Examine the view that the cosmological argument provides an explanation for the world and is a trustworthy basis for belief in God? (21) The cosmological argument is an à posterioriargument based ultimately on the existence of the cosmos, and the indication it leads to a supreme being generally identified as God. The existence of the universe, the argument claims needs an explanation or a cause, the only appropriate cause for this could be God, this argument is based on experience rather than theoretical logic. Aristotle claims ‘if there is movement and change then there must be an unmoved mover’ although there is one huge problem with this, why does God have no cause? Most scientists argue that "God" is not a scientifically proven cause, whereas Aristotle would argue that God is ‘a remote and unchanging being who allows his world to be changeable so that it can gradually move towards the perfection which he already enjoys.’ A further fault with this would be the principle that the universe can’t explain its own existence, Why is it here at all?
Outline two key objections to the Ontological Argument and explain the responses made to them. The ontological argument was first introduced by Anselm in the ‘Prosologian’. It is an a priori argument as it is not based on empirical evidence but id deductive and analytic in that it allows one to use logical reasoning to reach a logically necessary conclusion which, in theory, cannot be disputed. Anselm defines God as ‘that than which nothing greater can be conceived’ (TTWNGCBC) and states that everyone, theist or not, can accept this definition. He argues that ‘the fool’ in Psalm 53 can conceive of God but fails to believe he exists.
Evans and Manis define the Cosmological argument as using cosmos and the universe to infer the existence of God ( Evans and Manis, pg. 67). This argument is often times known as the “first cause argument” because they imply that God must have existed or caused the universe to exist ( Evans and Manis, pg.67). McCloskey argues that the cosmological argument is one that suggests an argument for the world as we know it today (McCloskey, pg.63). McCloskey states that one of the major problems is believing in an uncaused first cause.
Aquinas generalizes everything in the universe based on the small amount of things he has actually seen or experienced. These generalizations should not be made without strong evidence. It can also be argued that not taking your surroundings into account whilst considering the universe is a huge error of over simplification, which makes the argument of induction seem week. David Hume however had a very strong empiricist view on the universe and can say that the assumptions based on what’s around us can only be applied to the present and do not provide any information on the past or future of the universe. Bertrand Russell also put forth the argument that the universe is a brute fact and it created itself.
Secondly, Aquinas concludes that common sense observation tells us that no object can create itself. In other words, some previous object creates it, but there cannot be an endless string of objects causing other objects to exist. Aquinas believes that ultimately there must have been an uncaused first cause that begins the chain of existence for all things. I quite assent to the idea that there must have a first unmoved mover to put the universe into motion. As we all know, everything has a beginning and an end, so as to the universe.
He then trounces the argument, saying, “If we use the causal argument at all, all we are entitled to infer is the existence of a cause commensurate with the effect to be explained, the universe, and this does not entitle us to postulate an all-powerful, all-perfect uncaused cause. The most it would entitle one to conclude is that the cause is powerful enough and imperfect enough to have created the sort of world we know.”1 He then states that because the world is imperfect, and because we see a great deal of unnecessary evil, if we reason that there is a creator at all, he must be either “a malevolent powerful being or . . . a well-intentioned muddler.”2 It would seem that Mr. McCloskey assumes that the universe as we know it (with its current defects) must be the world as it was created, without considering the theist’s appeal to special revelation as to why this may be so.
It is also deductive, so the conclusion is the only possible one that could be deduced give the premises. Therefore, it is theoretically strong. Anselm proposed in the Proslogian that the existence of God was true for him by the virtue of faith and logical necessity. He proposed a reductio ad absurdum argument that aimed to demonstrate he impossibility of denying God’s existence. His first form of the argument runs as follows: (P1) God is that than which nothing greater can be conceived (P2) If God exists in the mind alone (in intellect) then a greater being can be conceived (in re) (P3) God to be the greatest being, has to existing the mind and in reality, otherwise another being would be greater than God.
The cosmological argument has several different forms and seeks to prove the existence of an external necessary being which caused the universe to come into existence. This external agent according to the cosmological argument is God. It is an a posterior argument meaning it is based on our experience of the universe around us. Plato and Aristotle were the first to postulate views on the idea that the universe could not exist without a mover. They both argued that the fact of motion needs a prior agency to motivate it and this mover itself would not need a further mover itself as it would be a prime mover, a necessary being.
J. Ayer claimed that to speak of a designed universe is meaningless. Unless we could say what the world would have been like without a designer, we cannot reach the conclusion that this world is designed. Who establishes that there is beneficial order in the universe? How do we argue from that to the conclusion that god has designed it? Swinburne counted this by claiming that the order in the universe does require an explanation.
Explain Anselm’s ontological argument (25) Anselm uses an a priori argument bases on reason to prove gods existence, underlying all Anselm’s points is the idea that god must exist in reality by his own definition. Anselm begins by pointing out that even fools (atheists) can understand that god is the greatest conceivable being as it is what makes god who he is. However the fool dispute Anselms idea that god exists in reality, the fool is convince that god exists only in our understanding. Anselm says that the fool is silly, if he was only to exist as an idea in our understanding a greater being could be thought of meaning god would no longer be the greatest conceivable being. Therefore God must exist to meet his definition; those who deny