The Atheist's Cosmological Argument!

So we’ve all heard the cosmological argument

  1. Every finite thing has a cause.
  2. A causal loop cannot exist.
  3. A causal chain cannot be of infinite length.
    Therefore, a First Cause must exist.

I’d like to present a different version

I’d like to start by challenging 2, and stating that a causal loop cannot be logically excluded… and in fact would make the claim that it’s obvious that a causal chain cannot be excluded. I challenge anyone to present a logical argument for why a causal loop could not exist.

As for the concept of a first cause several problems have historically been brought to bear on it.
Such as what caused the uncaused cause to cause something when it did, why not earlier?
For the most part theists have been answering these questions by saying if the first cause were God, and God exists outside time, questions like “when” and “why not earlier” don’t make sense.
But let’s examine what that would imply… if time is a measurement of change… and God is outside time, that means God can’t change… but if ever there existed a state in which there was a God but no time, a change would be necessary for there to be time and by extension a universe, something which God would be incapable of…

So the new Argument would be

  1. Every finite thing has a cause.
  2. A first cause cannot exist.
  3. A causal chain cannot be of infinite length.
    Therefore, A causal loop must exist.

What do you guys think? :wink:

It doesn’t seem like an atheist argument, though if it is a response to the Theist cosmological, then I can see that. In a sense it works against some conceptions of the Big Bang, the ones that were core until fairly recently with the Big Bang as the beginning of both time and all the stuff.

What if doing something at that point in time is simply a facet of the uncaused cause? In a sense you could be asking why did you choose to have your arm there on your body?

From there…
Why can’t there been an infinite chain of causes? Isn’t a loop one kind of infinite chain?

I don’t believe that you can support (3).

I think loops exist all over the place.
Also people are not in a position to define God stuff.

Keep in mind this is more of a fun little argument I dreamt up and not something I actually believe says anything about the nature of the universe… so i’m not even going to try and square it with science… besides, all I need to point out is that science doesn’t disprove it.

Then how did it ever arrive at that time if it had to wait an infinite amount of time prior to getting there… ?

Because an infinite chain of causes would make it impossible for “now” to arrive… see above…

However in a loop… we get to “now” at finite intervals…

Actually the loop is in, these days. I mean, some think there is a Bang to Crunch cycle. I just meant it seemed like a cosmological argument and not especially an atheist one. I mean, perhaps God likes loops.

Perhaps it does it on occasion.

Interesting. Have to mull that. I don’t think that works, but I haven’t hit why yet.

No, I am pretty sure it would suffer the same problem. Sure, in this loop, some finite time would have passed, but we never would have reached this loop, since there would ein infinite loops going back in time.

Given an infinite amount of time, an infinite amount of progress can be made to “get up to here”.
And still have an infinite amount more to go “from here”.

We don’t have to arrive at “this loop” whatever that means… or any particular loop count in order to be HERE in a loop… we arrive HERE at finite intervals…

yes, but there would still be an infinite amount of time - in loops - before this time. I mean, how is it a loop unless we are thinking of repetitions?

Let’s simplify this…

In a causal chain we would have -1, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 ad infinitum… now imagine we were at 7 and asked how could we ever reach 7 given we had to start the count at minus infinity… That’s a problem.

In a loop we have


Now if we were at 1 and you ask how did we ever reach 1… the answer is a finite number… we went through 2, then 3, then 4, then we arrived at 1.

Yes we have reached 1 an infinite amount of times and we will reach 1 an infinite more amount of times… but reaching 1 is not a problem!

You can’t “start” at minus infinity, because there isn’t one to start from. "Infinite means “limitless”.
You can only start from where you are, “here” and then look back infinitely (or forward).
There is no “start” back there, so there is no need to make an infinite progress from it.
No matter what given point back there you want to start from, it takes less than an infinite amount to get “here”.

Sure, it’s finite FROM something in THIS Circuit of the loop. But there would still be infinite Circuits of the loop.

So what? we don’t have to reach some loop count… we only have to reach 1… and no matter how many circuits we go back… the distance to 1 is finite.

It comes down to whether you prefer the idea of a causal loop to a first cause, and I’m not seeing any deductive arguments for or against either one here.

I'm trouble seeing how causal chains can be the kind of thing that 'loops'.  We see cycles of events in nature, but because time moves forward in one direction, and because there are other things to compare it to, one instance of an event is unique to the next.  Every cycle we see in reality is  of the form 1A, 2A, 3A, 4A, 1B, 2B, 3B, 4B.   This looping would obviously be an infinite regress, it would just be an infinite regress of similar-seeming elements. I don't see how a series of events proceeding like .34343434343... is somehow less of an infintie regress than an infinite series of events proceeding like .3141592...
 It's not a proposition that makes sense to me yet.

But the universe would need to reach this cycle of the loop. It’s not about what we need to do, it’s just that it suffers the same weakness, if it is one, that an infinite series does. Or it is not a loop, it’s just a finite series that does not repeat. I understand how within the loop all times are finitely ‘distant’. You could say a loop is an infinite series that has a regular repeating pattern, unlike, say, PI.

C’mon man… the original cosmological argument is stated as a deductive argument… clearly it’s not valid in it’s current form because there is a hidden premise that says “these 4 options are the only possibilities”… but add that in there and bam, you have a deductive argument.

Now, whether any of the premises are true or not… that’s what we’re here to find out.

Before we try to square it with nature or observation… let’s agree on the concept that’s being proposed… clearly 1A, 2A, 3A, 4A, 1B, is not a loop… and very much would lead to an infinite regress…
A loop by definition ends where it began… so if we began at 1A we would end up looping back to 1A at some point… if we begin at 2A we loop back to 2A at some point… etc

The concept itself is logically consistent, I mean you can program a computer to loop something forever… of course it can’t do it because a computer isn’t eternal… but it serves as a proof of concept all the same.

There’s nothing logically inconsistent with a causal chain like A->B->C->A

As for whether or not it’s an infinite regress… I’ll grant you that it IS in fact an infinite regress… but it’s not the problematic kind…

Normally an infinite regress makes arriving at any point along the continuum impossible given that an infinite number of preceding steps would have been necessary to get there…
However, in a loop, all points would be a finite distance from themselves… so regardless of which point you choose the number of steps necessary to get there will be finite in either direction.

Why? Why does the universe have to reach “this cycle”… ?
Like I’ve been trying to point out… cycle counts don’t mean anything… it’s not like we need to reach cycle 29 in order to be here on earth having this discussion… or for there to have been a big bang… or ANYTHING…

NOTHING depends on us reaching “this cycle” or ANY particular cycle… a cycle count is not only unnecessary it’s also utterly irrelevant.

double post

Your number (3) isn’t true.

Because we are in this cycle and not some previous one - where we had the same discussion. To me a loop means that it runs from 0 to, say, a year, and then because it is a loop it goes back to zero, or really Zero is pasted to the end of the year and so it seamlessly flows into the next cycle. Either this looping started at some point - which makes the fact that it is a loop not helpful in this context or it has always been looping. If there is an infinite recurrance of that loop, how did we get through the other cycles before this one?

No, I think I acknowledged that. But again you are looking at it as something ‘we reach’. We will, yes, experience a finite amount of time to any point in time. But if it has been looping, it has looped a finite number of times or an infinite number of times. So see above…

You are explaining about our subjective experience - and yes, we experience nothing outside the loop, everthing in a finite time range. I am talking about the objective looping. How did it reach this cycle? the one that seems like the only one to us.

Think of it as we live in a cd that automatically replays from the beginning. Sure, we experience finite time and finite distances, but the looping is either in an infinite series or it is not. The loop is played an infinite number of times or a finite number. At the objective level of these series of loops, how did it arrive at this loop, even though this loop cannot be distinguished from the other loops, this does not matter. EVen though we will have the experiences we have and from any point on the loop we are a finite distance. Sure if we are listening to song 3, we are only a couple of songs from the first song. But if the CD has been playing for infinite time, then how did the loop get to this instance of playing the loop?

Or let’s take groundhog day. In that time loop Bill Murray’s character carries over memories to the next cycle, so he gets to learn over time and the loops are different from eachother. In your loop nothing is carried over, but there is still a series of loops. In this version Bill Murray wakes up to the same music, remembers nothing about this day and the day goes as it did each time before. Sure, the day is always the same. We could even imagine that his life before the day does not exist except as memory for Bill. But, regardless of the lack of change from cycle to cycle, Bill is still in this cycle. Let’s say it was a finite series. For some reason this loop starts and now we have gone through ten cycles. Well the tenth cycle is not the first one, even though Bill and everyone else does the same things and experiences the same things.

So would also be the case in an infinite series of the loop. So given that prior to this one we are living in, there would have been an infinite number of cycles, all the same loop, how can this cycle be the one playing, since there was an infinite number before? IOW your argument against the infinite series in you earlier post, but applied to loops.

If you still don’t get what I am saying this time, I will break the loop. just for each of our peace of minds.


You are suggesting an “objective timeline” outside the loop… where things don’t loop… it’s like saying sure you have a looped universe and you can reach any point within that universe… but outside that universe where things don’t loop there’s still an infinite regress…

Having an eternal loop is not a problem… having that loop within a universe that has an infinite causal chain IS, however…