The Instigator
Pro (for)
4 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Resolved: The Leibnizian Cosmological Argument is Sound - 2

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/13/2012 Category: Religion
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,109 times Debate No: 21998
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (6)
Votes (1)




Resolved: The Leibnizian Cosmological Argument is Sound.


1. Acceptance only
2. Opening arguments
3. Clash
4. Closing arguments/clash

The Leibnizian Cosmological Argument (LCA)
  1. Every existing thing has an explanation of its existence, either in the necessity of its own nature or in an external cause.
  2. If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is God.
  3. The universe is an existing thing.
  4. Therefore the explanation of the universe is God.
I cite the The Nature of God by A.W. Pink [1] to describe the complexity of the Lord:

[F]rom a review of the perfections of God, it appears that He is an all-sufficient Being. He is all-sufficient in Himself and to Himself. As the First of beings, He could receive nothing from another, nor be limited by the power of another. Being infinite, He is possessed of all possible perfection. When the Triune God existed all alone, He was all to Himself. His understanding, His love, His energies, found an adequate object in Himself. Had He stood in need of anything external, He had not been independent, and therefore would not have been God.

He created all things, and that for himself (Colossians 1:16), yet it was not in order to supply a lack, but that He might communicate life and happiness to angels and men and admit them to the vision of His glory. True, He demands the allegiance and services of His intelligent creatures, yet He derives no benefit from their offices, all the advantage redounds to themselves (Job 22:2-3). He makes use of means and instruments to accomplish His ends, yet not from a deficiency of power, but oftentimes to more strikingly display His power through the feebleness of the instruments.

I ask readers to take note that we should rationally accept an argument as sound if the affirmation of its premises is more plausible than the negation.



I'm fairly new to this and I hope that I'm doing this correctly. I accept your challenge? Thank you.
Debate Round No. 1


Welcome to DDO Saoirsesfather. I hope you enjoy your stay.

The Leibnizian Cosmological Argument
  1. Every existing thing has an explanation of its existence, either in the necessity of its own nature or in an external cause.
  2. If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is God.
  3. The universe is an existing thing.
  4. Therefore the explanation of the universe is God.

Premise 1

An Overview of Modality

Modality is a typology of argumentation that bases its premises in the contingency or necessity of their content. Something is necessary if it could not have failed to exist. The laws of mathematics are necessarily true; it seems reasonable that mathematical truths such as one plus one making two hold true irrespective of how the world may function. The world could exist in the exact opposite manner as it does now and one plus one would still make two. God is also a necessary being, a being that logically could not have failed to exist. It is in the very nature of God that he essentially possess all compossible perfections. Necessary existence is in itself a perfection, and thus God must possess it. That is to say that the very nature of God necessarily explains his existence.

Something is contingent if it could have failed to exist. Most things exist contingently. Each human might not have existed, their respective parents may not have met or may have opted not to have children. Thus, our existence is contingent. The universe appears to exist contingently as well. It seems that the universe may have developed in such a way that the planets were created in different positions, with different respects to habitability. The stars we observe may have been blindingly bright or too dim to see. The Earth itself may not have come into existence. As the universe is contingent, it cannot explain its own existence, for if its own nature entails its existence then it must have necessarily existed.

The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR)

The Principle of Sufficient Reason claims that all contingent beings must have explanations. I will defend several arguments that support the PSR.

First, it would seem that the PSR requires no defense. All evidence gathered by our sense perception seems to support the universal and undeniable affirmation this principle. Indeed, if we admit the first premise to be invalid, then there seems to lack any logical reason that things do not simply pop into and out of existence. However, it appears that there is no evidence to prove that this happens. For every existing thing there must also be an explanation of its existence.

Allow me to present further another argument in support of the PSR:

P1. The PSR holds reality to be rational.
P2. It is irrational to suppose reality to be irrational.
C1. It is irrational to deny the PSR.

I believe my opponent will agree to both premises of this claim. If he shall not, however, I will provide defense in the next round.

There is one final argument I would like to propose in support of the PSR: The Explanation of Negative States of Affairs. I feel this argument is best articulated by Alexander R. Pruss [2] in his book The Principle of Sufficient Reason: A Reassessment:

Here is a pattern of explanation we all accept [...]“Why did the yogurt fail to ferment? It failed to ferment because none of the usual explanations of fermentation, namely, the presence of bacteria, were there to explain it, and there was no unusual cause. Why did the dog not bark? It did not bark because no stranger approached it and none of the other possible causes of barking caused it to bark.” These are perfectly fine explanations, and they are not elliptical for longer explanations, though of course they are not ultimate explanations since one may ask why no stranger approached the dog.

In these explanations, we explain a negative state of affairs by noting that the positive state of affairs that it is the denial of lacked an explanation. But now observe that this form of explanation presupposes a PSR, at least for positive states of affair, for if such a PSR does not hold, then one has failed to explain the negative state of affairs. If it is possible that a dog should bark without cause, then in saying that there was no cause for the dog to bark we have not explained why the dog did not bark. We may have explained why a nonbrute barking did not occur, but we have not explained why a brute, or unexplained, barking did not occur.

Our acceptance of the preceding explanations as nonelliptical is thus a sign of our tacit acceptance of the PSR.

With these arguments, I hold that the PSR is sound.

Underview of Premise 1

It seems apparent through modal logic that things may exist necessarily or contingently. That which exists necessarily will explain its existence through its own nature. The same cannot be said for that which exists contingently. However, the PSR successfully provides that all things which exist contingently must have an explanation. Thus, premise 1 holds true.

Premise 2

Premise 2 is rather simple. If the universe exists, it must exist contingently as elaborated upon in the overview of modality. The PSR holds that all contingent beings must have explanations. The existence of a contingent being cannot be explained solely by other contingent beings, for those contingent beings would require explanations from other contingent beings ad infinitum. Thus, there must be a first cause, a necessary being that explains the existence of all contingent beings. Bruce Reichenbach [3] argues, "the necessary being cannot provide a natural explanation for [the universe], for we know of no natural, non-contingent causes and laws or principles from which the existence of the universe follows. What is required is a personal explanation in terms of the intentional acts of some eternal supernatural being."

Now, the argument is not that God must exist because we do not currently have evidence of natural, non-contingent causes but rather that the idea of natural non-contingent causes is irrational. Consider this: a completely material cause is the first cause. This cause, known as N1, or the first natural cause, sparked the creation of the entire universe. N1 is a necessary being because as previously explained, an infinite number of contingent beings cannot explain their own existence. N1 is the reason the spacio-temporal world as we know it was created. It is the reason matter came into existence. But how is this possible? How can N1 create space and time? By definition, natural beings require space to exist within and are temporal. Also by definition, natural beings are composed of matter. How can that which is composed of matter also account for the creation of matter? On the other hand, suppose P1 is a necessary, personal being and serves as the first cause. Now we can logically explain the creation of space, time, and matter because a personal being may posses the qualities of being eternal, and may transcend the physical. It's will allows for the creation of that which it is not, the physical world. As demonstrated a necessary, natural being that is also the first cause is logically contradictory. Due to the inability for it to be anything but God, God himself must serve as the explanation of the universe's existence.

Premise 3

I do not believe that this premise will be contested by my opponent. If he, however, decides to raise the question of whether the universe exists I will gladly provide evidence in the following round.


The conclusion that the explanation of the universe is God cannot be logically denied if the 3 premises in support of it hold true. Thus for my opponent to reject the conclusion he must ascertain the negation of any of the 3 premises of the LCA. Indeed, this will be a challenging task for my opponent and if I succeed in defending all of the LCA's premises I shall win this debate.


2. Pruss, Alexander R. The Principle of Sufficient Reason: An Explanation. 2006.


# The Number 2 argument is blemished as it ASSUMES the only answer could be god ergo, the answer is god. The same could be said that a burp could create the universe so a burp did create the universe. This leads #4 to be false because #2 is no longer part of the argument.
Debate Round No. 2


I am disappointed in my opponent's lack of effort in this debate.

Premise 1

Premise 1 is not refuted by my opponent.

Premise 2

Premise 2 assumes nothing. I argue in premise 1 that the universe exists as a contingent being. I then go on to prove in premise 2 that a set of only contingent beings could never provide an explanation for their existence. However, as granted by the PSR and premise 1 (which my opponent concedes) everything that exists must have an explanation for its existence. Thus, since the universe cannot explain its own existence, for it does not exist necessarily but rather contingently, and no contingent being can adequately explain why the universe exists either, for it would require another being to explain its own existence, the first cause must be a necessary being. Now, in premise 2 I continue to argue that a necessary, natural being, N1, serving as the first cause is logically impossible. Therefore we arrive at the conclusion that the necessary being which provides us with an explanation of the universe is in fact not natural. This logically requires it to be personal for there are no other possible explanations. Thus, a personal creator, God, is the only reasoned explanation for the existence of the universe.

Premise 3

Premise 3 is not refuted by my opponent.


The conclusion cannot logically be denied if the premises hold true. My opponent concedes premises 1 and 3 and I have adequately defended premise 2. Thus, the LCA is sound.


First, I'd like to address the meaning of the word "exist". Specifically, I ask that we understand the difference between static concepts and dynamic objects.

One can say, "the ballgame began" "the movie began" "his work day began"

One cannot say, "the jet began" "her body began" or "the plant began"

I'd like to point out that "evidence" or "proof" does not have much to do with an issue such as creation.

Is it possible for one to explain how something can be created from nothing? Even better, please explain what complete nothingness is if it is not space.

"If the universe has an explanation of its existence" Please understand that the word "universe" is a concept and it is not an object. That will lead us to understand that concepts do not exist. Concepts are formed in the human mind. We "form" them the relation between space and matter, but matter has a location and a shape.

We know that existence is defined by objects within space and time. Nature does not have a provision for contrived concepts born of the human brain. It is not possible for the word universe to resolve to any object that can be conceived or illustrated. Only objects exist.

Rebuttal to P3: In reference to "The universe exists", the word UNIVERSE refers to a concept. So this statement has the same contradictions discussed above.

Rebuttal to P4: In reference to "the universe has an explanation of its existence (from P1, P3)",. Slow down. No explanation has been proven thus far.

Ergo, the entire argument is flawed and is not a sound argument.
Debate Round No. 3


Premise 1

Premise 1 is no refuted by my opponent until round 3. He tries to cast suspicion on the topic in the previous round by claiming that [o]ne cannot say, "the jet began" "her body began" or "the plant began." I would like to note that while these objects may not "begin" in the sense that they are configurations of atomic molecules, but this does not address my argument. I ask you to refer back to my overview of modality. My opponent commits the fallacy of redefinition in that atoms are a prerequisite to our existence, but we don't necessarily existence in terms of modal logic. Necessary existence is that when cannot be logically denied. For atoms to entail my necessary existence as a human being, then the occurrence of atoms in the natural world would necessarily entail that I exist. By this logic humans should be sprouting off of the atoms found in rocks and trees. This is a truly absurd proposition. As such, the jet, body, and plant all exist contingently. They also began to exist as the jet, body, and plant. Sure, the component's all existed previously, but to claim that this equates to the final product existing previously is to commit the fallacy of composition.

Premise 2

My opponent does not continue refutation of Premise 2 in the previous round, so extend my arguments.

Premise 3

My opponent claims that the universe is a concept which cannot exist, however conceded premise 3 which states that the universe is an existing thing. Indeed, not only is it rather late in the debate to make this objection, but it goes contradictory to his previous concession; however, I will nonetheless prove that this rebuttal does not phase the LCA in the least. If we were to accept the premise that the universe is a concept that exists within the human mind, it does not change the fact that the universe's existence as a concept is contingent on the human mind. There is nothing about consciousness presented thus far by my opponent that necessarily entails the existence of the universe. That is to say that it does not follow that the universe will exist as a concept simply because humans have a mind. Even so, my opponent has not explained why the mind would be a necessary being, or why the human mind could not have failed to exist. Thus, we may conclude that the human mind exists contingently and as such, there must be again an explanation for the human mind's existence. I would claim that this explanation cannot be a natural being as there is no way for a material being to create an immaterial consciousness. As such, we again arrive at the concept of an immaterial, personal creator, or God. This creator must still have a will in order to cause that which it is not, the physical, to exist. Natural causes cannot explain this.


My opponent fails to adequately refute the premises of the LCA and thus is stands as a sound argument. Remember the note at the beginning of the debate that an argument should be accepted as sound if the affirmation of its premises is more probable than the negation. At most my opponent has shed doubt onto the LCA but has not proved why the premises should be negated.


Saoirsesfather forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by Mestari 6 years ago
And why is that?
Posted by The_Fool_on_the_hill 6 years ago
I think the cosmological arguments are officially dead.
Posted by Mestari 6 years ago
I admit that premise 2 is the most contentious point of the LCA, however I do not agree that it is weak by any standard. Once premise 1 is granted, a simple understanding of modality allows us to bridge the logical gap between the universe's existence and God's necessary influence on its creation.
Posted by 16kadams 6 years ago
yeah #2 is a weak point
Posted by Mestari 6 years ago
I am always willing to defend the LCA. Whenever you have more time feel free to challenge me.
Posted by Zaradi 6 years ago
Major flaw in the second premise. I would accept, but I'm already in over my head with other debates, and don't have the time to take on another one.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by BlackVoid 6 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit Con drops a ton.