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Starter: Mix-PairShare
Students mix.
I call “Pair”.
Pair up nearest person.
High 5. Not got partner
raise hands to find each
I ask a question – pair
Lesson Aim
To learn about some
of the criticisms of the
David Hume 17111776
Why presume the need for a cause?
Why look for an explanation for the
Is the concept of a necessary being
Hume, argued against a ‘First
Cause’ for the universe. He
maintained that the fact that
everything within the universe has a
cause does not necessarily mean
that the universe itself must have a
cause. Why assume the need for a
cause for the whole chain??
Argument is a posteriori (so begins
familiar to us) – but makes
conclusions about things outside our
Hume argued that we have no
experience of universes being
made, and we cannot speak
meaningfully about the creation of
the universe. To move from
‘everything that we observe has a
cause’ to the ‘universe has a cause’
is too big a leap in logic.
If things within need explanation,
why assume the uni whole does?
BR point.
Furthermore, that opens up another
issue – if reason seek explan 4 univ
as a whole, then reason to do so for
God. Why God different?
3. Like BR, after him, Hume
argued that the notion of a NB
is inconsistent. There is “no
being the non-existence of
which is inconceivable”.
Argument guilty what is called
– “inductive leap of logic” –
why do we need a 1st cause for
the whole chain?? Nothing in
premises lead identify God, a
necessary being, as the cause.
Even if it were reasonable –
why call it God? Premises not
lead logically to that
Immanuel Kant
Central criticism – challenged
notion of necessary existence.
Necessity cannot attach itself
contingent concept like
existence. He rejects this idea.
Not move from physical
premises (we experience) to
metaphysical conclusions.
Kant – a) Existence is not a
property. B) Existence is a
synthetic matter.
Hume also challenged this
notion – no being must
necessarily exist – even if it
does why call it God?
Subject criticism not only field philosophy also science
Anthony Kenny 1931
Kenny bases his observations on
Newton’s Laws of Motion and noted
his First Law of Motion.
A body’s velocity would remain
unchanged unless some other forcesuch as friction-acted upon it.
Kenny thinks that Newton’s law
proves Aquinas wrong. It is possible
that an object can be in one of two
states – stationary or moving at a
constant rate- without any external
force acting on it.
This would appear to mean that
Aquinas’s statement that nothing
moves itself is incorrect.
Modern science
Further challenges to Aquinas’s
ideas regarding the uncaused
cause come from subatomic
Particles have been observed to
disappear and reappear without
any apparent cause.
The Big Bang theory appears to
support the idea of a time when
the universe did not exist.
Since it is not possible to add to
a number of days (Ed Miller) the
universe appears to be finite.
However, some say that the
Big Bang did not mark the
beginning of the universe,
but simply the beginning of
this particular phase of the
universe. Some scientists
argue for an oscillating
universe, where this is only
one of a series of expanding
and contracting universes.
Does the argument have
A posteriori argument –
draws on universally
available evidence.
Long-lasting appeal – offers
way of explaining the
Quote Swinburne.
Puzzled why there is
something rather than
nothing?? Argument strong.
CA fatally flawed relies on
outdated scientific thinking of
Aristotle and the postulation of a
necessary being. Thinking
No substantial proof believing in
God – certainly not the Christian
concept of God. Illogical jump –
name God. Aquinas’ version
even an arg for polytheism – no
6th argument cause all one God
– could five??
Premises only lead to postulate
God as explanation – if we are
not satisfied this conclusion
argument fails (atheist not
forced to theism).
1. Give an outline of
some of the criticisms
of the Cosmological
2. Do you think the
criticisms refute the
theory as a whole???
Mind Map
P: Every event must have a cause.
P: The universe is an event.
C: God is the cause of the universe.
A posteriori,
Long History – Plato,
Most pop
Aquinas –
John L Mackie 19171981 ?????
Mackie responded to the criticisms of
Aquinas (in pack). Modern science
and mathematics had moved on from
the medieval world-view, which was
very hierarchical.
 He defended the idea that there
cannot be an infinite regression of
 It is not logical to think of a railway
train consisting simply of an infinite
number of carriages; the train must
ultimately have an engine to drive it.
Nor can you have a watch which has
a movement determined by an infinite
sequence of cogs and springs; the
movement must begin with the
mainspring and end with the hands
on the face of the watch.