The Instigator
Mestari
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Telanian
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Resolved: The Leibnizian Cosmological Argument is Sound - 4

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 0 votes the winner is...
It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/10/2012 Category: Religion
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,370 times Debate No: 22725
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (1)
Votes (0)

 

Mestari

Pro


Resolved: The Leibnizian Cosmological Argument is Sound.

Rounds:

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.

    1. If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is God.

    1. The universe is an existing thing.

    1. 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.

Sources

1. http://www.pbministries.org......
Telanian

Con

I accept, and look forward to your opening argument.
Debate Round No. 1
Mestari

Pro

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 of 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 [1] 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 [2] 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.

Conclusion

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.

Sources

1. Pruss, Alexander R. The Principle of Sufficient Reason: An Explanation. 2006.
2. http://plato.stanford.edu......
Telanian

Con

I thank my opponent for his opening argument, and for what appears to be a most interesting debate.

Now, my opponent is correct to assume that I am not going to context premise 3. I also acknowledge that 4 logically follows from premises 1 - 3. I am therefore going to focus on premises 1 and 2 in my responses.

So let's start at the beginning with premise 1: every existing thing has an explanation of its existence, either in the necessity of its own nature or in an external cause.

It seems to me that here my opponent spent a great deal of time justifying a statement that is trivially true by definition. For instance, if I were to claim that every living creature in the universe is either a pig or not a pig, then that would be obviously true by definition; since the term 'not a pig' covers everything that isn't a pig. In exactly the same way, the term 'explanation by necessity of its own nature' is sufficiently vague and broad to cover all existing things whose existence cannot be explained by an external cause.

So there isn't really a flaw here - just a statement that is vacuously true. But I would make the following comments:

1. Notice that my opponent has not proved - and has not claimed to have proved - that the 'explanations' talked of in this premise are intended. By this I mean that he has not shown (or indeed argued) that the explanation is a result of some conscious mind that intends to bring the object into existence. For example, the explanation for the existence of the oak tree in my street is that it grew from an acorn through processes that can be explained by Biology. We have no reason to believe however that a mind consciously chose to create that oak tree.

2. Notice that partitioning all existing things into two categories does not necessarily imply that both those categories are non-empty. For instance, it would be trivially true to say that all living creatures are either unicorns or not unicorns; but this truthful claim does not prove the existence of unicorns. Similarly, premise 1 gives us no reason to believe that there actually are existing things who exist only due to the necessity of their own nature.

So let's move on to premise 2, which is where my opponent's argument begins to collapse rather spectacularly. Notice what he has to prove here. First he has to prove that the universe itself is (to use his terminology) a contingent, and so, by definition, requiring an external cause. Then he has to prove that this external cause is actually God.

So let's examine each of these claims in turn. Does my opponent successfully show that the universe is contingent? In my view, he does not. He simply notes that the universe could have developed in a different way, with planets in different positions and stars with different luminosities for instance. This is true, but it only demonstrates that the planets and stars within the universe are contingent, not that the universe itself is contingent. My opponent gives us no reason whatsoever to believe that the universe itself, the space in which everything exists, is not such that its explanation is the 'necessity of its own existence.'

Even if my opponent could successfully demonstrate that the universe requires an external cause however, he nevertheless runs into a far more serious problem - how does he know that this external cause is God? Or to be more specific, how does he know that this external cause is the omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent God of the Bible?

This is the fundamental problem with the Leibnizian Cosmological Argument, and the related Kalam Cosmological argument. Both these arguments 'prove' the existence of an external cause that created the universe, and both arguments then go on to label this cause 'God' without any justification. However the truth is that these arguments tell us nothing at all about the nature of this external cause. They do not tell us whether or not this cause has a mind, they do not tell us whether or not this cause intended to create the universe, they do not tell us anything about this cause's personality and nature (if he/she/it does have a mind!) In short, my opponent has no reason to believe that this external cause (if it exists) is the God of the Bible, as opposed to, for example, Allah, Zeus, Wotan, Apollo, Vishnu or the Great Cosmic Space Turtle.

Furthermore, this argument does not even prove that this external cause is necessary (as opposed to contingent.) How does my opponent know, for example, that this universe was not created as an offshoot of a far bigger universe by a race of highly evolved contingent beings, who in terms of science and technology are billions of years ahead of us. To this point my opponent might respond that he can apply the same argument to them and eventually generate a necessary 'first cause'. However, this misses the point. The Leibnizian Cosmological Argument, as articulated by my opponent, is meant to show that this universe, the one that we live in, was created by 'God'. Even the possibility that the universe was in fact created by highly evolved contingent beings is enough to destroy the conclusion of this argument, and it is a possibility that the argument cannot disprove.

For these reasons therefore, I claim that that the Leibnizian Cosmological Argument, far from being sound, has very weak foundations indeed that collapse under the slightest scrutiny; and I look forward to my opponent's response.
Debate Round No. 2
Mestari

Pro

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

The CON's first refutation will be addressed under Premise 2.

My opponent's second rebuttal to my case is to claim that classifying all existing things into two categories does not necessarily entail that they are both non-empty and provides the excellent example of unicorns. I would like to note however if we know all beings exist either contingently or necessarily and solely contingent beings cannot explain their own existence, then logically we may conclude that necessary beings must exist. Furthermore, if everything existed necessarily then the intuitive part of the PSR would be rejected as everything would constitute its own existence and things would simply pop in and out of existence.

The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR)

This is conceded.

Premise 2

My opponent's initial rebuttal (of my first premise) is a claim that I do not prove that the explanations of the universe, being necessary or contingent are intended. I would invite him to read my second premise. Along with that I will offer further evidence of God's omnipresence, as well as a necessary conclusion that is derived from a personal creator of the universe. First though, I would like to note that the LCA defends God as the personal, necessary creator of the universe. The LCA does not implicitly defend the attributes granted the Lord by Christian Theologians, but it is a logical conclusion to make from the validity of the LCA. Brandon C. Look [1] explains Leibniz's argument.

First, insofar as the first cause of the entire series must have been able to survey all other possible worlds, it has understanding. Second, insofar as it was able to select one world among the infinity of possible worlds, it has a will. Third, insofar as it was able to bring about this world, it has power. (Leibniz adds here that “power relates to being, wisdom or understanding to truth, and will to good.”) Fourth, insofar as the first cause relates to all possible, its understanding, will and power are infinite. And, fifth, insofar as everything is connected together, there is no reason to suppose more than one God. Thus, Leibniz is able to demonstrate the uniqueness of God, his omniscience, omnipotence, and benevolence from the twin assumptions of the contingency of the world and the principle of sufficient reason.


Now onto the first objection my opponent labeled under the second premise of the LCA. He would like to argue that I have simply proved that this objects within the universe are contingent but not the universe itself. I would say that I have proved the contingency of the universe in various ways. First, if the very nature of the universe - i.e., the objects that constitute its being - are contingent then the universe itself must be contingent by proxy. You see, necessary existence would require the quality of being unchanging and eternal, so it follows that if the elements that constitute the nature of a being's existence are contingent - i.e. changing and temporal - then the being itself must be contingent. Second, if that was not convincing enough, there is a simply test we can use to prove the universe exists contingently without referring to its internal structure. To have necessary existence, it must be logically impossible for that being not to have existed. It is no absurd to claim that the universe itself may not have existed. That proposition is perfectly valid. It is possible indeed that the universe as we know it may not have existed at all. This is reinforced by my opponent's concession that the universe indeed may have developed in a far different manner. If the universe may have developed differently, then there is reason to say it may not have developed in this manner, and also may not have developed at all. Therefore, the universe may have failed to exist.

Next, my opponent tries to pigeon hole me into defending the God of Christian Theology. I will note to the audience that the debate of which God created the universe is another one altogether, but nonetheless I have previously proved that the LCA logically concludes that the God that created the universe must possess, at the very least, the basic qualities attributed to the Judeo-Christian God.

Finally, my opponent claims that this universe could have been created by contingent being in another universe. I would simply claim that this falls back into infinite regress as yet again we face the problem of a series of existential-causality consisting of solely contingent beings. If all beings within the series are contingent then it is impossible to explain the existence of the first being, even if the series is infinite. You cannot simply provide more contingent explanations at the beginning of the series, for the infinite regress will not resolve itself without there being a necessary first cause. My opponent preempts this response in saying that this universe must be proved to have been created by God. I would claim that if God created an alternative universe that caused the creation of this one, then by proxy he is responsible for creating this universe. Any rejection of this argument is simply a semantic concession of the validity of the LCA.

Premise 3

My opponent concedes the validity of my third premise.

Conclusion

My opponent has failed to refute the premises of the LCA, therefore it logically follows that the conclusion is valid. Risking myself sounding redundant, I would like to again point out that the LCA seeks to prove the existence of a personal necessary creator of the Universe, and therefore I am not burdened to defend any specific God. I simply provide defense of the attributes ascribed to Him by Judeo-Christian belief as it is a necessary conclusion drawn from the validity of the LCA.

Sources

1. http://plato.stanford.edu...
Telanian

Con

I will start by addressing my opponent's complaint that I have 'pigeon-holed' him into defending the God of Christian Theology. On the contrary, he pigeon-holed himself into defending such a position. In his opening statement, he defined God through the words of A.W. Pink, in which the said writer quotes books of the Bible to describe God's attributes (Colossians and Job) as well as describing him as 'the Triune God'. Well, as far as I am aware, there is only one God who has ever been described as Triune - the Christian God of the Bible, consisting of the Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

I accepted the debate on these terms, and if my opponent intended only to defend the existence of a personal necessary creator of the universe, and not the specific God of the Bible, then he ought to have defined his terms more clearly to make this point clear in his opening statement. He did not, and so I argue that he must show that if there is a creator of the universe, then that creator has to be the God of the Bible. To take any other stance would be to allow him to change the terms of the debate half way through.

I leave it to the reader to judge whether or not this stance I have taken is reasonable. If you do, then this is sufficient reason alone to vote against the motion, since so far my opponent has given us no reason to conclude that the creator is the God of the Bible. The best he can do is appeal to Brandon C. Look, who writes:

"First, insofar as the first cause of the entire series must have been able to survey all other possible worlds, it has understanding. Second, insofar as it was able to select one world among the infinity of possible worlds, it has a will. Third, insofar as it was able to bring about this world, it has power. (Leibniz adds here that "power relates to being, wisdom or understanding to truth, and will to good.") Fourth, insofar as the first cause relates to all possible, its understanding, will and power are infinite. And, fifth, insofar as everything is connected together, there is no reason to suppose more than one God. Thus, Leibniz is able to demonstrate the uniqueness of God, his omniscience, omnipotence, and benevolence from the twin assumptions of the contingency of the world and the principle of sufficient reason."

However, the problem with Look's argument is that he makes a great many unsubstantiated assertions without justifying them. Starting at the beginning, why must the first cause have been able to survey all other possible worlds? All the LCA gives us is a first cause - we have no reason to assume that this cause considered other possible universes or even knew what it was doing at all! So the conclusion that the cause has understanding fails. The conclusion that the cause has will also fails, since it is presented as a direct consequence of the first conclusion, which I have shown to be unfounded. Now, power I am happy to accept by definition; but again, Look gives no reason to conclude that this power is infinite - he simple asserts it as truth without justification.

And so we see that the qualities of omniscience, omnipotence and benevolence do not follow as a logical consequence of the LCA, despite my opponent's claims to the contrary.

But what if you think that my stance is unreasonable, and that all my opponent has to do is show that the cause is a 'personal necessary creator' and not specifically the Christian God? Well in that case, my opponent has to, at the very least, show that this creator has a mind and that he intended to create the universe. Without these characteristics, we would hardly call this creator a God.

Yet my opponent still has not given us any reason to accept that this cause (if it exists) has these characteristics. How does he know, for instance, that the cause is to the universe what the sun is to the Solar System. Now, it would be fair to say that the Sun is the cause of the Solar System, in that its gravitational pull keeps the Solar System intact, and that its heat and light provide the necessary conditions for the existence of life on earth. But the sun has no mind, it is not alive; it does not intend to do any of this. How does my opponent know that the cause (again, if it exists) is not like the sun, in that it causes the universe to exist, but that it does so unintentionally. Again, he gives us no reason to assume that this cannot be the case.

And of course, he continues to give us no substantial reason for concluding that such a cause exists in the first place. He attempts to refute my previous arguments by stating that if the objects that constitute the universe are contingent, then the universe itself must be contingent; and he supports this by the claim that necessary existence implies that the thing itself must be unchanging and eternal.

Now, note that while I have conceded that premise 1 is trivially true by definition, I have not conceded that my opponent's formulation of modal logic or the PSR are necessarily valid - for the simple reason that I don't need to. My opponent introduced these concepts to prove that premise 1 is correct. But since 1 is true by definition, I regard these concepts as irrelevant to this debate - unless my opponent can show that they follow from premise 1. After all, this debate is about whether the LCA is valid - not whether modal logic and the PSR are valid.

The practical consequence of this is that I do not accept that the terms 'contingent' and 'necessary', as my opponent defined them, are respectively equivalent to 'having an external cause' and 'being caused by the necessity of its own nature', as set out in premise 1. The crucial flaw comes when my opponent states that "necessary existence would require the quality of being unchanging and eternal". By the way he has defined 'necessary', this might be true, but the point is that he has not shown that any object whose explanation is the necessity of its own nature must therefore be necessary, in the way he has defined the term. It is perfectly possible for instance that we may have objects that exist only for a finite period of time through their own nature but not due to any external source - consider so-called 'virtual particles for instance, which, according to Quantum Theory, appear to do just that.[1]

So we have no reason for assuming that any object that does not have an external cause must therefore be eternal and unchanging, and crucially this implies that we have no sound reason for concluding (again, to use my opponent;s terminology) that just because the universe contains contingent objects, it must therefore be contingent itself.

Finally, my opponent makes a logical error when he claims that "if God created an alternative universe that caused the creation of this one, then by proxy he is responsible for creating this universe." This does not follow logically. In short, if A creates B and B creates C, this does not allow us to conclude that A created C. For example, my parents created me and I have created this argument. But my parents did not create this argument. They had nothing to do with it, know nothing about it and are certainly not responsible for it. Similarly, even if a god intentionally created a universe (but not this one) we have no reason to conclude that he intended, or even knows about, the creation of this one. As I pointed out before, the LCA cannot rule this possibility out, and so this is a powerful reason for rejecting the argument.

In short, the flaws that I pointed about before remain. My opponent cannot demonstrate that the universe requires an external cause, and even if he could, he cannot show that this cause must be a personal God, let alone the God of the Bible. The LCA must therefore be resoundingly rejected.

[1] = http://www.scientificamerican.com...
Debate Round No. 3
Mestari

Pro

Topicality

Must the PRO defend the God of Christian Theology to win the debate? Indeed, this is a strikingly important issue within the debate. To answer the aforementioned question, I remind the readers of the resolution: The Leibnizian Cosmological Argument is Sound. For me to win this debate I must only prove that the Leibnizian Cosmological Argument is sound and nothing more. It is implicit in the LCA that God is defined as the personal, necessary creator of the universe. If my opponent had any questions about this he could have asked prior to the debate starting. He was in no way obligated to accept when he did not understand the terms of the debate. Furthermore, this is the fourth time I have run this debate, and the fifth time presenting the LCA. It should be quite clear from a quick look at my debate history that I am defending God as the personal, necessary creator of the universe. My opponent has no excuse for not realizing this. He claims that my A.W. Pink quote draws confusion, however its purpose was simply to avoid semantics. I even made it clear in my original presentation of the argument that the second premise - and therefore the conclusion - referred to God as the personal, necessary creator of the universe. Instead of addressing my second premise, he cops-out and tries to think that the LCA must prove something that it does not claim to be able to. My opponent cannot from that the LCA is not sound by adding planks that are not in the actual argument. Finally, in my last round I claimed that I did not have to defend the God of Christian Theology, but decided to add clarification in stating that many of the attributes commonly attributed to God by Judeo-Christian belief are necessary truths that follow from the validity of the LCA. Even if they were not, I would not lose the debate as it is not my burden to prove them to be. I must simply prove the existence of God as the personal, necessary creator of the universe.

Premise 1

My opponent concedes the validity of P1 but denies the truth of modal logic and the PSR. His refutation is, and I quote, "I have not conceded that my opponent's formulation of modal logic or the PSR are necessarily valid - for the simple reason that I don't need to." My opponent has to provide reasons why my conception of the PSR and Modal logic are wrong before he can dismiss them. As I cannot respond to refutations my opponent makes in the next round, they have been - for all practical purposes - conceded.

Premise 2


Telanian tries to tackle my second premise by denying that the cause asserted by P2 has a mind. I would note that first of all, his solar system analogy is false. Sure, the gravitational pull of the sun keeps the solar system intact, but the sun by no stretch of the imagination created the solar system. Now for more philosophical and scientific proof that the first cause must have a mind. My opponent does not respond to my example of N1 and P1, or a natural first cause and a personal first cause. I believe that my explanation was clear enough the first time around that my opponent should have understood it, so I will just quote it here as a conceded extension:

"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."

Now, my opponent might ask, "How do we know that a personal first cause has a mind?" Well, I would say that there are two kinds of necessary beings that can logically exist. The first is that of abstract symbols, like the laws of mathematics. The second is a personal mind. Because abstract symbols cannot cause anything, the cause must be a personal mind.

Next he claims that I have not proved the existence of any necessary beings. This statement makes me wonder whether he has read my case and I have presented both a God and the laws of mathematics as existing necessary beings. He cannot deny the existence of God because I prove that a necessary cause must be the first cause, and that a necessary natural cause is incoherent. Therefore the only explanation available is a necessary personal cause.

This refutation necessarily concedes that he believes the universe is a contingent being as all existing things are either contingent or necessary and he dismisses the possibility of a necessary being. He also concedes my P3 that the universe is an existing thing. Even if you reject this, I have shown that the universe is contingent by composition, and it is contingent for it could have failed to exist.

I don't see what my opponent is getting at by rejecting the conception of a necessary being possessing the qualities of being eternal and unchanging. If the laws of mathematics could change, they would not be laws. If the first cause were not eternal, it could not have created time. These assumptions are properly basic.

My opponents final attempt to win this debate is claiming that if God created A and A created this universe, then God did not create this universe. Even if he did not directly create this universe, the LCA still stands. The LCA states, "If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is God." Indeed, it appears that even if the universe was not created by God, it must still be explained by God, and that would be sufficient to affirm. This is proved in a rather simple manner. My opponent has not refuted that a set of solely contingent beings could not explain their own existence. Therefore, a necessary being must explain the existence of all contingent beings. As I have already proved that I necessary natural being is incoherent, it must be a necessary personal being. Furthermore, as abstract symbols cannot cause anything, that personal being must be a mind. Thus we conclude that the necessary, personal creator of the universe is God.

Premise 3

Premise 3 have been conceded.

Conclusion

My opponent decides to argue a red herring in this debate and leaves the LCA practically untouched throughout the debate. Do not let my opponent make new rebuttals in the final round. As it stands, the LCA is perfectly sound. Vote PRO.
Telanian

Con

Let me start by thanking my opponent for what has been a most interesting debate.

I start my final round with the same question that my opponent asked: Must the pro defend the God of Christian Theology to win the debate? This is a crucial question and the answer is clearly yes. The LCA, as my opponent presented it, is as follows:

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.

There is nothing in the above that defines what the term 'God' actually means. My opponent claims that 'God' is defined as the 'personal necessary creator of the universe', but this is simply not the case. The argument claims that if the universe has an explanation, then that explanation is 'God', but it never actually defines what or who 'God' is.

So, given that the above includes no definition of of the term 'God' it is clear that my opponent intended to define it through the words of A.W Pink, and I have already shown that those words clearly imply 'God' to be the Christian God of the Bible. My opponent has no answer to my analysis of Pink's words, and his argument that I should have looked through his debate history and thereby realised what he was really arguing is simply bizarre and absurd. He also misses the point when he says that I could have asked questions prior to the debate starting. His first post makes it unambiguously clear that the LCA is promoting the existence of the Christian God and I accepted those terms - there was no need to ask any questions.

Furthermore, I have now looked through the previous debates and I invite you to consider the first one that my opponent set up on this subject. In it, he writes the following at the start of the second round: [1]

"It goes without saying for [con] and I that the God we are referring to is a personal creator, more specifically one of the nature defined by Christian Theology; however, as Socalpinko indicates, a definition may be necessary for the readers. As such, I cite the The Nature of God by A.W. Pink to describe the complexity of the Lord"

So, the LCA (as my opponent initially formed it) claimed to prove that the Christian God is the explanation of the universe. My opponent has not provided any convincing arguments to demonstrate that if there is such an explanation, it must necessarily be the Christian God - or one which has his attributes, omniscience, benevolence, etc - and so this is sufficient reason alone to vote against the motion.

Moving on, I must once again point out that this debate is about the soundness of the LCA, not modal logic or the PSR. In the context of premise 1, their only purpose was to prove premise 1 true. But since I concede that premise 1 is true by definition (since the term 'necessity of its own nature' is so vague as to cover all cases where the explanation isn't an external cause) there is no point discussing modal logic and the PSR in the context of this premise.

Now I move on to premise 2, which, as I said before, is where my opponent starts to make assertions that he simply cannot justify. Of course, my opponent continues to use modal logic and the PSR to try to prove premise 2, and I have already presented reasons as to why his logic fails - reasons which still remain valid. Notice that he has no answer to my point about virtual particles - which demonstrate that it is possible for things to exist, not through an external cause, but yet nevertheless be finite and changing themselves. This counterexample destroys the assumption underlying my opponent's whole argument that any object whose explanation is the 'necessity of its own existence' must therefore be 'necessary' - where he defined 'necessary' to mean 'could not have failed to exist'. Virtual particles exist through the 'necessity of their own existence' while they exist (which is a finite amount of time) but they certainly fail to exist at all other points in time.

Without this assumption, my opponent's position collapses. No longer can he claim that 'an infinite number of contingent beings cannot explain their own existence.' More crucially, he has given us no reason to believe that the universe itself requires an explanation of its existence through an external cause. I have already refuted his claim that this must be so because it contains contingent objects, and he has presented no response to that argument.

I do not want to get too bogged down in this part of the debate however, because there is an even more fundamental problem with my opponent's position - one which I have already pointed out. Even if he has convinced you, despite my efforts, that he does not have to prove that God is the Christian of the Bible, even if he has convinced you that a necessary 'first cause' has to exist and that that cause cannot be the universe itself, the one thing he has not done - and cannot do - is prove that this cause is a God.

My opponent (eventually) defined God to mean a 'necessary, personal creator of the universe.' Even if you accept that the universe has a necessary creator, you have no reason to believe that this creator is personal. In other words, you have no reason to believe that this cause has a mind, that it knows about the universe and that it intended to do or create anything. This is demonstrated by my Solar System analogy, which my opponent dismisses without explanation. By no stretch of the imagination did the Sun create the Solar System, he claims - but why not? It was - and is - through the sun's gravitational pull that the Solar System was formed and remains in its current form. It is through its heat and light that life on earth formed in the first place and continues to this day. Simply dismissing this point without justification - as my opponent does - is not good enough.

The question that I put to my opponent, and which he has not answered, is this: How does he know that the so-called necessary first cause of the whole universe, which he claims to exist, is not the eternal non-natural equivalent of the sun - some eternal, necessary object that through its power creates and sustains the universe in its current form (in the same way that the sun sustains the Solar System through its gravitational pull, heat and light) but which (crucially) is not actually alive and thus not personal. In short, I was exhibiting an example of an object that could be eternal, uncaused and non-natural, but not personal.

To this question, he has no answer at all. In the same way that Look asserted without meaningful justification that God has to be omnipotent, omniscient and benevolent), my opponent asserts without meaningful justification that it cannot be the case, saying, 'As I have already proved that I necessary natural being is incoherent, it must be a necessary personal being'. This misses the point however. Even if a necessary natural being is incoherent, this does not allow us to conclude that the said necessary being must be personal - as my sun analogy demonstrated.

In conclusion, the Leibnizian Cosmological Argument is little more than an argument from ignorance. My opponent has no reason to believe that this universe requires a creator. More crucially however, he has no reason to believe that if it was created, then that creator has to be a God. He simply claims that "due to the inability for it to be anything but God, God himself must serve as the explanation of the universe's existence." Well I presented him with an alternative explanation to God - my sun analogy - and he had no answer to it. His logic - and therefore his whole argument - collapses, and so I must urge a con vote.

[1] = http://www.debate.org...
Debate Round No. 4
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Mestari 4 years ago
Mestari
Woah, when did this debate end? I must have forgotten to change the voting period. I'll be damned.
No votes have been placed for this debate.