Talk:Cosmological argument

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Archive 1

infinite chain of events[edit]

Someone cited this:

^ Matilal, Bimal K.. "A note on Śamkara's theodicy". Journal of Indian Philosophy. "There does not seem to be any real logical objection to infinite causal chains, accidental or not. The Indian version of the acceptable and provable infinite causal chain of seeds and sprouts seems to be harking back to a similar argument.". George is gay

This makes no sense whatsoever. There's a million real logical objections, in fact, such an idea itself is illogical and doesn't make sense. If there is an infinite chain of events behind us, we wouldn't be here, because the infinite chain of events can not end. They're infinite! The fact that we do exist shows that there were a finite series of events prior to us. It's as simple as that. Nobody from the body of accepted scientists or mainstream science can back such a claim that seems clearly based on ancient Indian religious philosophy and not on our modern standards of logic. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.45.199.23 (talk) 00:10, 7 June 2010 (UTC)

Ex Nihilo[edit]

"For Plato, the demiurge lacked the supernatural ability to create ex nihilo (out of nothing). It was only able to organize the ananke (necessity), the only other co-existent element or presence in Plato's cosmogony."

This statement contradicts Plato's cosmological argument which requires ex nihilo. If creatio ex materia is what Plato is illustrating in the Timaeus, the cosmological argument would require that the previoussly existing material was also made by his Demiurge, reverting to creatio ex nihilo. I've deleted the statement. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 62.25.109.197 (talk) 10:59, 11 March 2010 (UTC)


"For Aristotle too, as for Plato, the underlying essence of the Universe always was in existence and always would be"

This seems to be a logical contradition? As I understand it the first cause argument is used also to prove 'creatio ex nihilo'. If matter or the material universe have always existed, in what sense is the first cause really the first cause. Both Plato & Aristotle spoke in somewhat metaphorical terms, the prexisting substance the Demiurge uses to create the world is actually non-being i.e nothing.

If there are no objections I intend to delete the contradictions and insert a text about creatio ex nihilo with a link to the Wikipedia artice. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 62.25.106.209 (talk) 07:58, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

The First Cause would be definition then be external to the universe. If time has existed only as long as the universe, then the universe has always existed--for all of time. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 82.18.190.199 (talk) 16:39, 18 August 2009 (UTC)

Non-Sequiter[edit]

Is it just me, or is this poorly expressed:

"...(merely logical) contingency of anything it does not logically follow that there must be some time at which – the merely logically (not empirically) contingent – things, like for example matter, in fact did not exist (in order to prove that matter did need to have a cause outside itself)."

Does the author wish merely to say: "The conclusion is false because, well, why should it have to be true?" —Preceding unsigned comment added by RWZero (talkcontribs) 04:07, 7 June 2009 (UTC)

Unmover mover exists or unmoved mover existed?[edit]

If we have established that the unmoved mover exists, have we established if it still exists or that it just existed? Any ideas on the arguements or counterarguements for this topic or where the arguements are at right now? (Simonapro 14:55, 29 August 2006 (UTC))

This is already included in the article in the explanation of the difference between in esse and in fieri. ... Kenosis 15:07, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

How does the Kalam cosmological argument verify in esse? (Simonapro 15:54, 29 August 2006 (UTC))

Beats me. Offhand I'd say it's just another form of cosmological argument. Now that we know (or at least think we know) that there was a Big Bang (a beginning), the issue still isn't settled. It's also closely related to the difference between a theistic perspective and a deistic perspective on things. ... Kenosis 16:49, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

Do you know if in esse in terms of the Kalam cosmological argument has been varified or even tried? It seems to me if not then the Kalam cosmological argument only establishes that God may have existed, not that God exists.(Simonapro 19:41, 29 August 2006 (UTC))

"According to Kaku, these particles could move forever, without beginning or end. So, there is no need for a First Mover to explain the origins of motion.[1] It does not provide an explanation for the reason those molecules exist in the first place, though." (someone deal with this last sentence here, it's ambiguous what the first word 'it' there even refers to, and the statement is unrelated to the preceding stuff.) —Preceding unsigned comment added by 60.240.162.169 (talk) 08:11, 27 June 2008 (UTC)

This section needs some serious cleaning; the initial author's bias is a banner on a supposedly-neutral slate. Providing examples of counterarguments is productive; presenting the examples from one source as representative and held by a significant proportion is not. Kaku is the only cited source for this section; using any plural term is not justified. Also, Kaku's cited claim seems to go exactly AGAINST the first law of thermodynamics--molecules in a jar could only "bounce around" indefinitely if they were indefinitely supplied with external energy. Also, those molecules initially received their energy from some source (i.e. a "cause"). It doesn't even sound like Kaku has a fallacious argument (that may be a big step up!), but rather a series of statements that strain credulity. If Kaku's argument bears more coherence than this, then it needs to be explained in a coherent fashion. MasVeritas (talk) 03:10, 19 September 2009 (UTC)

"Almost all physical cosmologists..."[edit]

From the article:

Almost all physical cosmologists subscribe to a theory of universal origin that is effectively dualistic in nature and basically reflective of the Aristotlean reasoning underlying the original cosmological argument - they simply do so without making the jump to assume any spiritually supernatural qualities of a universe's dual source.

Really? How do we know this? Is there some survey of physical cosmologists that backs up this claim?

It looks more like this is the author's opinion of the views of physical cosmologists -- and I doubt that physical cosmologists would in general represent their own views in this way. The author defines "dualism" in this context as a difference between present day natural conditions and past natural conditions. Everyone agrees the present is different than the past, but the obvious implication is that the pr esent is fundamentally different than the past -- i.e., the big bang was governed by fundamentally different physical laws than the laws that govern the universe today.

I'm fairly certain this misrepresents the views of modern cosmologists. It is true that physics doesn't have a fully developed theory of quantum gravity, i.e., a theory that can describe things that are simultaneously very small (quantum) and very massive (gravity). Thus, there's no theory that can describe the big bang, when all the mass of the universe was concentrated into a tiny point. However, physicists in general believe that if such a theory exists, it will apply to small and massive things in the present day universe (e.g., the singularity inside a black hole) as well as the big bang. Moreover, they believe that it will apply to things that are small but not massive (although in that range it can be approximated by a known theory -- quantum mechanics) and to things which are massive but not small (although in that range it can be approximated by another known theory, general relativity).

There's a huge difference between saying:

(1) Physical cosmologists believe different laws applied in the early universe as apply today.
(2) Physical cosmologists believe that the same laws hold for the universe today as in the past. However, our current theories are just an approximation for these laws, which only works well in certain cases. The early universe isn't one of these cases, nor are some things that exist today (like black hole singularities, and possibly other mysterious phenomena like dark matter and dark energy).

I think (2) is correct, but if the article is going to claim (1) it needs a cite to back it up. Cite one cosmologist and change the wording to "At least one physical cosmologist", or else cite a poll that indicates a majority opinion.

If the same physical laws apply to the universe today as in the past, and it's just the actual state of the universe that's different, then calling this "dualistic" seems very misleading. We could just as well say, "The universe used to have no stars, but after a while stars formed, so the universe has a dualistic nature." It's an arbitrary distinction, equally applicable to anything which has ever changed. Even if you consider "The universe isn't the same now as it once was" to be dualism, you need a citation to back up the claim that physical cosmologists share this opinion.

I consider this a pretty severe problem, because it's claiming scientific support for a certain philosophical point of view, without citing any references to back this up.

Also from the article:

On careful consideration of the big bang, for example, some sort of dualistic "cause", itself presumably not caused, or at least not caused by the "natural" forces manifest by current conditions in our universe, appears prima facie to be inescapable.

This is in the same paragraph, so the article gives the impression that this too is the opinion of physical cosmologists. Again, this claim needs to be backed up with a cite. But I don't think it's true anyway -- as I said, it's not that cosmologists think the laws have changed, it's that our current understanding is an approximation to the true laws, and that approximation is only valid under certain conditions. It's like how the special theory of relativity applies to all objects, but its effects can be ignored except for things that are moving at velocities close to the speed of light. The approximation which ignores relativity works well for things that move slow, but these things aren't fundamentally different than things that move fast.

Also, I think this sentence is problematic anyway. It's pretending to be an argument without actually making one. If I said, for example, "On careful consideration of his policies, the conclusion that George Bush is a bad president seems inescapable," no one would buy this as a legitimate argument. What policies? How is it inescapable? The claim implies that anyone who disagrees just hasn't considered carefully enough. That's not an argument -- it's meaningless rhetoric. If you have a point to make, then make it, but I suspect the point is "If you accept the cosmological argument, then it is obvious that . . . . " -- Tim314 15:05, 29 September 2006 (UTC)

By the way, I'm well aware that "quantum" doesn't literally mean "small", and so forth. I'm trying to keep the science in laymans terms except where technical details are relevant. Please keep that in mind if you're going to nitpick. -- Tim314 16:11, 29 September 2006 (UTC)

"See also" section[edit]

I removed the following links from the see also section on the grounds that they are insufficiently linked to the cosmological argument:

Those topics, most of them pseudo-science, have little, if anything, to do with the metaphysical argument for a first cause. Anyone agree/disagree? Jacob1207 23:52, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

Yeh I agree, they're to do with creation of the earth, not with the philosophy of the cosmological argument. Seems fine to me. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 81.137.201.12 (talk) 18:06, 17 October 2007 (UTC)

Arab philosophers?[edit]

I think that more could be said about contributions made by Arab philosophers to the cosmological argument, particularly the kalam variant. My understanding is that Muslim thinkers got the idea from the Greeks and, being theists, were eager to use the argument to prove (or at least support) the existence of God. al-Kindi and Averroes deserve more mention, I think. Jacob1207 00:10, 8 December 2006


As the world wide web expands and as the world shrinks from global media coverage, we need to expand our educational horrizens. But not only Arab thinkers and writers, but also Jewish, Indian, Japaneese, Chineese, and all peoples of the world have likewise made numerous contributions to our joint treasury of world wide wisdom. Let all cultures participate to the maximum. And when we come to better understand all cultures, we will respect each other as we should. For fear is fear of the unknown. Let all participate. Jerry Weaver ageoftheology.com Jerryweaver 22:53, 13 July 2007 (UTC)

David Hume[edit]

I've removed a sentence which asserted that David Hume promoted the cosmological arguument. He was, to the contrary, quite skeptical about the cosmological argument, especially in the ways that it was commonly put forward in his day. He did, though, admit the following in a letter to a colleague. "But allow me to tell you that I never asserted so absurd a Proposition as that anything might arise without a cause" (David Hume to John Stewart, Feb. 1754, in The Letters of David Hume, ed. J. Y. T. Greig, 2 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1932), 1: 187. Similarly, Mackie: "I myself find it hard to accept the notion of self–creation from nothing, even given unrestricted chance. And how can this be given, if there really is nothing?" (J. L. Mackie, Times Literary Supplement [5 February, 1982], p. 126).

... Kenosis 16:21, 23 January 2007 (UTC)


Do you mean skeptical of ANY arguments for cosmological origination? Being a hard-line empiricist would incline one to not speculate about anything, which would include cosmological origination arguments. There's more than one argument though, in face there are dozens of TYPES of arguments, and THOUSANDS of actual arguments, each adhering to or borrowing from one or several types, each etching out its own nuance. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Aletheus (talkcontribs) 03:23, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

Evangelizing through this article[edit]

This article seems regularly trolled by people who want the cosmological argument to be proof to the validity of their own religious beliefs, thus try to rewrite or add to the page so that it evangelizes the 'validity' of believing in a God, while overemphasizing and sometimes just miscontruing 'errors' in refutations. In fact, entire sections seem dedicated to this, such as the redundant 'Criticisms of Counter-arguments' section, which I would be in favor of doing away with.

We need to rewrite large sections and present this philosophical concept cleanly and neutrally rather than let this article be reduced to religious cheerleading, criticizing all criticisms, undermining all alternatives while upholding the argument itself as dogma only a fool would question.--Primal Chaos 04:59, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

I think it just needs moar nonsense. 67.149.107.82 02:28, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

I agree with your feeling of "criticisms of counter-arguments" and was actually thinking of "objections to criticisms of counter-arguments", viz. none of the counter-arguments listed before it have said anything about time being non-natural, and don't argue against a non-natural First Cause - the counter-arguments are: (non-)existence of a first cause (the past might be infinite, or, the Universe is the first cause), (non-)necessity of first cause (the universe may not be causal on all levels), (non-)identity of first cause (First Cause is not necessarily God/Yahweh/Allah, I can call It "Satan" or "Lord Amaterasu" or "Chuck Norris"). The section about "Aristotle and Dualism" is not clear and doesn't seem to be a counterargument either. 124.107.146.20 (talk) 04:10, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

This whole article is hopelessly muddled, attempting as it does to present a modern argument from mathematical physics as somehow a development of earlier arguments based upon rational or philosophical physics. It is not. It represents a complete break with Aristotelian thought. Thus, the counterarguments don't exlusively address the argument actually presented as The Cosmological Argument, but attempt to include the Aristotelian arguments as well, while these two forms of argument are, as I said, based upon completely different principles. The result? An incoherent mess and a "Criticisms of Counterarguments" section the first two objections of which turn out to be, in reality, objections to the main argument, not the counterarguments.

If I may say so, this article gives the impression of having been written and organized by first-year philosophy students. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.87.134.39 (talk) 22:39, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

Heh, no doubt in my mind about that either. The arguments FOR are misrepresented and the arguments AGIANST aren't doing the article any favor either (Kaku, for instance, argued against a part of the first cause argument, not belief in God or the existence of any deities, which this article seems to suggest). Maybe this article needs a complete reworking for both "sides." Well, we aren't sopposed to take sides, but you know what I mean. I think. 98.198.83.12 (talk) 23:36, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

Science and argument[edit]

Problems[edit]

If everyone would realize the big picture here for a moment, the only reason any of this is being said is because we haven't explored the Universe yet.

Maybe. Think of it this way: the Cosmological Argument relies on the assumption that nothing can have absolute infinity. What about God? If God exists, surely he has a cause? And surely that cause has a cause, ad infinitem? Or maybe not:
  • Perhaps God did not begin to exist, but if he didn't, then why can't the Universe be an exception too?
  • Perhaps God can't be expressed in the same way as anything else can, and so he is exempt from causality. Again, perhaps the Universe is different too? It's not as if we know of anything else like the Universe.
The Cosmological Argument is trying to fill a gap. It's really a very reasonable and intelligent argument, but then again, perhaps God shouldn't really be considered an exception to it. (BTW, please do not take offense at my argument, or at the fact I seem to keep on referring to God as a 'he'. I've never met God, so I wouldn't know, but maybe there isn't a God to meet. Or maybe there is. I love being agnostic.) I Enjoy Commenting 18:37, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
From what I have been able to deduce by reading articles on the beginning of time, the Universe never "began" to exist because a beginning implies a time before its existence. Time did not exist at a point when the Universe did not exist, so it would be nonsensical to speak of a cause per say. Likewise, a theoretical "god" could either have existed for all time, like the Universe, in which it would have been impossible for this being to have created the universe because it had no power at the (lack of) time at which the universe did not exist. I think it should be pointed out that the entire cosmological argument should have a section on the disproval that the argument speaks of "before" the universe when most scientific evidence points to the conclusion that there is no "before" the universe. 129.67.39.207 (talk) 14:25, 7 July 2009 (UTC)

The claim is that that arguments that end in infinite regress refer to events or situations that are physically (and metaphysically) impossible. Far be it from me to argue with Aristotle on this one. But I personally have no problem detaching causation and consequence from unidirectional notions of time. There could still be a cause without the universe having a beginning, it just may be impossible to reconcile physics and metaphysics on this one. The perennial argument over the "chicken or the egg".

Aletheus (talk) 20:41, 25 January 2011 (UTC)aletheus

J. Richard Gott[edit]

Should we mention J. Richard Gott and his paper on the universe creating itself in the article? It would seem to contradict the assumption that "Nothing finite and dependent (contingent) can cause itself," because his article is about a finite universe causing itself. Also, is it just me, or does this assumption also assume that there is no time travel (because if there is time travel, there is a possibility of things creating themselves). Eds01 23:26, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

Spelling: Anake v. Ananke[edit]

Isn't this thing supposed to be spelled "anankē" with an e?

C. Stephen Evans[edit]

A citation from C. Stephen Evans' Philosophy of Religion: Thinking About Faith in the section entitled "Criticisms of counterarguments" has been added for the community to review.

Philip Monson (talk) 21:09, 29 May 2008 (UTC)

Cleanup[edit]

Primal Chaos said, "We need to rewrite large sections and present this philosophical concept cleanly and neutrally rather than let this article be reduced to religious cheerleading, criticizing all criticisms, undermining all alternatives while upholding the argument itself as dogma only a fool would question." I, for one, agree with him. I like this article, and I would love to see it flourish. Anyone want to lend a hand? 12.208.25.100 (talk) 05:49, 21 June 2008 (UTC)

Here's what I've done so far:

  1. Spelling, grammar, flow, and concision.
  2. Internal links and citations.
  3. Revised the "Objections and counterarguments" section.
  4. Removed bias, proselytization, redundancy, and unverified content (in the most unbiased manner possible).
  5. Fixed inaccurate content.

Any ideas about how else to improve this article? 12.208.25.100 (talk) 22:30, 21 June 2008 (UTC)

Aight, I've finished my second run through the article. It'll be my last for now... until someone speaks up about wanting to revise the article. Thanks! 12.208.25.100 (talk) 11:44, 22 June 2008 (UTC), 12.208.72.158, 12.208.72.171, 66.168.53.106, 216.165.149.8

I am sad that no one wants to work on this article. :( 12.208.25.100 (talk) 03:28, 13 July 2008 (UTC)

Yes, this article is not consise, not clear, it is chaotic, —Preceding unsigned comment added by 174.24.46.3 (talk) 05:02, 1 November 2010 (UTC)

==== From Pachomius ======[edit]

You say:

Here's what I've done so far:

  1. Spelling, grammar, flow, and concision.
  2. Internal links and citations.
  3. [...]

Please just find the work of Leibniz where he says or asks: " "Why is there something rather than nothing?" [See the article.]

This quote has been time and again reported as coming from Leibniz but without any link to any work from Leibniz, however see this link which I tend not to be so sure about:

[quote]http://www.umcs.maine.edu/~chaitin/kirchberg.html

At the Kirchberg Wittgenstein conference where this paper was presented, Adolf Grünbaum discussed what he called the "primordial existential question," as formulated by Leibniz in 1714. Leibniz, Principles of Nature and Grace, Based on Reason (1714), Section 7: "Why is there something rather than nothing? For nothing is simpler and easier than something. Furthermore, assuming that things must exist, we must be able to give a reason why they must exist in this way, and not otherwise." (Leibniz, Philosophical Essays, Hackett, 1989, p. 210.)

[/quote]

112.198.79.4 (talk) 15:05, 12 September 2011 (UTC)Pachomius

Bias in recent edits?[edit]

I'm a bit concerned about a number of edits I've recently seen in the article by one anonymous editor. My main concern is that rather than rewriting paragraphs, the author is deleting certain portions (including one described as "self-contradictory", although it seems perfectly self-consistent to me) and inserting refutations immediately after presentation of a criticism of the argument. In particular, one refutation describes the relevant criticism as "irrational", which seems to me a decidedly POV term. The tone of the edits seems to me more reminiscent of original research than of encyclopedic summarization from secondary sources. The problem is serious enough in my mind that I've added the POV tag. -- MatthewDBA (talk) 12:32, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

That's good, MatthewDBA. That's very good. One part I significantly contributed to (Existence of a First Cause) had some rather biased parts. I fully admit that. Was I trying to be biased? Of course not. Some of your other accusations are false, though. For one, I never labeled anything as "irrational." Also, I never strategically placed refutations - I kept them to the objections/counterarguments section. I am not here to fight. I am here to help, and I hope you can understand that. I am glad that *someone* answered my request to improve this article. Why don't we all work on this together? (I like what you and others have done so far, by the way. It is less biased now, but more cleanup is required.) 12.208.25.100 71.39.35.41 (talk) 23:05, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

Ah, I just realized that a number of edits were made shortly before your complaint. Those were not mine. That means that your accusations (at least most of them) weren't directed at me. However, I stand by the fact that some of my edits were biased, and I apologize for those. 12.208.25.100 71.39.35.41 (talk) 23:11, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

Wow, whoever made those edits really fscked up the article. I've just gone through the edit history. Didn't ANYONE pay attention to my requests in the previous discussion section (Cleanup)? Also, why on earth was there a refutation in the fscking introduction?? Great, this anonymous editor removed some of my CITED additions. Meh, you can see why I pretty much gave up on this article. Any thoughts? Anyone? 12.208.25.100 71.39.35.41 (talk) 23:22, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

On second thought, these edits by 98.199.232.188 reek of bias (for the argument/against objections and counterarguments), so I am reverting. 12.208.25.100 71.39.35.41 (talk) 01:42, 22 August 2008 (UTC)

Looks much better now. And yes, I wasn't thinking of your edits at all but the ones by the other anon. I'd hardly qualify myself as an expert, but I'm searching for books to use as reliable sources. I'll do my best on this one. --MatthewDBA (talk) 02:22, 22 August 2008 (UTC)

Existence is energy[edit]

energy cannot be created nor destroyed.

what's this page about, really?

-MONITOR613 —Preceding unsigned comment added by 65.185.12.90 (talk) 05:32, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

The POV edits by 98.199.232.188 have been added again. I have reverted again. 98.199.232.188 seems to be operating under the conclusion that the argument is sound. 12.208.25.100


yeeeep. if i'm wrong just tell me how i'm wrong so i can fix it. (n/m). and if i figure out if my argument is truly flawed then i'll recant.

but if you want to hear some "theories" of mine about Time Space and Existence, then i'll be glad to provide them. - MONITOR613 1:26:09 4:22am

129.138.30.188 (talk) 04:56, 24 August 2008 (UTC)

I hate this "proof". There is no evidence that the big bang is not a periodic function of the universe. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Can Not (talkcontribs) 16:36, 14 February 2009 (UTC)

Incompleteness theorems (moved)[edit]

98.149.104.138 (talk) 06:18, 25 July 2009 (UTC)I think this article may commit the fallacy of equivocation in the part there it says "One possible answer to this quandary can be found by examining Gödel's incompleteness theorems which posit that no system can fully describe itself or comprehend itself using only examination from within the system; such a system might be able to understand the apparent operation of aspects of the system, but it cannot understand everything that composes it. Thus, it follows that since people are within the universe, and cannot see outside of it due to the operation of the Laws of Nature itself, or see beyond the instantiation of the Universe at the moment of the First Cause, then science and reason in and of themselves cannot be assumed to function outside of the known universe, as science, logic, and reason are only within scope within the known Universe, and outside of it, different laws may apply, if any. Thus, to assume that any existence outside of the known universe can be necessarily comprehended by science and reason could be considered illogical."

The Incompleteness theorems refer to formal systems for arithmetic of mathematical interest, not "systems" in the sens that the universe is called a system.98.149.104.138 (talk) 06:18, 25 July 2009 (UTC)

Massive edits and what to do with them.[edit]

I'm unsure what should be done about this, but there is an edit that was massive done by an anonymous person from 173.55.80.176. Some of the edits are useful and probably should stay in, but I'm unsure what the protocol is for adding critiques to objections for one. If we allow all such changes, this would become a debate and not a resource. I will leave it up to someone more experienced with how best to deal with this issue. It seems overbroad to totally undo all their edits, but extremely tedious to pick through all the edits to find which ones are appropriate. PoDuck (talk) 14:13, 12 January 2010 (UTC)

The series of edits were partially reverted by myself, but given that 173.55.80.176 was edit warring to keep inserting blatantly fringe views which were rather incoherent on other articles, I've reverted these edits to the last good version as edited by 97.118.186.114 at 03:28, 9 December 2009. Please review the changes on a paragraph by paragraph basis, and redo those that are useful. That way we start with a clean slate, and only introduce changes that we're confident are suitable. Thanks for bringing this up, apologies to the IP's who tried to clean up the muddle a little, don't think we've lost any improvements from these edits. . . dave souza, talk 16:16, 13 January 2010 (UTC)

Scientific positions on philosophy[edit]

The article's Scientific positions § has always had problems (see above). I've removed a statement identified as OR in 2007. There's also plenty of comments suggesting Kaku's statement doesn't convey scientific understanding very well, so it needs to be explicitly attributed everywhere its inserted. Apparently whoever rewrote this lately thinks Aristotle's "cosmological argument" is based on motions being caused as per his "Physics", (I changed the first sentence awhile back to refer to Metaphysics because it read something like "the cosmological argument is based on a scientific foundation of Aristotelian Physics"). Well, that's not what its based on. Aristotle had no problem with eternal unchanging (circular) motion. The OR and SYN goes on: "the concepts of cause and effect so necessary to the cosmological argument no longer apply"… To Aristotle, time was infinite but space was not. He made it clear its senseless to speak about what lies beyond the sphere of fixed stars. Which is to say, you didn't just blown his mind dude.—Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 20:35, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

Regarding Kaku, it seems as if his arguments fall apart on their own. I'm not certain that his arguments are valid. When he says that "Gas molecules may bounce against the walls of a container without requiring anything or anyone to get them moving", that is not necessarily true, because in the example cited, the gas molecules were already moving before entering the container, or by sealing the recipient, one could/would generate kinetic energy. I'm not sure this is relevant to the section, but to me it does support the claims that he doesn't convey scientific understanding very well. Pikolas (talk) 23:47, 5 April 2010 (UTC)

The argument about gas molecules is ludicrous, and not at all consistent with accepted scientific understanding of thermodynamics. The movement of gas molecules is not magic, as Kaku appears to be presenting, but rather due to stored energy in the molecules. The reason they continue bouncing against the walls is because heat is being applied to the container from the surrounding material, which has a finite temperature. If the container were placed in a medium that was not applying heat (i.e. at 0 Kelvin) the gas molecules would slow down and eventually stop (when the also reached 0 Kelvin). The movement of the gas molecules required the application of heat to the gas at some point. Meelash (talk) 13:20, 9 April 2010 (UTC) Also, the example in the following paragraph is spurious, since North is not a dimension. North is a defined concept and its definition entails certain properties, one of which is established in this example, namely because it is defined as the direction of a certain point, when at that point, the direction will be undefined. In order to extend this property of this specifically defined concept to the concept of dimension requires a proof that the definition of dimension also implies this property (which it doesn't) therefore the example is spurious and I'm removing it. The poor example does not negate the possible validity of the argument, however, so I'm leaving that. Meelash (talk) 13:28, 9 April 2010 (UTC)

Please don't perceive this as a criticism of the core of your religion, but I don't think you understand the scientific arguments that you're dismissing. (Perhaps take refuge in science having nothing to say as to the "purpose" of the universe..) It might help if you better understood infinite sequences beforehand (see Zeno)..
Kaku's molecules are *not* moving because of a cause (heat) from outside the container, they are moving now because they were already moving just a moment before. If their box stays perfectly isolated forever into the future then the molecules will never, ever, stop moving. Likewise (since laws of Newtonian mechanics are time-reversible), if the box had stayed perfectly isolated for all time in the past, the molecules must have *always* been moving. Thus it is a very simple example of a mathematically valid solution of the equations of physics, for motion which had no beginning.
The relativists objection is that Einstein's General Relativity theory ascribes the universe with four dimensions (space and time) in *exactly* the same way that the surface of the globe is ascribed two dimensions (north and east), using the mathematics of differential geometry. People often ask, what is at/past the edge of the universe? But many solutions to GR have no edge: you could rocket in a straight line forever, and never ever get outside of the universe (and, still without changing direction, could possibly even end up back where you started). So mathematically, it makes no sense to ask "what is below the universe" or "what is to the right of the universe" (such directions have definitions only within the universe). Likewise (at least for many solutions of GR), asking "what happened before/after the universe" is the same because of (the particular mathematical sense in which) the fundamental principle of relativity theory treats time and space on equal footing. Cesiumfrog (talk) 23:34, 26 April 2010 (UTC)

What does the new last line mean? "Neither the physical laws, nor dimensions or logics existed at the beginning of the world, but appeared successively " Myrvin (talk) 09:37, 29 April 2010 (UTC)

Turns out that the book referenced may be pubished by Lulu. Myrvin (talk) 09:43, 29 April 2010 (UTC)

Trinitarian causation[edit]

About a week ago, I added a caveat to the "Objections and counterarguments" section, observing that not all philosophers acknowledge (what that section asserted as a fact) that causality is dependent on time, and adducing the Christian doctrine of the Trinity as an example of a philosophical conception that implies the contrary. This appears to have been deleted without comment. I have now added it again; if the same person wishes to delete it again, I would be grateful if he or she would explain why, in a response to this comment, before doing so. -Agur bar Jacé (talk) 14:45, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

Causal loops and chains[edit]

These parts have become garbled and ungrammatical, although edited lately by only one contributor. It must be severely edited. Myrvin (talk) 19:17, 5 June 2010 (UTC)

Counterarguments in this article are just rubbish[edit]

Physicist Michio Kaku directly addresses the cosmological argument in his book Hyperspace, saying that it is easily dismissed by the law of conservation of energy and the laws governing molecular physics. He gives an example— "gas molecules may bounce against the walls of a container without requiring anything or anyone to get them moving EXCEPT THE WALLS OF A CONTAINER."

I added the words at the end of phrase. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 78.30.154.133 (talk) 20:11, 26 July 2010 (UTC)


Well that's because if you stop a gas molecule it becomes a solid (though even solids vibrate). If there was no side of the container the gas molecule would just keep going until it hits something. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 123.243.173.222 (talk) 19:58, 5 August 2010 (UTC)


The question is which form of the cosmological argument Kaku tries to attacks. Because there is a Problem that, as far as I have read, hasn't yet been adressed in the above example. The movement of the gas molecules are finite and you will not recieve an actual infinite (gas molecules moving) by adding up (finite) movements. "..could move forever, without beginning or end". Well they COULD move forever as an potential infinite - but they can't as an actual infinite. The cosmological argument speaks of an actual finite - the universe - though. Thus I don't see what Kaku brings to the table. Even if we were to look across this point: Then of course the gas molecules could be moving without beginning and without an end and then surely they wouldn't need any cause. It is vitally important to understand the different cosmological arguments though! Kaku's argument does nothing for instance to the Kalam cosmological argument as formulated by William Lane Craig, as his form of argument is that the universe actually HAD a beginning. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 78.187.235.79 (talk) 20:43, 22 August 2010 (UTC)

Calling counterarguments rubbish is formally poor argumentation. Attempting to say there is no first cause because an argument is formally poor does not get at the problem in the first place. Context does not attribute essential characteristics to a things nature unless we're arguing for contingency being that which attributes essential characteristics to the nature of anything. Buddhism does make this claim, so its not off the table, but we're attempting to explicate specific propositional stances of several arguments here are we not?

Aletheus (talk) 20:11, 25 January 2011 (UTC)aletheus

Clarification needed throughout this article[edit]

In the initial introduction of the forms of arguments necessitating a "first" cause, the author originally wrote in esse (existence), but aren't essence and existence ESSENTIALLY and EXISTENTIALLY different? This renders the explanation of cosmological origination (in esse and in fiere) incoherent. To say that light is essentially not light without a candle fails to grasp the essence of light on a functional level. Whether or not candles ever exist does not affect the essential characteristics of light, same goes with the glass of water. The pressure of the sides of the glass do not alter or provide water with its essential characteristics. AS container, the walls of the glass DO accentuate a particular dimension of water's essential nature, but to remove the walls expresses another dimension of water's essence. This explication of the the two arguments fundamentally obfuscates their coherence.

Aletheus (talk) 20:02, 25 January 2011 (UTC)aletheus

in esse[edit]

User Aletheus has changed the English for 'in esse' to 'in essence' or 'essentiality' instead of 'in existence'. There seems no justification for this. The OED clearly has: "In med.L. phrase in esse, in actual existence; opposed to in posse, in potentiality.

1592 Nobody & Some-b. 1299 Like a king in Esse..this night, Lets make a hostile uprore in the Court. 1597 HOWSON Serm. 31 Our spirituall preferments in esse and in posse. 1767 BLACKSTONE Comm. II. 169 Some one, that may by common possibility..be in esse at or before the particular estate determines. 1818 CRUISE Digest VI. 19 All natural persons who are in esse at the time when a will is made."

I think it should be changed back. Myrvin (talk) 20:06, 25 January 2011 (UTC)

You're pointing out a functional state rather than an ontological one. I edited based on the lack of ontological clarity. Maybe it's my lack of familiarity with latin. But the cosmological arguments for origination in esse seem to incline towards essentia, not existentia. There is no causal necessity between the two, and there's no metaphysical ground for essence to be considered interchangeable with existence.

In other words, in esse is not a kinetic state, and does, in fact exist as actual, as a part of one's nature, like genetic switches, things are present in essentia AND in existentia. The essence of a thing does not potentiate its function in the direction of its essence, rather its essence provides the ground for actuation in a particular existential direction. A being's essence prescribes its existence.


Aletheus (talk) 20:15, 25 January 2011 (UTC)aletheus

I am talking about the phrase 'in esse'. It always seems to mean 'existence'. The distinction seems to be between becoming and actually existing. Do you have citations where this is not so? Also, I cannot see where 'in causa' means 'causality'. Myrvin (talk) 20:35, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
I direct you to the hyperlinks (which were the purpose of my edit) in the explication of the in esse/in fieri arguments for cosmological origination. I am not here to cause problems, and have no issues with the edit being reversed. I was just reading through the article, seeing the lack of clarity and attempting to cast light on the explication.

I wonder if the problem is with 'in esse' versus 'esse'. OED has for 'esse': "Essence, essential nature.

1642 SIR E. DERING Sp. on Relig. 14 Dec. v. 16 The very esse of every Synod doth subsist in a double foundation. 1736 BAILEY, Esse [in the school philosophy] is used in the same sense with essence; principally for that which is actual, or actually existing. 1920 Life of Faith 23 June 619/2 The great missionary meeting on the Saturday morning..is not the esse of the movement. 1929 I. M. CLARK Hist. Ch. Discip. in Scot. 208 Some form of law will be necessary to regulate her [sc. the Church's] life and protect that distinctive character which is her esse." That sounds like your meaning.

Now what did Aristotle and Aquinas use and mean? I am looking. Myrvin (talk) 21:21, 25 January 2011 (UTC)

Maybe not. This book on Aquinas [1] has esse as existence all over the place.Myrvin (talk) 21:32, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
Also, this [2] seems definitive and maybe where the article text came from. Myrvin (talk) 21:41, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
I see your point. And in accordance with this being a collection of human knowledge, and NOT a forum for the actual "Truth" of the situation, have no problems correcting my edit. That being said, this explication still does not get at the core of the formal grounds for either argument: the explication needs work per my critique of the problem above.

Aletheus (talk) 03:06, 26 January 2011 (UTC)aletheus

Machine Elf 1735 edits[edit]

These latest edits have turned the article's view of Aristotle on its head. There seems to be no discussion here, and, in the edits, I can see no references or quotations to support the argument that A was against the C argument. So, at the moment, this looks like Elf's own research or opinion. Perhaps there is more to come. I shall try to find out more about what others think of A's view. Myrvin (talk) 09:49, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

Oh, I hoping to turn it on it's ear, so it maybe needs some more work. I did get distracted...
You know, I personally wouldn't have said that Aristotle was against "the" Cosmo Arg, but from the depiction here, with its focus on efficient cause... that really wasn't the gist of his argument but it was something he argued against... against infinite chains of efficient cause. Why would he argue for that in an eternal cosmos? What he wants in the Physics and Metaphysics, really is more like the in esse view than the in fieri view (not this: #The argument). But it doesn't seem right to compare Aristotle directly with St.TA because their purposes are so different, (plus, TA had more sophisticated logic at his disposal). Leibniz seems more contemporary...
Many authors just seem to skip right over Aristotle and start with TA (not unreasonably). I think editors sometimes use TA's discussions of Aristotle or something... And so many translations say God, Him, Soul, etc. very anachronistic. Anyway, I'll add some more refs and feel free to help... I was concerned it was getting too long.—Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 20:36, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

Your argument seems to be that the Prime Mover is not the First Cause. And A argued for the first and against the second. And later thinkers confused the two things and said that it was god. Even though A did say that it was god (or Zeus). Am I getting this right? And Zeus (plus maybe others) is incapable of interfering with the world. (Isn't this Deism?) I think this piece is getting very confused. We need citations and quotations from commentators on Aristotle to bolster and clarify the idea. Myrvin (talk) 14:55, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

First (prime) in the sense of logically prior, and first (prime) in the sense of the outer most sphere. But not the first temporally, (and certainly not by an act of creation, even volition, or with any kind of intent). And, ironically, also the final cause... at least, hierarchically (although some authors get a bit neoplatonic and talk about emanating). Some authors ascribe a "first" efficient cause (of everything) via that final cause... but that's going overboard... at most, the Sun as efficient cause of sub-lunar natural motion, and excluding chance...
I said he argued against first efficient cause (simpliciter). In both the Physics and Metaphysics he discusses the prime mover. I did say he intended the prime mover to be understood as divine, although he doesn't say that in the Physics. I didn't say medieval theologians mistook the prime mover for divinity... but realistically, it's nothing like Zeus either, is it? Except in being chief amongst peers... But Aristotle would prefer just the one (for parsimony). Calling it Deism is anachronistic. It's Aristotle theology, he obviously wasn't Catholic.
Well, I've picked up some welcome pointers from your comments and attempt to make improvements shortly, and I do have few secondary refs to go with the two primary refs I added. I think it reads clearly, so I'm not sure what's "confusing"? Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 20:36, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

Since Aristotle is thought to have influenced TA, then A is worth mentioning. It is you who say:

first cause, often confused with the idea of a "prime mover" or "unmoved mover"

So you need to say why and by whom. Perhaps it would be better to start with saying that A did argue for a prime mover, rather than simply saying he argued against FC. I have seen no writers who say what you say about A and the First Cause. Russell says the FC argument "is derived from A's argument of the unmoved mover." Guthrie et al [3] p. 252 say that "The chief arguments for an unmoved mover being the First Cause were in the Physics; the chief account of its nature is in Metaphysics Λ." I would find it difficult to help with citations because most people I have read DO mention A, as at least, a precurser of the CA, and nobody says he argued against it. Bechler [4] p79 is worth reading for your point on infinity. He seems to think that A did argue in both directions. It is not as simple as saying A "argued against the idea of a First Cause."

Also see Brentano et al [5] p.61. Possibly in your favour is [6] p 82.

P.S. I was of course referring to the concept of Deism, not the historical movement. A was certainly not a catholic, but then neither were the deists. Myrvin (talk) 10:14, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

First cause.[edit]

Everthing that we observe has a beginning, it exists and it has an end. This can be noted symbolically as (0<u<1), where '0' is the beginning, 'u' is the point 'now' in which there is consciousnes of the observer and '1' is the end and the totality of existence. Consciousnee of the observer of his 'self' allows him to observe Nothingness of the duality of the limits of '0' and '1'. However there is no independent Nothingness because there is an observer. But Nothingness does exist as the observer of '0' and '1' and the difference between them because there is no past of (0<u) when 'u' is the identity of '0'. The three elements, those of the beginning, the difference and the end, are the static and invariable identity of one Nothingness and they are the Nothingness. By observing the duality of '0' and '1' the observer creates difference between the two. The difference is located inside the one Nothingness Observation of the duality changes it into four elements. The difference between two and four motivates for the next observation which changes four into eight elements and so on in steps of 2 to power of 'n' parts 1/2 to power of 'n', for all 'n' in (0<n<oo) within the static '1'. The internal dynamism cannot be stoped. KK (78.146.73.231 (talk) 15:53, 13 April 2011 (UTC)). The three elements of the eternal, static, Trinity, namely those of the observer, of that which he observes and of the difference between the two, can each change idividually in itself but not replace each other. When the observer is perfect he is NOthingness of the I and he is identical with himselve as that which he observes. The diference is also Nothingness. The observer, in that state, observes static duality as the reflection of that duality within himself. This creates four elements, two on the inside and two on the outside. By oberving the four elements, motivated by the difference, he creates eight elements and so on, growing as 2 to power 'n' in each new observation for all (0<n<oo). The result is dynamism within the static '1'. KK (81.159.57.213 (talk) 19:50, 8 September 2013 (UTC))

The talk page is for suggesting or debating changes to the article. The relevance of the above to such a suggestion or debate (or, for that matter, to the article in any way) is not clear. Is the editor recommending that it go into the article? It reads to me like tangential Original Research. TheScotch (talk) 09:44, 20 April 2014 (UTC)

Big Bang and Copenhagen.[edit]

If we assert that the Big Bang was a quantum event, and knowing that a frequently accepted notion of quantum paradoxes (The Copenhagen interpretation) asserts that the event does not resolve into discrete quantum space from statistical space unless it is observed then we may ask who observed the Big Bang.

If you do not like this question, well then OK. Its turtles all the way down anyway. I guess the search for ontological meaning gets confused with cosmological metaphysics whenever we think about it. This entire article is metaphysics and as such we may spin any theory we like provided is is self consistent. EdEveridge (talk) 23:22, 4 October 2011 (UTC)

That's really very clever, but the universe would be said to have “collapsed”, were it ever observed, while a notional universal wavefunction lends itself to an account of ongoing decoherence without stipulating a special role for the observer rather than the measure, (on any interaction with the universe She becomes entangled, but the superposition never truly “collapses”). So, for some interpretations of Copenhagen, it could just as well argue for Her non-existence, thus far…. Self consistency is negotiable, what was it Bohr said, behind every great truth? You're thinking of Math, no? Metaphysics traffics more in style and depthiness, or who would listen?—Machine Elf 1735 02:02, 5 October 2011 (UTC)

I think that the Big Bang can be said to be an event without requiring it to be a quantum event or invoking the Copenhagen Interpretation. It is quite clear that the Big Bang happened. This does NOT imply "turtles all the way down". Proving conclusively that it is a quantum event is more difficult. Proving that the Copenhagen Interpretation is the correct one has not been done by anyone. Since there are at least 3 interpretations of QM, there may be more that we haven't thought of. Lehasa (talk) 01:27, 28 January 2013 (UTC)

Motivation for change.[edit]

Change always has a cause. That cause is motivation which can manifest itself in many forms. The basic and the first manifestation is the Universal Motivation originating from the ‘perfect centre’. Motivation. Universal Motivation is the reason why the whole of our reality is dynamic even though Universal Motivation itself is static and it does not change. ‘First cause’ Talk Cosmological argument. Human reality, which consists of three space times, those of matter, material world and the immaterial space time, is motivated from the perfect centre but at the same time that which was created by motivation remains in permanent imbalance. This manifests itself as the static difference which is not change. To observe difference the observer must compare the state of a static unit in two moments ‘now’, one ‘before’ and the other ‘after’ change. The change itself is not observed. The sum of static units of time ‘now’ adds up and it is manifested as flowing time resulting from differences. Change, contained in the gap between two ‘now’, has variable velocity and the variation is organized into converging spiral. At the largest ring of the spiral velocity of changes is slowest due to weak motivation from the perfect centre. Examples are long lives of galaxies or atoms. At the opposite end, in the centre of the spiral, velocity of changes is fastest and it applies to electromagnetism and units of gravity which exist for very short periods of time. Electromagnetism and gravity motivate in addition to the motivation from the perfect centre. Changes are in agreement with the laws of nature represented by the properties of the existing units which are beings motivated. Example of motivation by electromagnetism, where changes are directed by the laws of nature, is human body. KK (78.146.56.15 (talk) 10:19, 7 October 2011 (UTC))

Objections and counterarguments introduction[edit]

I've added an original research warning to the "Objections and counterarguments" section in regard to the introduction of that section, which currently appears to be a citation-free rant with little connection to the rest of the section. Paul Vernaza (talk) 05:21, 27 November 2011 (UTC)

This section pretty clearly needs to be revamped. I would propose putting any of the authors objections that are to be taken seriously into a new section titled something like "Plausibility of the Premises of Kalaam Cosmological Argument" (Since it seems to be the Kalaam variety that is being addressed) With two subsections one for each premise. These could futher be split up into criticism/response.

I think its important to include the objections he raises, such as quantum fluctuations undermining the first premise and the claim that something before the big bang could have existed and could have existed for an indefinite amount of time and hence does not require a cause. I think its also important to include responses along the lines of 1) the quantum fluctuations that generate virtual particles (assuming this is the QFs the author is speaking of) in vacuum are not a real example of something coming from nothing as the vacuum is not nothing but an absence of matter, certainly there is still empty space in which the physical laws governing the universe still operate.

As for the second criticism it seems unclear that this pre big bang state that has existed forever without a cause should not be put under the section of "identity of the first cause" since what the author is suggesting is in fact a first cause, just as concluded by the argument. The real question that remains is: why think this is "God" in the way humans tend to conceive of him.

Im going ahead and removing the citation free claims about the majority of philosophers/scientists ect. Morris249 (talk) 1 December 2011

Removed OR[edit]

The following section appears to my uneducated eye to be a synthesized argument.

The argument, again, in its most common form, is this:

Whatever begins to exist has a cause. The Universe began to exist. Therefore, the Universe had a cause.

Several objections can be raised to the above formulation: First, quantum fluctuations have been observed and seem not to be caused by anything. Thus the first premise of the argument is considered untrue. Secondly, the notion that the "universe began to exist" is highly speculative at best. Proponents of this argument are guessing that the universe began to exist, but this guess is based on nothing other than our ignorance of what happened before the big bang. By definition, we cannot claim that the universe did not exist in some form prior to the big bang, if we have no clue of what happened prior to the big bang. It seems that "The universe began to exist" is an Argument from Ignorance. Thirdly, just like we don't know if the universe began to exist or not, we have no way of knowing whether anything that might have caused the universe, did itself start to exist. Thus, as per the structure of this argument, whatever allegedly "caused" the universe to start existing, is itself predicated on some entity external to itself having caused it. Hence, the question: If God created the universe, what created God? Some would say that nothing created God and that God is infinite in time and has always existed.


If the editor who added it can provide reliable sources, I would have no objection to re-insertion. TreacherousWays (talk) 16:49, 10 January 2012 (UTC)

Problems with "Scientific positions" Section[edit]

"The theory is said to assume many aspects of how the universe came to be without scientific analysis, rather a monotheistic religious outlook. Most scientists argue that "God" is not a scientifically proven cause, considering current acceptable evidence does not verify a deity’s existence.

Some cosmologists and physicists argue that a challenge to the cosmological argument is the nature of time, "One finds that time just disappears from the Wheeler–DeWitt equation"[cite this quote] - Carlo Rovelli. The Big Bang theory states that it is the point in which all dimensions came into existence, the start of both space and time.[28] Then, the question "What was there before the Universe?" makes no sense; the concept of "before" becomes meaningless when considering a situation without time.[28] This has been put forward by J. Richard Gott III, James E. Gunn, David N. Schramm, and Beatrice Tinsley, who said that asking what occurred before the Big Bang is like asking what is north of the North Pole.[28] However, some cosmologists and physicists do attempt to investigate what could have occurred before the Big Bang, using such scenarios as the collision of membranes to give a cause for the Big Bang.[29]"

This assumes that the Argument relies on temporal causation, which it does not. On the contrary, the Argument calls for an atemporal God who atemporally caused the first temporal thing so as to create time itself. (The "first temporal thing" could easily be the Singularity at the Moment of the Bang.)

In other words, it is precisely that nothing came before the Bang that validates the Argument, namely that running out of temporal causes necessitates an atemporal cause. (Note: A "cause" can be an object origin as well as an event cause, the latter being the colloquial use of the word. For example, matter-antimatter creations not caused by any event still originate ("are caused") by the field of neutral energy in which the particles separate.)

While I am suggesting placing this in the Article, if nothing else to bring that Section in line with WP:NPOV, I am still looking for sources from which to do so (other than my own paper, although if someone else were to cite me on here that would be a different story). The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 08:50, 27 April 2012 (UTC)

A breakdown of temporal causation does not necessitate an atemporal cause. If that was true, then an atemporal "First Cause" would require its own atemporal cause. To say that the First Cause is the only thing that does not require a cause (temporal or not) has already been refuted in the article as a case of special pleading; arbitrarily designating a cause as an uncaused/first cause does not equate to proof that this is the case. There's no good reason to delve into the distinction between temporal and atemporal causation on this page when both kinds are already covered. I'd also suggest that trying to avoid violating NPOV by advising that other people could cite your (already-refuted) argument is still a violation of the spirit of NPOV. 198.199.134.100 (talk) 00:42, 22 June 2013 (UTC)

Can I just add - another big problem with the section is that it falsely suggests that the idea of "no before the big bang" is new, ironically ignoring the fact that Saint Augustine first stated this a millenium and a half ago...in turn quoted by Stephen Hawking. "As we shall see, the concept of time has no meaning before the beginning of the universe. This was first pointed out by St. Augustine. When asked: What did God do before he created the universe? Augustine didn't reply: He was preparing Hell for people who asked such questions. Instead, he said that time was a property of the universe that God created, and that time did not exist before the beginning of the universe." [Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time (New York: Bantam, 1988), p. 8] — Preceding unsigned comment added by Frduane (talkcontribs) 11:24, 17 July 2012 (UTC)

Do you mind if I stick that Hawking/Augustine quote in the Section in question? You know, for WP:NPOV reasons and such. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 04:19, 10 August 2012 (UTC)

Relevance of Cline Quote to the identity of the first cause?[edit]

I've been involved in some recent edits to the "Identity of the first cause" section. Historically, you see, the Aristotelian apparatus taken for granted by medieval philosophers provided a means for making the connection between an unmoved mover and an omnipotent, omniscient, perfect being. So, citing Aquinas' Summa Contra Gentiles, I added a paragraph to that effect to the "Identity of the first cause" section. It was replaced by another user, one apparently as friendly to the cosmological argument as I am, who eliminated the reference to Aquinas and replaced it with a quote from Ganssle. (as an aside, Ganssle doesn't seem to note that Aquinas' proof of God's attributes required the Aristotelian apparatus, which is something that needs to be noted. I'll see if I can find a source for that tidbit, I have a couple books by Edward Feser that might do the trick)

Now, this is an encyclopedia. Anyone who wants the page to be neutral, when they see that someone added something in favor of the cosmological argument (especially in a section devoted to criticisms of it!), will want to add something against it to balance things out. That is an understandable, even admirable, impulse for an editor intent on keeping up the quality of this page to have. I have no problem with that impulse. I don't even have a problem with the addition of some statement from a critic of the cosmological argument to balance out my edit. What I have a problem with is the specific statement that was used in this case.

The statement added was one by Austin Cline. I quote: Another objection is that the argument concludes that a “god” exists, but if so, this god must have a cause (according to the same argument). This leads to an infinite regress of causes (gods) unacceptable to the theist, so most believers make an exception for their god, asserting that it doesn’t need a cause — but there is no obvious reason why this exception cannot be applied to the universe, too. If a god “just is,” why can’t the universe “just be?”

I have no problem with the content of the Cline quote. It's a valid objection to the cosmological argument, especially the unsophisticated forms used by pop apologists. My problem is with its location. It has absolutely nothing to do with questioning the identity of the first cause. As such, it doesn't belong in the section "Identity of the first cause." It just doesn't fit. It makes no sense where it is.

There does seem to be a place where it would fit in, however. That place would be the section immediately above the one I edited: "What caused the first cause?" That section already takes note of Cline's objection, but reduces it to a single sentence, "The problem with arguing for the First Cause's exemption is that it raises the question of why the First Cause is indeed exempt."

My suggestion is this: that the Cline quote be removed from the "Identity of the first cause" section (possibly to be replaced by an on-topic quote from a different critic, or a statement that proving the divine attributes requires an Aristotelian framework), that the one-sentence summary of his position in "What caused the first cause" section be deleted, and that the summary be replaced by the quote itself. Or else, the quote could be placed after the summary. Really, anything that gets the Cline quote to the section it belongs in would improve the article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 98.144.40.240 (talk) 22:16, 15 July 2013 (UTC)

Status of the Cosmological Argument in modern philosophy?[edit]

The article currently maintains that "[The] cosmological argument is one of which many Christians, Muslims, Hindus, and other theists all around the world believe gives proof that their version of God does exist as he is the only logical cause of all effects in our universe. Many other philosophers have posited cosmological arguments both before and since Aquinas."


Both of these statements may be literally true, but neither says anything about the status of the Cosmological Argument in modern philosophy nor does the article as a whole seem to. I suspect that the Cosmological Argument has had in philosophy virtually no serious standing for well over a century, that it is generally considered to have been categorically refuted, but I have no citations with which to establish that this is indeed the case (or for that matter that it is not the case). I object also to the way the statements are expressed, which strikes me as implicit POV: 1) "Many Christians" is not necessarily most Christians, and my sense is that reputable theology has long ceased to attempt to prove the existence of God through analytical, logical argument. 2) "Since Aquinas" necessarily means since the thirteenth century. Aquinas died in 1274. It's rather more to the point whether historically significant philosophers have fairly recently (within the last century or so) "posited cosmological arguments". I suspect they have not. TheScotch (talk) 09:26, 20 April 2014 (UTC)

Furthermore the phrase "as he is the only logical cause of all effects in our universe" sounds as if the article is taking a position. The passage as a whole is misleading. I'm removing most of it but leaving (for now) "other philosophers have posited cosmological arguments before and since Aquinas" to preserve the segue into the next section. TheScotch (talk) 09:23, 10 May 2014 (UTC)