- Everything that exists has an explanation of its existence (either in the necessity of its own nature or in an external cause)
- If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is God
- The universe exists
Then he looks at what follows from those premises. He combines 1 and 3 to get
4. The universe has an explanation of its existence
and then he combines 2 and 4 to get
5. Therefore, the explanation for the universe's existence is God
WLC then says that this is a logically airtight argument. This is true provided you accept the premises 1-3. However, there is very little justification for them, it seems to me that his only argument is that they seem obvious. He spends the rest of the page arguing against attacks of points 1 and 2, but he never actually justifies them himself. This seems to be a common tactic of WLC, he makes claims and instead of justifying them he challenges his opponents to tear them down. This is nonsense, he is the one making a claim, he should support that claim.
But I will go ahead and point out what is wrong with his assumptions anyway, the first one certainly seems like a reasonable thing to assume. It is just common sense. Too bad it is incorrect. As was discussed recently in comments, at the quantum level things pop into and out of existence all the time without a cause. (I've also seen this on science programs for further reference, I think it was on fabric of the cosmos. A really interesting program and free if you have amazon prime). So we have refuted the claim that everything (which isn't necessary of its own nature) has a cause.
But suppose we hadn't refuted claim 1, given that this is simply a common sense argument, shouldn't it only apply to common things? The universe itself is certainly not a common thing and the origin of the universe is vastly different in many respects than anything around today. Why should we expect our common sense to be correct for something so far out of the realm of our experience?
But claim 1 is just warm up, claim 2 is where this argument really comes off the rails for me. Claim 2 is that there are only 2 possibilities, either God is the explanation for the universe, or there is no explanation for the universe. It completely removes any other possible explanation from the table. It simply claims that anything else is impossible. This is a massive claim which has absolutely no justification. Furthermore, the entire proof is supposed to prove that God exists, but claim 2 assumes that as long as there is any explanation for the universe then God exists. This is a false dichotomy in which one half of the dichotomy they simply assume what they are trying to prove.
For the remainder of this post, I am going to dig into what is written in the paragraphs underneath the actual argument and comment on what is there.
Things which exist necessarily exist by a necessity of their own nature. Many mathematicians think that numbers, sets, and other mathematical entities exist in this way.I'm not really sure what this mean, honestly. Does an abstract number 'exist'? When I say exist, I'm thinking about how my computer exists or how my table exists, I'm not thinking about an abstract concept. What does it mean for a mathematical set or a function to 'exist'? I'm not really sure. I think we are playing with the word 'exist' a little bit. And when he says 'God exists', I don't think he is talking in the way numbers exist in a purely abstract fashion, I think he is meaning in the same way my table exists. Going back and forth blurs this a bit and I wonder if that is intentional.
So what reason might be offered for thinking that premise 1 is true? Well, when you reflect on it, premise 1 has a sort of self-evidence about it.Common sense argument, garbage.
Premise 1 is the premise that the atheist typically rejects. Sometimes atheists will respond to premise 1 by saying that it is true of everything in the universe but not of the universe itself. But this response commits what has been aptly called “the taxicab fallacy.”I still don't understand what the taxicab fallacy is, if anyone know please explain.
Some atheists have tried to justify making the universe an exception to premise 1 by saying that it’s impossible for the universe to have an explanation of its existence.
I have never heard an atheist say this (and of course, WLC has no references for it). What I have heard them say is that it is possible that the universe has no cause, that it is simply eternal. This might sound similar but it is very, very different.
The atheist typically asserts the following:
If atheism is true, the universe has no explanation of its existence.
Again, I have never heard an atheist put it this way, and the fact that this is exactly the contrapositive to his claim number 2, it makes me wonder if he has ever come across an atheist who said this or if it is just a convenient fiction to bolster his argument.
Besides that, premise 2 is very plausible in its own right.
Common sense argument again
It follows that if the universe has a cause of its existence, that cause must be a non-physical, immaterial being beyond space and time
Why? Explain why it must be non-physical and why it has to be "beyond space and time". In fact, first explain what "non-physical" and "beyond space and time" even mean.
The argument thus proves the existence of a necessary, uncaused, timeless, spaceless, immaterial, personal Creator of the universe. This is truly mind-blowing!
I agree that is it mind-blowing. How can anyone think that you have argued anything when all you have done is assume all of the stuff that you want to be true?
The page is ended by talking about some specific incident at a talk he went to. It seems to be rehashing the same mistakes listed above so I'm not going to go into specifics on it.