I have been in conversation with Ray Ingles over the cause of the universe’s existence. The conversation has been very instructive. I have argued that the contingent universe requires a necessarily existent cause of its existence (ultimately if not also proximately). Moreover, this necessary cause must be an agent and not merely an event cause, i.e. it must have the power to initiate a causal sequence without a prior determining cause.
Ray objected that the cause could be an infinite regress of contingent causes. I think this is a very unpersuasive claim. To illustrate its manifold problems I present the Walt Disney argument.
(1) The hypothesis that Walt Disney made the universe is highly implausible.
(2) We ought to reject any hypothesis of the universe’s origin which is highly implausible.
(3) Therefore, we ought to reject the hypothesis that Walt Disney made the universe.
(4) The hypothesis that Walt Disney made the universe is more plausible than the hypothesis that an infinite regress of finite causes made it.
(5) Therefore, we ought to reject the hypothesis that an infinite regress of finite causes made the universe.
In order for this argument to go through I need to defend (4). So what reason have we to think this is true?
First argument: we have evidence that Walt Disney has created things. Ever heard of Mickey Mouse? Disneyland? “Cinderella” and “Bambi”?
Second argument: we have no evidence of an infinite regress of causes creating anything. (Ray’s own failure to provide a single example corroborates this point.)
But wait. Ray has suggested there is one thing that is explained by appeal to an infinite regress. And what is this one thing?
“This universe. This is explained by that, that is explained by another thing, and so on by induction. What practical experience with the creation of universes do you have to argue differently?”
Unfortunately this “What practical experience with the creation of universes do you have to argue differently?” argument cuts both ways. What practical experience with the creation of the universe does Ray have to argue that it wasn’t created by Walt Disney? A ha! Gotcha!
But wait. A seemingly fatal defeater to my hypothesis looms on the horizon. Walt Disney was born in 1901. The universe is older than that. (Even young earth creationists like Ken Ham agree on that point!) So how could Walt Disney create the universe?
Easy. Ray has already provided us with the tools to defeat this defeater. He said he has no problem with circular chains of causation: A causes B, B causes C and C causes A. So it would seem then that Walt Disney could cause himself to exist along with the whole universe. What a bravura performance!
And you gotta admit, the hypothesis has a certain logic to it. Walt started out with Disneyland. Then after his death Walt Disney World was opened. So it sorta makes sense that before it all Walt would have created Walt Disney Universe all the while planning his theme parks to serve as microcosmoi of his grandest creation. Magical kingdom indeed!
So to sum up, I dealt with the defeater to the Disney hypothesis. Moreover, I pointed out that there is more evidence for Walt Disney creating the universe than an infinite regress of finite causes creating it. But if you still think that the Disney hypothesis is implausible and should be rejected (as I hope you do) then so should Ray’s infinite regress of finite causes explanation.