- Religion and Philosophy
Weaknesses of the Cosmological Argument
The Cosmological Argument in simple terms is the idea that everything has a cause. The Cosmological argument is a theory that supports the idea that God created the universe.
Everything that exists has a cause
The universe exists
The universe must have a cause
This cause must be God
This is an A Postereori argument because the premises only imply the conclusion – it does not mean it is logically necessary. We rely on our senses to tell us that the conclusion is correct however, it can only ever be highly probable therefore this is already a weakness of the Cosmological Argument.
There are many opposing theories to the Cosmological argument such as Science, David Hume and Bertrand Russell. There are also flaws in theories for the cosmological argument such as Leibniz, Ockham and Aquinas’ theories.
Over the years, science has improved greatly and began to disprove the theory of God creating the universe or the fact he exists at all. The Big Bang Theory was a huge discovery in science and is still controversial to this day. Scientists discovered that atoms can pop out of nowhere which caused the Big Bang and meant that the universe is still expanding. This is called Quantum Physics. The idea that everything has a cause and effect may be used to strengthen the cosmological argument however, why should God not have a cause if it has an effect? This is not logic and denies scientific fact. Some philosophers and Christians argued that God created the particles and energy used to trigger the Big Bang. However, Stephen Hawking, a famous cosmologist and atheist, said that there was no before the Big Bang because time didn’t exist before that; The Big Bang was the start of everything and so Hawking argued there could not have been a God.
Bertrand Russell was a British philosopher who opposed the cosmological argument as he developed the Fallacy of Composition – this is when you infer something is true of the whole argument when in fact only a part of the argument is true. In terms of the cosmological argument, Russell said that Aquinas’s Three Ways (more specifically the 2nd way of causation) involved the Fallacy of Composition. The second way of causation is:
There exists things that are caused by other things
Nothing can be the cause of itself
There cannot be an endless string of objects causing other objects to exist
Therefore, there must be an uncaused first cause called God.
Russell said that this is a Fallacy of Composition because Aquinas made the whole argument seem true when in fact only the premises are. By saying that “there only exists things that are caused by other things” you cannot then go onto say “there is an uncaused first caused called God” as he is contradicting his previous premise.
David Hume was a famous atheist that argued that humans allow their imaginations to make a connection between cause and effect when in fact we have no proof as to whether one action has a cause and an effect. Hume believes that they are separate and unique actions and our imagination tries to make sense of this by believing they are connected and therefore Hume believes Aquinas is wrong in believing cause and effect is true. Hume also believes that Aquinas contradicts himself; he says he does not believe in infinite regress but also says God is an infinite being. This is not possible and by showing flaws in Aquinas’ theory, this proves the weaknesses in the cosmological argument. Aquinas’ five ways, three of which are cosmological arguments also have weaknesses. The first way says that nothing can move itself therefore God was the first unmoved mover, but this is an a posteriori argument therefore there can be many other solutions. For example the universe could be the first mover, not God. In Thomas Aquinas’ second way, he says nothing can cause itself. Yet the God of classical Theism caused himself therefore this is a weakness in Aquinas’ theory. God is described as a necessary being in the third way, but the universe or the laws of physics could be this necessary being. Many people would argue that The God of classical Theism would not create the universe as it is, if God was all loving then why is there evil within the universe?
Overall there are more weaknesses then strengths in The cosmological argument because it comes to a conclusion too quickly, it is an assumption that is not supported by evidence.