Shazam Cosmological Argument

Critique of Apologetics, Philosophy, Thought Experiments

Thought Experiment

Setup

Alice and Bob believe the universe was created by the Great-Universe-Creating-Thingy (GUCT). According to Alice and Bob’s faith GUCT is ineffable and cannot be described nor understood. The GUCT is eternal and beyond time and space. It is powerful and wicked smart. Also the Great-Universe-Creating-Thingy is blue.

Alice and Bob use the famous, unassailable and air tight Shazam Cosmological Argument to prove the Great-Universe-Creating-Thingy created the universe.

1) Whatever begins to exist has a cause;
2) The universe appears to have begun to exist;

Therefore:

3) The universe has a cause.

1) The universe has a cause;
2) If the universe has a cause, then an uncaused, ineffable Creator … um Thingy of the universe exists that sans the universe is outside of time and space, powerful and wicked smart. It would also help if it were blue;

Shazam!

3) An uncaused, ineffable Great-Universe-Creating-Thingy exists, that sans the universe is outside of time and space, powerful and wicked smart. Also clearly blue in color.

Questions

  • Are you convinced by this argument that the Great-Universe-Creating-Thingy created the universe?
  • What flaws do you see in this argument?
  • Does the blueness of the Great-Universe-Creating-Thingy seem arbitrary?
  • How is the Great-Universe-Creating-Thingy different than your tradition’s explanation for the beginning of the universe?

This post is in the series Thought Experiments for Believers.

3 thoughts on “Shazam Cosmological Argument

  1. So, from our knowledge of standard causes, we deduce that there must be a non-standard cause at the bottom of it all – which acts just like a standard cause, because that’s how we know about it – but it’s a non-standard cause.
    Looks like my work is done here. Happy worshipping!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting… And yes, I think the first step is valid: if the universe has a beginning, something caused it to begin, which makes the existence of a Universe-Creating Being extremely likely. It stands to reason (I think!) that such being would be hard for us to fathom – and extremely powerful and intelligent seems quite likely as well. So far, so theistic.

    The problem is of course the blueness: if this Being is not part of the created, physical universe, I find it hard to believe that it would display any visible colour. It also seems totally irrelevant.

    And this is where I feel that the parallel with the Christian Creator breaks down. As far as I can tell, the Christian version of the Creator doesn’t add that kind of details without reason; nothing we say about the Creator God is irrelevant to the rest of the story.

    What we do say is that this Creator has chosen to communicate with us humans, otherwise we wouldn’t know anything about him. And that takes the discussion beyond the argument presented here: we don’t say “God is love” simply because we’d like him to be, but because he has demonstrated it through his actions, particularly as seen in the life of Jesus.

    I think the main problem with this caricature is that it gives the impression that Alice and Bob’s belief came out of nowhere and the argument was invented to support the pre-existing belief. I don’t think this is true (well, it might be in their fictional case, but it’s not true of biblical theism).

    Once you’ve “discovered” the universe, you either have to decide it’s always been there (like most pagan religions) or that it had a beginning and thus a “beginner”, a creator. The Bible and science agree that there was a beginning; we just draw the logical conclusion that there must therefore have been a creator.

    At which point I refer you back to the beginning of this comment…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. David,

      You have correctly inferred and pointed out the most obvious point I was hoping to convey: the blueness of the GUCT is arbitrary.

      The second point I was hoping to elicit, is the parallel between William Lane Craig’s Kalam Cosmological Argument and the GUCT. The personal nature of the creator the Kalam asserts is precisely as arbitrary as the blueness of the GUCT.

      The much subtler but most profound intuition I am hoping to stir is this: all of the attributes of the creator asserted by the Kalam are just as arbitrary as blueness.

      The primary reason for this is that science does not know if the universe is caused or if it were what such a cause might be. This means that humanity as a whole doesn’t know. I am certain that I don’t know. And the hard truth is that you do not know either.

      By asserting arbitrary attributes to an arbitrarily asserted creator, you have created a god in your image, not the other way around.

      Liked by 1 person

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