Critical Review of the Cosmological Argument

This post tackles the validity of the First-Cause Argument for the existence of God, specifically its premises and its conclusion, using logical reasoning and analysis. Several ideas like causality tend to prove the validity of the argument. On the other hand, fallacies like the fallacy of composition, the argument of Hume and many others tend to disprove it. This paper discusses how these various arguments help support or negate the First-Cause Argument.

The First-Cause or Cosmological Argument states that every event has a cause and that there cannot be an infinite series of events so there must therefore be a first cause to which God is attributed (Sisson, n.d.). The First-Cause Argument states that there must be a first cause or a beginning of the universe. Although this argument has been championed by a number of philosophers and scientists, it still lends itself to several criticisms.

The First-Cause Argument of Thomas Aquinas, in some ways, is a plausible statement. The first premise which states that every event has a cause (Sisson, n.d.) is based on the universal idea of causality which was elaborated on by Aristotle in his Metaphysics, and especially in science, causes are necessary (Causality in Science, n.d.).  The second premise which states that there cannot be an infinite series of events (Sisson, n.d.) is claimed to be valid because of the mere impossibility of counting from infinity, or infinity minus zero, to zero, or infinity minus infinity (The First Cause Argument, 2004). The conclusion of the First-Cause Argument which states that there must be a first cause, which is God (Sisson, n.d) is even backed by findings in the field of astronomy and astrophysics (Craig, 1995).

However, despite the aforementioned claims for its validity, the First-Cause Argument has several weaknesses. Sisson (n.d.) presents Atheistic arguments against it, the most prominent of which is the inconsistency of the first and second premises. Atheists argue that if the first premise Every event has a cause is true in all cases, then it is impossible to state the second premise There cannot be an infinite series of events for this second premise assumes a first event which is causeless, and this clearly contradicts the first premise.

Sisson (n.d.) further presented the argument against the belief of Rationalists that it is impossible to have infinities in nature. Atheists argue that expressions of infinities in nature such as the idea of causeless events and the idea of events stretching back in time are not really unthinkable and are even quantified by reputable scientists in their theories. The atheists are also implying in their arguments that perhaps there is no first cause and that everything goes back on into infinity.

The First-Cause Argument is said to be a Birthday Fallacy (Notes, n.d.). This means that it is very much logically possible that there is more than one first cause that led to an event, or perhaps even an infinite number of causes. This further implies that there can also be an infinite number of conclusions for such infinite number of causal chains.

Personally I think that another weakness of the First-Cause Argument is in its very definition of a cause. David Hume, in his An Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding stated that something is inherently missing in our judgment about cause and effect. Hume (1969) argues that just because two events happen one after another in close succession, we tend to believe that the first event is the cause of the second, but what we do not perhaps realize is that what we have witnessed is nothing but a mere sequence of events independent of each other. This argument will instantly negate the validity of the first premise of the First-Cause Argument, hence the negation of the whole argument.

I would also like to personally think that the First-Cause Argument somehow commits the fallacy of composition. Just because one event has a cause does not necessarily mean that there is a first cause of all events. Another thing I would like to point out is that even if there were really a first cause, it does not necessarily follow that this first cause is God or a supernatural being of whatever sort. Lastly, I believe that human logic and reasoning can only determine a cause-and-effect relationship but not a God, or any supernatural idea which is supposed to be beyond human comprehension. With these reasons, I believe that the First-Cause Argument is largely a mere assumption.

The First-Cause or Cosmological Argument for Gods existence seems to be backed by scientific proof and its premises and conclusion all appear to possess individual validity. However, there are several criticisms against its validity including the incongruousness of the first two premises, the logical possibility of infinity, the fallacy of composition and many others. All these imply that the Cosmological Argument is not as sound as it seems.


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