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The Cosmological Argument for The Existence of God
The argument takes the logical form of a syllogism with two given conditions leading to an apparent prove for god's existence. The givens are:
1. Only god could bring something not in existence into existence
2. The universe is in existence
Therefore; God exists.
I'd like to first point out that even if you grant it as logically sound,as far as proofs go, this one only gets you as far as Deism and not to any specific Theism. Deism is the metaphysical stance that the Universe, matter and energy, and the laws of Physics that govern them were initiated by a first cause or, "prime-mover."
If you remain only within the purview of Deism then this god by definition does not intervene in human affairs, answer prayers, or take any interest in the Universe he created. This was the position of many of the most educated minds prior to Darwin, individuals such as Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine, John Locke, and Immanuel Kant. Before the theory of natural selection was understood, the apparent design within the flora and fauna of nature made this a very reasonable belief.
Theism on the other hand is any religion in which a revelation has been made. The revelation entails doctrines, usually calls for human propitiation, and entails the potential for a personal relationship with god. This of course covers all three Abrahamic religions, Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and most extinct mythologies.
So this argument is purported to get you as far as Deism in that it is meant to prove that some force purposefully willed the universe into existence. But even given that, it makes no claims as to the attributes of that prime intellect nor any claims regarding it's intentions. It is my contention that it doesn't even get you that far.
Objections to The Cosmological Argument
When Theists employ the Cosmological argument they have not proven that their particular brand of theism is any more likely than any other. The two frequent conclusions drawn from the argument with which I want to contend are;
1. Something cannot come from nothing &
2. The Universe is fine-tuned for life
Let's look at each of these claims in light of the most recent Theoretical Physics and Cosmology.
Firstly, the assumption that, "from nothing, nothing comes," is based on the scale in which we interact with the world and the size paradigm in which our brains evolved. We survived by abiding by the imperatives of finding food, shelter, and mates on the plains of Africa. And indeed, on the scale to which our eyes are attuned we do not ever observe something arising from nothing. However at the microscopic levels different rules begin to emerge and our common sense assumptions about the movement of solid objects must change to the very different rules that govern particle movement. We are discovering that these common sense notions do not apply to the infinitesimally small quantum scale. All experimentation involving the detection of energy and the fecundity of particles at this scale show us that indeed electrons and other particles are not only able to simply pop into existence but frequently do so.
.As for the Universe being fine tuned; In the last twenty years we have discovered that 99% of the matter and energy in the universe is dark matter and energy. What we are left with in which life as we know it might have any chance for survival is the other 1%. Of this 1% we know that a vast majority of it is too hot, too cold, or lacking in the sufficient elements to create long carbon chains that are necessary for the assembly of life.
None of this precludes the existence of some type of, "life," that we don't yet understand and perhaps might not even recognize but I'm only arguing for the inhospitability of the Universe for life as we know it. There probably is life somewhat akin to ours in other remote corners of the Universe, but this still does not suggest fine tuning for two reason. The first is reason is proximal in regards to just how few and small these, "Goldilocks," zones are. The second is temporal in that our particular zone has only been inhabitable by anything more than bacteria for a split second of cosmic time and will be inhabitable for any kind of life as soon as our star, the sun, shrinks then explodes as happens to a star somewhere in the Universe every second.
And so the fact that we find ourselves existing in an area where we can exist in a time period in which we can exist should not be surprising. What would be surprising would be to find ourselves living in a Universe where we can't exist. The inherent argument is an utter tautology and can't be regarded as cosmic fine-tuning. It's akin to saying that a puddle of water is fine-tuned to fill the pothole that it occupies. There was no planning involved and yet the water gives the illusion of having been finely molded and honed to fit a very specific and irregular space.