Fredrick Copleston reformulated Aquinas' argument by concentrating on contingency. He proposed his argument in a BBC radio debate in 1947:
1) There are things in this world that are contingent (they 'depend upon' other things to exist– they might not have existed e.g. we would not exist without our parents
2) All things in the world are like this – everything depends on something else for it's existence
3) Therefore there must be a cause of everything in the universe that exists outside of the universe
4) This cause must be a 'necessary' being – one which has no cause outside itself and HAS TO EXIST
5) This necessary being is God
COPLESTON AND RUSSELL'S FAMOUS BBC RADIO DEBATE - 1947
F.C. Copleston proposed his Cosmological argument in a famous BBC radio debate with Bertrand Russell. Russell however refused to accept the notion of a necessary being as one that "cannot be thought of not existing" (i.e. MUST exist) , and concluded that :
1) PARTS OF THE UNIVERSE HAVE A CAUSE - THAT DOESN'T MEAN THE UNIVERSE AS A WHOLE HAS A CAUSE - the regress (chain) of causal events could not be held responsible for the existence of everything in the universe:
“what I am saying is that the concept of cause is not applicable to the total"
Just because each human has a mother does not mean the entire human race has a mother.
2) THERE IS NO CAUSE OF THE UNIVERSE -He reduced the universe to a mere, brute fact, of which it's existence does not demand an explanation.
“I should say that the universe is just there, and that's all."
Russell saw the argument for a cause of the universe as having little meaning or significance. He established it as a “question that has no meaning" and thus proposed: “Shall we pass on to some other issue?"
Copleston's response to Russell's refusal to accept the importance of the issue was to claim:
“If one refused to sit at the chess board and make a move, one cannot, of course, be checkmated."