1

Why doesn't this argument work for the cosmological argument for atheism?

1.)Anything that exists needs a cause (Check) ✔

2.)The Universe needs a cause (Check)✔ we know that, because the universe is running down, and something that is running down must have started at some point. The second law of thermodynamics states that the universe is running out of usable energy and if you doubt this, look in the mirror you’re aging and running down just like everything else.

3.)So there is a First Cause (Check)✔

4.)The First Cause requires a decision to initiate a effect (Check)✔

5.) The First Cause is an unintelligent impersonal unconsciousness, which has only the ability to decide whether to create the universe or not create the universe spontaneously out of itself, so a Yes and No decision. When (5.) means Yes and No, It means that it is impersonal as to a frog which can only decide a limited amount of things, e.g to eat the bug or not eat the bug.(❓❓❓)

6.)Therefore Allah does not exist.(❓❓❓)

Now why does this argument not work? How should a Muslim respond to this?

2

The cosmological argument is based on a number of flawed premises. You illustrated the problem with 5): it's an assertion for which there is zero evidence, and you can exchange it for any other assertion you want there - as in the case of the Islamic version of it, a personal god; but you could insert the assertion that it needs to be the Shinto god Izanagi, or an ape god like the Hindu god Hanuman, or a god with a stomach problem who vomits up existence like the god Bumba from African folk religion, and any of those assertions would be as well supported as the one in your question. I'll address the others.

1) The claim that everything in existence needs a cause is an induction from the empirical observation that whenever event A happens, then event B happens afterwards. Right off the bat, causality can only possibly apply when there is Time. The Cosmos (I will use this to mean "all of existence") is different from everything inside our universe by that the cosmos does not exist within Time, rather Time exists within the Cosmos, which means talking about the Cosmos "beginning to exist" is just a trick of language. There is no "moment" at which the Cosmos does not exist, and then a later "moment" where it does, because there is no Time outside the Cosmos. Apart from that, causality might not be universal at all, and in the area of quantum mechanics we have examples of things that just pop into existence without anyone being able to identify a cause. Generally, the notion of "causality" seems intuitive to us - because we evolved in an environment and at a size where it seems to always hold - but that doesn't mean it is a general principle that applies to everything within the Cosmos, or the Cosmos itself, and we have some evidence that it doesn't apply to everything within the Cosmos, and logical reasons to reject the claim that it applies to the Cosmos itself.

2) It's an outright falsehood that physicists are anywhere near convinced that the Cosmos is finitely old. There are a number of very respected leading physicists who think the Cosmos might well have both an infinite past and an infinite future, and the current discussion among physicists involves a number of models of the Cosmos where this is the case. For details, I suggest asking on physics.SE since I do not have the expertise.

3) Nowhere near established, and based on the objections to 1), rather illogical. It's a trick of language, nothing more.

4) Like 5), this is an arbitrary assertion. It's even contrary to empirical data; there is no "decision" to be detected in the fusion that happens in our sun, for example, or in the chemistry of burning coal.

0

This argument does not work for several reasons. The simplest way to explain is that several of the points are irrational. That is, they are not sustainable and / or they do not flow naturally into or from the argument at hand. They certainly do not lead to the 5th point, which seems to be the conclusion. In general terms, this is called a non sequitur, meaning it does not follow. Even if the first 4 points were perfectly true and could be proven, they do not combine to support the final point.

Point #1 is not only incorrect, its self-disproving. If everything which exists needs a cause, then every cause needs a cause. But that creates an infinite backward chain, which is logically impossible. You cannot actually attain infinity. Logically, therefore, there cannot be an infinite, backwards-running chain of causes. There must be afirst cause.This is stated in point #3, but its applied only to the universe. In reality, it logically applies everywhere. Not merely the universe, but causality itself has to have a single, solitary First Cause to begin the chain.

This is why it is logically more correct to say that whatever begins to exist has a cause. That which has no beginning (the First Cause) never began to exist. It always existed.

Point #2 is valid, so far as it goes. Observations of energy states, redshift of stars, and other tangible evidence say the universe is of a finite age. It is not, and cannot be, infinitely old. So, both logic (see point #1) and scientific evidence (point #2) nominally support the phrasing of point #3. However…

Point #3 is true, but in this case its incorrectly being applied only to the universe. Thats fine. But it`s irrelevant to the next points.

Point #4 may or may not be true. This point is blending the idea of volition with that of physical cause-and-effect. There is a large difference between a logical sequence of events and a physical sequence of events. Some would argue that a series of volitional events is a third category, others that these are logical. Those arguments are beside the point, for now.

The real issue is that a person can only use this point, in a way supporting the conclusion, by assuming the conclusion in the first place. That is, only by assuming that causality is ultimately material and non-intellectual can a person attempt to prove that its material and non-intellectual. Thats circular reasoning.

Point #5 is by far the weakest of the steps. First of all, the terminology is self-contradictory. How can something be unconscious and yet be a decider? This ignores all of the logic leading up to this point. If there is no conscious and no person, then logically this means that something impersonal and unconscious and separate from that cause caused this first decision. But that contradicts the entire premise of a first cause. Flipped coins and rolled dice are not deciders, they are the effects of some prior cause.

The rest of point #5 comes out of thin air. Nothing in the prior statements suggested that the First Cause only has the ability to make certain decisions. Or that its creating the universeout of itself.Or that this First Cause is only capable ofyes / no` decisions.

In short, this is simply an argument attempting to prove what its already assuming: that there is no intelligent being behind the creation of the universe. As shown above, this is not a good response to the Cosmological Argument. Rather, its a self-defeating attempt to get away from what logic strongly suggests: reality as we know it is the result of a purposeful decision by an intelligent, powerful, creative First Cause.

-1

What in the world is the source of this argument? This is quite a terrible formulation of an argument. And several of its premises are unintelligent. However, scraps of the proper formulation of the argument can be put back together into a cogent argument and response. The proper Kalam cosmological argument was developed by Muslim scholars and made popular more recently by Christian apologist William Lane Craig, and is frequently used by both Muslim and Christian apologists today. You can also see more on Wikipedia and a philosophy of religion website.

  1. Anything that begins to exist has a cause. (correct)

It is not "anything that exists has a cause," as the other answers already pointed out. Then you would have an infinite regression of causes. This is supported by the principle of causality, inductive reasoning, rational intuition (self-evident truth), and by use of reductio ad absurdum reasoning.

  1. The universe began to exist. (correct)

This statement is necessary for premise 3 to follow logically. The 2nd premise is not and cannot be "The universe needs a cause" or even that "the universe has a cause." That argument would require one of a few bad options: 1) remove premise 1 because it is redundant, either way leaving premise 2 nakedly unsupported, or, slightly better, 2) change premise 2 to be "The Universe exists." Neither of these is a good option. The best option is to replace the premise listed in the question with my #2 premise to make a proper syllogism. This premise is the one commonly and properly used.

This statement is supported by the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem (also known as the Kinematic Incompleteness Theorem), Penrose-Hawking singularity theorems, 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, and Big Bang Cosmology (not to endorse the entire theory, just the finitude of the universe).

  1. Therefore, the universe has a cause. (correct)

This is a logical deduction that follows directly from the first two premises.

Premises 4, 5, and 6 are an incoherent, unintelligible mess. I will do my best in just responding to them rather than attempting to fix them.

  1. The First Cause requires a decision to initiate an effect (accepted)

Sure. Not the main concern of the question.

  1. This premise is multiple claims. They will be addressed individually. (All incorrect)

5.1. The First Cause is unintelligent. (incorrect)

This claim does not follow from the previous premises, so it requires additional support. It also contradicts premise 5.4, which says that the First Cause has the ability to decide to create the universe, presupposing some kind of intelligence or rationality.

5.2. The First Cause is impersonal. (incorrect)

The First Cause of the universe, by definition and following from a proper cosmological argument, created the universe by a decision (see premise 4) or an act of volition. An impersonal cause would be a mechanism that would, in fact, spontaneously generate a universe, and therefore could not create a finite universe. This spontaneous generation would have resulted in instantaneous causation and therefore an eternal universe. This contradicts premise 2. The fact that the First Cause created the universe with an act of will (volition) means that the Cause is personal, as He is personally invested in the universe and created it because He wanted to. Also see this reference.

5.3. The First Cause is an unconsciousness (incorrect) This fun premise uses completely incorrect grammar that contradicts both premise 4 and 5.4.

5.4. The First Cause has only the ability to decide whether to create the universe or not create the universe spontaneously out of itself. (incorrect)

There are multiple problems here.

1) Spontaneity - If anything forms “spontaneously” then it would not come from anyone else’s decision. Spontaneous is defined as something occurring from a “sudden inner impulse or inclination” “without external stimulus.” In thermodynamics, any event with a deltaG (Gibb’s Free Energy) <0 will occur spontaneously and will happen without an external stimulus, such as the First Cause. Therefore, premise 5.4 is self-contradictory with an external stimulus creating something that is said within the premise to form without external stimulus (“spontaneously”).

2) Creation from self – The concept of creation out of itself is incoherent and logically invalid. Creation ex nihlo (from nothing) makes more sense than creation from self. If object A did not previously exist, then A cannot create A out of A, since A did not exist prior to its existence/creation. This is fallacious.

3) Single ability – this claim is given without support and does not follow from the premises. The most plausible conclusion that, if the First Cause has the power to create the universe, he could easily have the power to choose something besides creating a universe. Such as, create spiritual beings, create spiritual residences, form multi-dimensional objects by creating space without creating time (thus isn’t a universe as we conceive it), create time and keep track of it (also wouldn’t be a universe), duplicate Himself, form subsets of Himself, subdivide and reproduce Himself, etc. All of these options are not this “single ability” option that all seem feasible.

5.5. Anything only capable of a yes or no decision is impersonal. (incorrect)

See premise 5.2 for more discussion, but anything capable of a decision at all is personal. Impersonality does not follow from being limited to a yes or no decision. We often assess animals as being intelligent and personable though we also agree they are only acting according to their nature and instinct, since they don’t have consciousness or rationality.

  1. Therefore Allah does not exist. (incorrect)

THIS CONCLUSION DOES NOT FOLLOW FROM ANY OF THE PREMISES. Premise 5.5 only even attempted to establish an impersonal Cause/God. An impersonal God does not mean God does not exist.

Overall, this was an absolutely terrible formulation of a very bad argument that fails miserably. I hope this helps. There are powerful, proper formulations of the Kalam cosmological argument for God’s existence, as well as for other arguments for God, like the teleological argument, argument from contingency, moral argument, ontological argument, historical argument, etc.

-2

Thank you for bringing that up here. I’ve interspersed some comments in between your premises.

1.)Anything that exists needs a cause(Check)

SD: Wrong. Anything that begins to exist has a cause, or every effect has a cause. See If God created the universe, then who created God? for more information.

2.)The Universe needs a cause(Check we know that, because of the the universe is running down, and something that is running down must have started at some point. The second law of thermodynamics states that the universe is running out of usable energy and if you doubt this, look in the mirror you’re aging and running down just like everything else.

SD: We agree. See the above link for more details. Moreover, there are other reasons to believe the universe needed a cause, such as the absurdity of an actually infinite series of seconds, and the contingency argument for God.

3.)So there is a first cause(Check)

SD: This does not follow from the previous two premises. If everything that exists needs a cause, then there can be no first cause, since the first cause is by definition ‘uncaused’. This is why the first premise needs to say “Anything that begins to exist has a cause”, or “Any contingent thing needs a cause”.

4.)The First Cause requires a decision to initiate a effect(Check)

SD: I agree. Only a being that can freely choose can produce an effect independent of any prior conditions.

5.)The First Cause is an unintelligent impersonal unconsciousness, which has only the ability to decide whether to create the universe or not create the universe spontaneously out of itself, so a Yes and No decision. When (5.) means Yes and No, It means that it is impersonal as to a frog which can only decide a limited amount of things, e.g to eat the bug or not eat the bug.

SD: The previous problems are just misunderstandings of the argument, but this is the main problem. The Kalam and Contingency arguments don’t tell us the scope of freedom that the cause for the universe has. They tell us, minimally, that the cause for the universe could freely cause this universe, or refrain from doing so. They don’t tell us what else the cause for the universe could ‘choose’ to do, if anything. Your interlocutor is trying to use this minimal conclusion to set the maximum that one can infer from the Kalam and Contingency arguments. In other words, they’re saying that a being that can only ‘choose’ to create this universe or refrain from doing so is the only correct conclusion to this argument. That, however, is false. Since the Kalam and Contingency arguments are consistent with several different types of beings, including the biblical God, we should weigh up which is the most plausible. A First Cause capable of making a decision from premise 4 contradicts the notion of an “impersonal unconsciousness” in premise 5. They would have to reformulate premise 4 to avoid language of ‘decision’. But how to do that? What exactly is an “impersonal unconsciousness” that can only either freely create this universe or freely create nothing? And why are the only options ‘this universe or nothing’? Why couldn’t it create some other type of universe? And why can it only create universes, and not bananas, or unicorns, or warlocks, or fire-breathing bunnies, or pens? The universe is a very big and complex thing, requiring a lot of power to create. So how is such an “impersonal unconsciousness” so restricted in what it can choose and yet capable of producing an effect requiring unimaginable power to create? The being described in premise 5 is utterly contrived, and calling it an “impersonal unconsciousness” is just a bad attempt to avoid the fact that an ability to choose clearly indicates a conscious chooser.

6.)So therefore Allah does not exist.

But the God of the Bible does exist.

Conclusion

There are no flaws in the Kalam Cosmological argument.

Here is how it went: enter image description here

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