The Cosmological Argument
- Everything that begins to exists has a cause.
- The universe began to exist.
- Therefore the universe had a cause.
Unfortunately for this argument it fails at the first premise. The set (universe) containing all things (everything in the universe) cannot also contain itself - that's to say, the universe can't contain itself, in some infinite regression of ever larger Russian dolls. Everything, in the context of the premise, means everything in the universe, because everything in the universe has a cause. But everything includes the universe itself. It's just as easy to say the universe doesn't need to have been caused, as it is to say that God doesn't need to have been caused; which of the two statements is simpler? If ever there was a perfect application for Occam's razor, this is it.
There's another problem in the cosmological argument relating to the concept of causation. With the Big Bang, the universe came into existence simultaneously with time and space. At the instant of the Big Bang, time and space did not exist. If time did not exist, causality has no meaning. Causality depends on the existence of time, because cause and effect cannot be simultaneous. Where there's no time, there's no cause.
UPDATE 2009-08-25: Click here for AfF #3