The Nature of Reality, Newcomb’s Cosmological Argument
A Cosmological Argument
The question that is often asked is, “Can you Prove God Exists?”
The short answer is, Yes.
One your journey to understanding reality and setting or changing your worldview, you need to deal with the idea of there being a superior being.
Just for you that are not Christians, here I will not argue for Christianity here, only for the necessity of there being a God, and there being one God, and so this will work for Muslims, Jews, and Christians.
This is a cosmological argument, which simply means it deals with the difficulty that something exists, and seeks to answer why this is so. Why is it that something exists as opposed to nothing existing? You could use the word existential or ontological, we will stick to the convention.
A Bit of Logic
First you need to understand the nature of logic. Logic is a method of determining truth, and as is true with many things, there are both strong and weak ways of doing this.
Now, here is the horse pill: Science deals in inductive logic. Inductive logic is a weak way to argue. Why? Because you induce and answer, you cause the answer, or come to the conclusion but this means you overlay your worldview, or normative postulates into the thinking. One false test and any scientific theory is (supposed to be) falsified. This is a tenant of science, that a theory, specifically because it is arrived at by induction is subject to falsification.
Deduction operates under a much different set of rules. It is the only manner we have to come to a conclusion that must be true, that is it cannot be false if the rules are followed. In general, that the major premise be true, that the minor premise fits within the major premise, and that the conclusion follows from the major and minor premises. There are rules to building arguments that falsify one of the three basic points that I have stated, the structure must be correct, as stated, and the premises true, and so forth.
So I will use a deductive argument and to date no one has pointed out any kind of error in this argument.
The Structure of My Argument
My argument is a series of either-or arguments with the long form containing parenthetical arguments supporting the alternative option (“or”) then concluding each. It then compiles these conclusions. This is a stack of arguments, or sorites syllogism of somewhat unique character. It pushes you one step at a time to a conclusion.
In each case I will make an either-or argument and in all but one of these, it is either one way or the other, and there is no middle ground. You are forced to accept on. In the case where there are three alternatives and middle argument is really there to be complete. Lastly, the last statement is the true statement, so the first (or first and second) is always the false statement, which is done for smoothness of the argument flow.
To depose this argument it is truly bad thinking to simply ignore it or say, as one professor did, the equivalent of “I don’t like it,” or deny it by an absurd statement such as “you can’t prove God exists, which is obviously false, that is exactly what I do here. Logic doesn’t care if you like it or not. It is either true or it is false. If it is true and you are honest, then you are forced by honesty to accept it. If you will not be honest, then no one should listen to you, because you are dishonest.
If it is false, then disprove one of the points.
No one has been able to do that yet, but many simply deny the points, that is, break from reality and pretend the statement isn’t true.
I can’t help you if you are willing to jump into mysticism.
If it is true, then you are compelled by logic to accept the conclusion under the pain of dishonesty.
There are both long and short forms of this and I will extend the long form with a little more explanation.
Lastly, since this argument builds one step at a time I have created illustrations that do the same just so you can follow step by step.
The Long Form
So here is the long form, and, as you see, I start with a graphic and then present the point. The long form contains arguments for each point, as you will shortly see.
Argument 1: Either Nothing Exists or Something Exists
Either nothing exists or something exists. While wrestling with this idea of nothing existing, Descartes concluded, “Cogito ergo sum,” or, “I think, therefore I exist.” He realized that if nothing existed, he could not think about it. It is self-evident that something exists. Ergo, something exists.
Argument 2: Either it had a Beginning or it did not
If something exists, then, either it had no beginning (ergo, a necessary thing) or it had a beginning (ergo, contingent thing). However, all physical things are contingent, that is, their non-being is possible, actually highly probable, and there was a time when things existing now did not exist. Having no beginning also contradicts the 2nd law of thermodynamics, for something to run down, there must be something to organize the matter in the first place so it can run down. Most religions, science, and philosophy all support that the physical universe had a beginning of some type, the argument shifted seven decades ago from the constant state model, which even Einstein gave up, to the universe having some kind of beginning. It is reasonable (logical/rational) to conclude the universe had a beginning. Therefore it is irrational to believe otherwise. It is illogical to believe the universe had no beginning. The laws of science demand this also.
Argument 3: Either it was self-caused, or it was Uncaused, or it was Caused by an Agent outside of itself
If the universe had a beginning, then, either it was self caused (but to create something, the causative agent must first exist, and, it cannot both exist and not exist at the same time, ergo it cannot create itself, so this is irrational and rejected), or it was uncaused (Cause and effect: all contingent things have a cause, the universe is continent, ergo it had a cause, this argument is rejected), or it was created by an agent. The only logical possibility is that the universe was created by some kind of an agent.
Argument 4: Either This Agent was A Natural Agent, or a Supernatural Agent.
If the universe was created by an agent, then, either that agent was either a natural agent (but we have dealt with tis idea above, as above, nature would have to exist in order to create something, ergo this is not a logical possibility, this argument is irrational), or it was a super-natural creation (the law of first causes insists on this, that is, ex nihilo nihil fit (From nothing, nothing comes) or, nihil fit ex nihilo (Nothing comes from nothing), either way, as Oscar Hammerstein wrote: “nothing comes from nothing, nothing ever could.” Things that create always create other things, not themselves, ergo is always an outside agent for every contingent thing. The agent which created nature must be outside of nature, the very meaning of “super” natural. Therefore, the creation of the universe was necessarily caused by a super-natural agent. That is, an agent outside of itself. We have no examples that suggest otherwise, only unproved theories.
Argument 5: This Supernatural Agent was Either Intelligent or Unintelligent
If the creation of the universe was the creation of a supernatural agent, then, either that agent was an unintelligent agent or it was an intelligent agent. However, every experience of man in ordered systems shows highly ordered systems such as the universe are ordered by a being no less intelligent that what the being ordered, the very basis of intelligence theory itself, and there are no known exemptions to this, that is, no cases where a highly ordered system was made by a being of less intelligence than that which was ordered: Teleological arguments demand a designer, we cannot explain our concepts of beauty without an intelligent agent, and so forth. Intelligence itself requires that the creator be intelligent. Order requires an intelligent agent. The higher the order, the more intelligent the agent. We worked on a component for the F/A-18, which took more intelligence than my kids toy wagon. That is the nature of reality as it related to intelligence theory.
Argument 6: This Agent was Either Personal or Impersonal
If the creation of the universe was caused by an intelligent agent, then, either the agent was impersonal or a personal agent. The law of first causes or teleological arguments require a cause for personality, that is personality does not simply spontaneously arise from chemical interactions. A personal agent best describes reality and all we know from science. Personality of contingent beings requires the creator be an intelligent personality.
Reason demands that something exists; the universe had a beginning; that beginning was caused by an agent; that agent was super-natural, intelligent, and personal. This intelligent, personal, supernatural creator is what we call “God.”
Ergo, God necessarily exists.
The Short Form
A short form can be written thusly:
1) Either nothing exists or something exists.
2) If something exists, then, either it had no beginning, or it had a beginning.
3) If it had a beginning, then, either it was self caused, or it was uncaused, or it was created by an agent.
4) If it was created, then, either it was a natural creation, or it was a super-natural creation.
5) If it was a supernatural creation, then, either it was an unintelligent agent or it was an intelligent agent.
6) If it was an intelligent agent, then, either the agent was impersonal or a personal agent.
7) Reason demands that something exists; the universe had a beginning; that beginning was caused by an agent; that agent was super-natural, intelligent, and personal. This intelligent, personal, supernatural creator is what we call “God.”