ever. Without any substantiation a “necessary being” is introduced in this premise; the very same “necessary being” the argument aims to prove to exist. If we remove the fluff the argument now boils down to: “the universe is explained by a necessary being, ergo a necessary being (= my God) exists”.
Premise 3 (P3): The universe exists.
Well, yes, duh.
Premise 4 (P4): Therefore, the universe has an explanation of its existence (from P1, P3).
This is actually not a premise, it is a conclusion. This conclusion in and of itself may be correct, however the explanation for the existence of the universe (the whole of the natural world) can still very well be the necessity of its own nature, and not an external one.
Premise 5 (P5): Therefore, the explanation of the existence of the universe is grounded in a necessary being (from P2, P4).
This is not a premise either, and this conclusion only follows “logically” from the two totally flawed premises presented in P2, not from the conclusion presented as P4. Congratulations: You sneaked in the existence of God in P2 and lo and behold: the conclusion is that God exists! Wow. Just wow.
- Do you agree that this formulation of the Cosmological Argument is a fallacious trainwreck?
- If not, why not?
- Do you know any formulations of the Cosmological Argument that are better
at hiding their logical fallacies by adding more convoluted fluff?