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The Leibnizian Cosmological Argument

  1. Bibowen profile image90
    Bibowenposted 7 years ago

    Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716) looked for a reasonable explanation for why anything exists at all. He said that God was that reasonable explanation. W.L Craig has formulated the Leibnizian argument this way:

    P(1) Anything that exists has an explanation for its existence, either in the necessity of its own nature or in an external cause.

    P(2) If the universe has an explanation for its existence, that explanation is God.

    P(3) The universe exists

    P(4) Therefore, the universe has an explanation of its existence (from 1,3)

    P(5) Therefore, the explanation of the existence of the universe is God (from 2,4)*

    I will participate in the discussion for (at least) the next week, Lord willing, for anyone who is interested.


    *From William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith (3rd ed.), 106.

    1. Beelzedad profile image57
      Beelzedadposted 7 years ago in reply to this

      Why does the explanation have to be a god? Are there no other alternatives?

      1. wilmiers77 profile image61
        wilmiers77posted 7 years ago in reply to this

        It has to be God, our Creator. A regression thru intermediaries must end with who created the first intermediary, aliens or God Junior?  It must be God in the beginning...

        1. Beelzedad profile image57
          Beelzedadposted 7 years ago in reply to this

          No, it does not have to be a god or a creator. smile

        2. Rishy Rich profile image75
          Rishy Richposted 7 years ago in reply to this

          OK. So who created God then? God senior? big_smile

      2. Bibowen profile image90
        Bibowenposted 7 years ago in reply to this

        Try to follow the argument. Look at P(1)

        1. Beelzedad profile image57
          Beelzedadposted 7 years ago in reply to this

          The argument is flawed at P(2), hence the question. smile

          1. Bibowen profile image90
            Bibowenposted 7 years ago in reply to this

            I think your point is that that P(2) is "not true," not that it's "flawed."

            Of course other explanations can be offered. Leibniz offered God as the sufficient reason for the existence of the universe. But if you don't agree with that, what is your alternative that you think is a better explanation than God as the sufficient reason? What would you substitute for "God" in P(2)?

            1. Beelzedad profile image57
              Beelzedadposted 7 years ago in reply to this

              It is flawed because it offers only one alternative.



              No, he did not, he offered only one reason.



              I would be lying if I could offer a reason for the existence of the universe, no one could do that, it is pure speculation. However, the answers as to how the universe came into existence are being discovered as we speak. smile

    2. Mark Knowles profile image60
      Mark Knowlesposted 7 years ago in reply to this

      There is your answer.


      ] This appears to be true.



      This does not follow.





      There is nothing "reasonable" here. Unless you add my italics. Not worth discussing any further.

      1. Bibowen profile image90
        Bibowenposted 7 years ago in reply to this

        So if the universe exists out of the necessity of its own nature, are you saying that the universe created itself? Or are you saying that it must exist, that it could not have "not" existed? Or do you have a third way of expressing it?

        1. Mark Knowles profile image60
          Mark Knowlesposted 7 years ago in reply to this

          No.

          This is your quoted argument - that the universe (anything that exists) "has an explanation for its existence either in the necessity of its own nature or in an external cause."

          You have demonstrated no need for an external cause, nor have you demonstrated how it is possible to determine the nature of this external cause.

          Therefore - if P(1) is correct - its existence must be in the necessity of its own nature.

          Perhaps you could explain what that means as it is your opening statement?

          1. Bibowen profile image90
            Bibowenposted 7 years ago in reply to this

            I think you want to say "You have not demonstrated a need for an external cause..."

            Given the two choices, the second alternative in P(1) seems more plausible given the claim that the universe necessarily exists. You've already said (I think) that you believe that the universe exists out of the necessity of its own nature. However, the first choice in P(1) (that the universe exists by the necessity of its own nature) does not win by default.

            The reason why we would go with the universe having an "external cause" is because we tend to explain the existence of things in terms of causes and the universe is a thing. So, if you're going to make an exception for the universe, (that is, that everything else, except it, is uncaused, that it just "exists"), I want to know why you exempt the universe from this observation that we make throughout nature.

            But, in making a claim (like the universe exists from some prior cause), it's not essential to state why such a cause is necessary. Nor is it essential to demonstrate the nature of this cause in order to identify the cause.

            1. Mark Knowles profile image60
              Mark Knowlesposted 7 years ago in reply to this

              You have demonstrated no need for an external cause works for me, but - whatever you prefer.


              No it does not.


              I see - so what you are saying is - god did it because that is the  only plausible argument for why the universe exists and any suggestion other wise does not make any sense because you know god diddit.

              Why didn't you say so in the first place?

              Dear me. lol

            2. Don W profile image82
              Don Wposted 7 years ago in reply to this

              Trust me, you need to elaborate. Broad statements without elaboration is a sure-fire way to be misunderstood (or misrepresented) on this or any other forum. You need to explain why what you've just said is the case, or at least why you think it's the case. Just trying to save you some time, if you'll excuse the pun.

              Asking what happened at t=0 in terms of the an initial creation  event (e.g. the big bang) is meaningless when you consider time did not exist at that point. Asking what happened before time existed is like asking what's north of the north pole. I'm guessing that's what you're eluding to. If not, feel free to elucidate.

              1. Bibowen profile image90
                Bibowenposted 7 years ago in reply to this

                You need to read P(1). We're getting at which of the choices within P(1) is more plausible: the choice of whether or not the universe is self-existent or that it exists as the result of some prior cause. It's a side issue as to why an external cause is necessary or to explain the nature of that cause. That's not elaboration; it's called "getting sidetracked."

                1. Mark Knowles profile image60
                  Mark Knowlesposted 7 years ago in reply to this

                  No - we are not.

                  You have limited the possibilities to just two and are now attempting to explain that you think the "most plausible" explanation of the two is that there was a prior cause - not only that - but this prior cause was in no way a natural occurrence and you know exactly what the prior cause was -  and it is called god.

                  1. Bibowen profile image90
                    Bibowenposted 7 years ago in reply to this

                    That's exactly what we're doing if we’re discussing the argument presented in the first post. I did not create these limits; they are the constraints of P(1). If you don't think the "either/or" presented in P(1) is the best category scheme, then put your own on the table for consideration.

    3. Ron Montgomery profile image61
      Ron Montgomeryposted 7 years ago in reply to this

      Do you have a plan B for this week?

    4. profile image0
      philip carey 61posted 7 years ago in reply to this

      It's closely related to Thomas Aquinas's classic argument, which goes:

      1. Every thing has either been caused to exist by something else or else exists uncaused.
      2. Not every thing has been caused to exist by something else.
      3. Therefore, at least one thing is itself uncaused.

      Leibniz adds the idea that the Prime Mover = God.

      An interesting contemporary cosmological argument is the Kalam Cosmological Argument

      Interesting stuff.

      1. Don W profile image82
        Don Wposted 7 years ago in reply to this

        Indeed, Craig (mentioned in the OP) formulated the Kalam Cosmological Argument:

        1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause of its existence.
        2. The universe began to exist.
        3. Therefore, the universe has a cause of its existence.

        Reading through the supporting arguments for 1 and 2 and the relevant objections and responses to the objections is most interesting.

        1. Bibowen profile image90
          Bibowenposted 7 years ago in reply to this

          FYI, there was a good discussion on the Kalam about a year ago. Here's the link

          http://hubpages.com/forum/topic/19187#post302253

      2. Bibowen profile image90
        Bibowenposted 7 years ago in reply to this

        Yes, in addition, Leibniz is after the sufficient reason for the universe and not merely the cause which is the focus of Aquinas' argument. As I understand it, that's the main difference b/t these two cosmological arguments.

    5. profile image0
      Twenty One Daysposted 7 years ago in reply to this

      Owen,
      This is the choice paradox.
      The External causality is Free Will. The internal indulgence of the mind is consciousness aka choice. The mind --if indulged-- is ever constant necessity, the bastard child. The child of purity has no necessity and does not indulge the tool called the mind.

      Good quote, because it is not afar off. Yet, the limitation is the concept of G/god which literally translates B/ba`al. ~James

    6. profile image70
      paarsurreyposted 7 years ago in reply to this



      I agree with the argument.

      Thanks

      I am an Ahmadi peaceful Muslim

  2. kephrira profile image58
    kephriraposted 7 years ago

    This argument only holds true if God is defined purely and singularly as the creator of the universe. As soon as you start to attribute any other actions or qualities to God it fails, because there is no reasonable exaplanation as to why the 'God' which possesses these qualities or performs these actions should be the same entity as the 'God' who created the universe.

    1. wilmiers77 profile image61
      wilmiers77posted 7 years ago in reply to this

      It's do you believe your lying eyes?

    2. Bibowen profile image90
      Bibowenposted 7 years ago in reply to this

      The only thing that Leibniz is getting at is the sufficient reason for the universe. Even if we add to the “sufficient reason” other attributes, like omniscience, omni-temporality, etc., this has no bearing on the argument as given. The argument stands on its own merit. Whether or not God possesses these other attributes would be another discussion.

      At any rate, I’m not mainly interested in whether or not Leibniz’s “sufficient reason” is the God of the Bible, but rather the merits of the argument as stated. And, for the record, I reject the assumption that there are no good reasons to believe that the Creator of the universe has those attributes that have been traditionally ascribed to Him by theology.

      1. kephrira profile image58
        kephriraposted 7 years ago in reply to this

        I'm not talking about any particular attributes, I mean any attributes whatsoever. This is not an argument that God created the universe - it is an argument that something created the universe and then a choice identify that thing as God.

        As I said, the argument only stands if the word 'God' means only the creator of the universe and has no other meaning than that - so 'God' (in this sense) could just as well be a black whole in another universe as anything else.

        1. Bibowen profile image90
          Bibowenposted 7 years ago in reply to this

          But Leibniz isn't asking for a cause but for a "sufficient reason." So your response of a "black hole" is inadequate because the question that Leibniz is driving at is not "how did the universe get here"? but (ultimately) "Why does the universe exist instead of nothing"?

          Of course, if we were discussing causes, I'm going to ask what's your evidence that black holes or other universes gave rise to this one.

          1. Beelzedad profile image57
            Beelzedadposted 7 years ago in reply to this

            If that is the question, then there could be a multitude of sufficient answers based on scientific, metaphysics, philosophical or a myriad of other categories, none of which have anything to do with gods. smile

            1. Bibowen profile image90
              Bibowenposted 7 years ago in reply to this

              In any inquiry, there are usually many responses that could be offered. We make progress when we consider rival hypotheses and discuss the relative merits of each. In this argument, Leibniz is offering God as the best explanation for why anything exists. If you think that "God" is not the best explanation, then what do you think is the best one?

              1. Mark Knowles profile image60
                Mark Knowlesposted 7 years ago in reply to this

                No - he is not. He is jumping to the irrational conclusion that nothing can exist without being willed into being by an invisible super being called god, therefore god exists, therefore he created everything.

                Standard theistic argument. Nothing special - you don't understand why something could exist without god - therefore god diddit. Not seeing any rival hypotheses being discussed here.

                Clearly the Universe was vomited by the Star Goat - it is the only reasonable explanation.

              2. Beelzedad profile image57
                Beelzedadposted 7 years ago in reply to this

                God is probably one of the worst explanations. It makes no sense at all. No observations, no evidence, nothing. The best explanations are based on the evidence available, although an answer has not yet been provided as there is still much to learn. smile

                1. Bibowen profile image90
                  Bibowenposted 7 years ago in reply to this

                  Your first three sentences are opinions; your last one is self-refuting. But if you think God as an explanation is the worst, provide what you believe is the best explanation for why something exists rather than nothing, which is what Leibniz is after. So far, God is the best answer, by default, since no other explanation has been provided here.

                  1. Mark Knowles profile image60
                    Mark Knowlesposted 7 years ago in reply to this

                    Odd that you chose to completely ignore the other explanation I offered - which is far better than your explanation. Here are some more.

                    1.The Star Goat vomited the Universe
                    2.It came into existence naturally
                    3.It has always been here
                    4.It is not really here
                    5.It was created accidentally
                    6.The Big Bang caused it
                    7.It is a living entity itself
                    8.Another species other than a god created it

                    The issue with your ridiculous explanation is that one man's plausible is another man's ridiculous - so what you are essentially doing is voicing your opinion and poopoo-ing anyone else's. Which is the problem with believing in invisible super beings. wink

                    There is actual evidence and mathematics to support all but two of these and numbers 2,3,6 and 7 combined seem most plausible to me. As far as I am concerned, number 1 is exactly as plausible as your invisible super being. As are an infinite number of other possibilities.

                    Therefore your postulated god is infinitely improbably and should be discarded.

                  2. Beelzedad profile image57
                    Beelzedadposted 7 years ago in reply to this

                    They may be opinions that you feel are not relevant to your belief in your god, but they hold in light of evidence for the existence of your god.

                    The fact that Leibniz chose to be dishonest about making that claim and you have supported it does not behoove me to do the same, just because you say so. 

                    "God is the best answer" is what you want to believe. An infinite number of equally implausible and plausible explanations are available. smile

                2. OleJer profile image61
                  OleJerposted 7 years ago in reply to this

                  Allow me to weigh in here.
                  1. Is there a hierarchy of intelligence?
                  Obviously a yes. Man is obviously more intelligent than the cat which is more intelligent than the ant.

                  2. If there is a hierarchy of intelligence, how high is up?

                  3. How intelligent is that which is at the top of the chain and What or who is at the top?
                  Think without the limits of habitual thinking.

                  4. The universe is made up of systems within systems within systems from the macro universe down to the micro universe; down to the quark. It is organized in the extreme rather than random or spontaneous. It is not reasonable to suggest that such a degree of organization just happened by an immense set of coincidences.

                  5. Therefore there must have been intervention in order for things to be organized to such an immense degree.

                  6. Who was that intervener?
                  I suggest it is He whom we call God and it is He who claims to be called YHWH!

                  7. It is not reasonable to suggest that such an intervening intelligence organized the universe and then retired from existence.

                  8. We can't know why the intervening intelligence (God) "played around with" and made the "natural order of things." We can only see and recognize the order of it, which leads to "Who done it?

                  1. Mark Knowles profile image60
                    Mark Knowlesposted 7 years ago in reply to this

                    I will stop you there. First - define intelligence. Please prove that Man is more intelligent than a cat and that a cat is more intelligent than an ant, because I would say cats have the advantage over us. Case in point:

                    http://www.fancyfeast.com/_res/i/flash_replacements/home_05.jpg

                    The rest of your argument is nonsense.

                    I see Goats. Some of them are small and some of them are big, therefore there is a hierarchy of sizes. Therefore there is a Great Big Goat that Lives in The Stars that Vomited The Universe.

                    This is called the Scientific Theory of the Star Goat and has been proven by logic.

                    Gawd, you guys are desperate. lol

                  2. Bibowen profile image90
                    Bibowenposted 7 years ago in reply to this

                    Olejer,

                    Mark serves on the committee to welcome new hubbers, but forgot it was his turn...

                  3. Beelzedad profile image57
                    Beelzedadposted 7 years ago in reply to this

                    No, there is not a "hierarchy". Intelligence is just another branch of evolution. For example, we evolved arms and legs but snakes did not.

                    What you're probably referring to is "Cognitive Ethology" which is the characteristic non-human animals require and exhibit as a mental capacity to survive in their environment.



                    It is reasonable, considering that is what the evidence suggests.



                    Yet, the evidence does not suggest any intervention whatsoever. It now falls on you as the claimant to present the evidence or observations that do in fact suggest intervention.



                    By asking that question, you ignore the evidence entirely that suggests otherwise and instead invoke fallacies.  smile

  3. Rishy Rich profile image75
    Rishy Richposted 7 years ago

    The assumptions are flawed & amateurish!!

    Lets start with (1) Everything that exists has an explanation for its existence...Its an assumption, more precisely a Myth & not a proven fact.

    (2)...the explanation is God. How is so?

    (3) We all know that

    (4) Another myth!

    (5) Ok. If the explanation of the existence of the Universe is God then what/who is the explanation of the existence of God?

    It was an attempt get rid of the puzzle in the name of God & nothing else. Crap!   roll

  4. skyfire profile image74
    skyfireposted 7 years ago

    Proof ?

    1. Ron Montgomery profile image61
      Ron Montgomeryposted 7 years ago in reply to this

      Bible...

      So there!  Game, set, match mad

  5. Greek One profile image78
    Greek Oneposted 7 years ago

    Damn.. I gotta get eyeglasses...

    for a few seconds there, I thought this thread was about Lesbians in Cosmo who have been Augmented

    sad

    1. profile image0
      klarawieckposted 7 years ago in reply to this

      That's funny... that's what I read too!

    2. profile image0
      klarawieckposted 7 years ago in reply to this

      In fact... I thought they were offering Cosmetology classes for Lesbians. Figures!

  6. Jerami profile image73
    Jeramiposted 7 years ago

    Mark Knowles wrote:
       
         You have limited the possibilities to just two and are now attempting to explain that you think the "most plausible" explanation of the two is that there was a prior cause -
        Yea !!!! 
       Prior is one and Post is another  that's two. 
    Is there another  ????

  7. Deaconess profile image60
    Deaconessposted 7 years ago

    According to the Leibnizian Cosmological Argument... one can conclude that *if* everything that exists is the result of something, then there *must* be one exception to this rule: Original Cause... and that this original cause may be *perceived* as God.

  8. profile image0
    Twenty One Daysposted 7 years ago

    One must ask, where to T Aquinas get the notion for his argument.
    Second, the notion that the universe began to exist is obvious, yet epistemologically speaking, "began to exist" requires a root experience or genuine pragmatic to imply the argument / consideration. Have Aquinas et al, provided that position? What was the provision and why?

    According to Kant, the vibrations themselves of the earth and stars define the alternates in question and are identical to the human mind.
    Is it without consciousness, experience or thought? If so, why did they consider it only from the conscious vantage point...
    Hume argues, we know only by experiencing the thing, so it also is impure subjective humanism...

    1. Bibowen profile image90
      Bibowenposted 7 years ago in reply to this

      But certainly, we're not required to experience every "began to exist" to know that things have causes or that we can derive knowledge from them, are we? There are billions of people in the world that I did not "experience" their beginning. But I'm within my epistemic rights to derive knowledge of their existence. Imagine what an assumption would do to science if every scientist had to experience every beginning to what he investigated.

      But second, consider this characterization you give of Hume's take on experience: it's self-refuting. Can you "experience" his statement? If you can't, you can't derive knowledge from it. If you can derive knowledge from it, then what prohibits us from deriving knowledge from the phrase "began to exist" even if we didn't experience it?

      1. profile image0
        Twenty One Daysposted 7 years ago in reply to this

        I agree. Which is why the experience factor is, as said, impure. Yet, also, Kant's exclamation is no less impure. Knowledge is understood without consideration or experience. Both can be functional and useful, but by the standards of existence, neither is required to be understood. And yes, The Quality factor does demand either/or to be explained. Which, would make all thought subjective humanism, yes?

      2. Don W profile image82
        Don Wposted 7 years ago in reply to this

        Well you are actually engaging in two arguments here which is interesting. The first is the argument presented in the OP, the second relates to issues concerning inductive reasoning itself which hasn't yet been made explicit:

        1) It is epistemologically justified to infer things using
            inductive reasoning, i.e. every X observed has Y, therefore
            every X has Y
        2) Every existing physical thing observed has a beginning
        3) The universe is an existing physical thing
        4) It is epistemologically justified to infer that the universe
           has a beginning (1, 2, 3)

        This argument is logically valid. But there's a problem with this in relation to the OP argument. Let E mean the conclusion that it's epistemologically justified to infer the universe has a beginning. You seem to be arguing that E makes an external cause (a) more plausible than the universe existing of its own necessity (b), which sets up an external supernatural agent (god if you will) as best explanation of (a). All well and good.

        The problem is that although (a) may be more plausible (looks more like the truth) given E, that's all it is. It tells us (a) looks more plausible because of E. But tells us nothing about the truth of (a) or (b).So when you ask for the 'best' explanation, if by 'best' you mean what explanation looks more like the truth, i.e. is most intuitive, then it's fair to conclude (a) is most intuitive, and we can give our reasoning behind that as E. But if by 'best' explanation you mean what's the truth, or even what's more likely to be true, then this argument says nothing in this case. Why? Because of the nature of the assertion.

        Within the world we can observe something (collect facts). Look at those facts and identify patterns (analyse). Make generalisations based on those patterns (inference), and finally confirm those generalisations (test). This (more or less) is scientific method. 

        But sometimes the nature of an assertion means this process can't be followed. We can observe the fact that tables, chairs, cars, planes, coats, people etc have a beginning. There are currently no counter-examples. If we analyse the facts we identify the pattern: existing physical things have a beginning. From that we infer that existing physical things will have a beginning. And we can test it simply by looking at physical things. So if we were shown a physical object we'd never seen, we could infer that it had a beginning. Intellectually, we know this inference isn't certain (this could be the first counter-example discovered), but because every time in the past we've seen a physical object it turns out to have a beginning, we conclude that the probability this object has a beginning is high. But what about the universe?

        You ask why treat the universe differently to say a chair, or a cup? Because we can't test the inference in relation to the universe. And we can't even say what's probable and what isn't. Why? Because if there were a "beginning" to the universe, then at t=0, time-space, energy and matter would not exist. Something may exist, but not those things (at least not as we know them, Jim!) So?

        So the intuitive inference that physical things have a beginning (which has been observed and tested within a universe where space-time etc exist) may not hold in the above context. That's counter-intuitive to us because our intuitiveness is based on what we've experienced within the universe.

        We can't currently say that what we intuitively infer within the confines of the universe, is applicable in the context of t=0. It's currently not testable. A supernatural agent is a possibility, the universe as part of some other process is another possibility. The point is that we can't address the question yet scientifically, we can only dabble around the edges. The main question can only currently be addressed through metaphysics not physics.

        Which brings us back to the beginning and the difference between the status of an argument and the truth of an argument. In this context, a plausible, intuitive argument is not necessarily most likely to be true. I don't take 'best' argument to mean that which looks true or is intuitive. Those things don't equate to true. Therefore I agree that (a) is more plausible (looks true) and intuitive than (b). However, for the reasons explained above, I don't believe that in this context that makes (a) the 'best' explanation. The OP argument implicitly argues E, which is fine, but that's the argument's weakness. E is not 'sufficient reason' (pardon the pun) to choose (a) over (b). That choice is the linchpin of the argument. Without sufficient reason to choose (a) over (b) the conclusion must be: 

        P(5) Therefore, the explanation of the existence of the universe is a supernatural agent, or the necessity of the universe's own nature.

        Thus the argument is weakened to the point of being no more than a tautology.

        1. Bibowen profile image90
          Bibowenposted 7 years ago in reply to this

          For the sake of the argument (and to move the discussion along) I'll agree that "a given E" (which is the way you expressed it) gives us, at least, plausibility. I'm not interested (at least not here) in getting into a discussion about the nature of truth and explanation (but others may want to take it that direction), but rather to discuss the merits of the premises under question. We can say that "x is the best choice (among competing alternatives), given the available evidence" and, given arguments such as these, I'm satisfied with that.

          1. Don W profile image82
            Don Wposted 7 years ago in reply to this

            Define your terms. What does 'best choice' mean in this context?
            If we apply parsimony by way of a criterion, the supernatural agent is not the 'best choice'. That explanation creates more, or at least the same amount of new assumptions as other explanations. It would help to know what criteria you are using for best choice.

            Also there is no evidence. That's the point. Observation is currently not possible at t=0. Any inference we make is therefore speculation.

            My assertion is that currently there is no best guess. Observations suggest there was an abrupt appearance of space, time etc at a finite time in the past which can be characterised as the beginning of the universe. Whether this is the first beginning of the universe and if so whether it is part of a wider process, or whether this was an event instigated by a supernatural agent, is currently unknown. And I suggest it's not currently possible to determine which explanation is the best explanation, at least in terms of any meaningful or relevant criteria.

            1. Bibowen profile image90
              Bibowenposted 7 years ago in reply to this

              What criteria? Actually, plausibility would be one criterion which you've already addressed. Let’s take parsimony which you also bring up. Your use of parsimony might shave away a cause but it does so at the expense of explaining nothing. Instead, I'm only suggesting one being. My use of parsimony does not multiply gods or universes, all the while offering an explanation for the beginning of the universe.  In fact, anyone could employ parsimony as you have done it here to, in effect, say “there’s no answer forthcoming.”

              The criterion I was using in saying that we should infer that a physical entity (like the universe) has a cause, given that all other known physical entities have causes, would be explanatory scope, that is, it takes into account more available data. If we go with "the universe was uncaused" then we have to dismiss all data relating to physical entities having causes. Furthermore, your response is highly disconfirmed by what we do know. So I think your hypothesis fails here also.

              And then there is the criterion of less ad hocness. Your approach violates this criterion. Why exempt the universe from having a cause? Your exemption appears arbitrary. You have stated "observation is currently not possible at t=0." But the universe existed after t = 0, so causation is a reasonable conclusion. Your hesitation is that there was no physical existence at t = 0. But this is no reason to exempt the universe because the cause could have been metaphysical. In fact, I think that's what we have to conclude, given that we are after why all of physical reality exists as opposed to nothing.  In my approach, the universe is included like all other physical entities.

              I have to stress that this is not the direction I want the discussion to go(although I’m certainly OK with others doing it). I’d like to get back to discussing the merit of the premises that make up the argument.

  9. Shadesbreath profile image85
    Shadesbreathposted 7 years ago

    If everything has to have a cause, then who/what caused God?

    If everything (or even one thing) does NOT have to have a cause, then why must God be the un-caused singularity, when a big bang or the universe itself can be just as easily put in that spot.

    God is not a necessary element.  However, God IS a desirable element because a universe with no happy, hopeful answers for scared little humans who don't want to just vanish when they die is, well, scary.

    1. Bibowen profile image90
      Bibowenposted 7 years ago in reply to this

      The Leibnizian Argument does not seek a cause but a sufficient reason, so for this discussion, it isn't important.

      Your last comment is prejorative.

      1. Shadesbreath profile image85
        Shadesbreathposted 7 years ago in reply to this

        I used "cause" mainly because the conversation had evolved into a discussion of caused and un-caused, but also because your original post uses that term as part of an either/or statement: "cause" or "necessity."  I dealt with both.

        My last comment is pointing out the "sufficient reason" for why God is inserted into the origin of the universe story rather than being a necessary one.  It is "prejorative" only if you take offense at the notion that humans are a tiny, tiny portion of the universe of which they are a part.  If you have a grander sense of human importance, which you might if you feel we are the children of a super-being, well, then I suppose you can find a way to extract insult from what I said.

        1. Bibowen profile image90
          Bibowenposted 7 years ago in reply to this

          OK. It was a point of clarity. In P(1) the either/or is presented. One of those is "an external cause." In just focusing on P(1), it's not necessary to identify the cause; it's sufficient to say that an external cause is needed, even if we haven't identified it.

  10. srwnson profile image59
    srwnsonposted 7 years ago

    I'm always curious as to why people who don't have faith think the only reason those that do are scared of death. If one follows teaching it would seem that the reverse is more likely true.

  11. profile image0
    Twenty One Daysposted 7 years ago

    The X Y factor is obscure, as X => Y = A as +, 0 or - .
    Therefore the evidence is altered by the viewer.
    Again, subjective.
    Each has value and purpose regardless of necessity and ARE the elements of choice/necessity -without subjectivity.
    Knowledge of is not necessary. The action of the knowledge is a temporal necessity, until understanding is attained by the viewer.

  12. Paraglider profile image89
    Paragliderposted 7 years ago

    Bibowen - Leibniz's Theodicy and his theory of 'The best of all possible worlds' took something of a setback in his own lifetime when Lisbon was destroyed by earthquake and tsunami, killing almost 100,000 people. Voltaire's devastating satire, 'Candide', of the Leibniz position (which Leibniz himself was seriously doubting after the quake) was generally accepted by the Enlightenment philosophers to be the last nail in the coffin of the Leibniz tradition.
    Leibniz's contribution to Mathematics is less easily denied and in that field at least his place among the great is secure.

    1. Paraglider profile image89
      Paragliderposted 7 years ago in reply to this

      Correction - The Lisbon Earthquake occurred in 1755, 40 years after Leibniz's death, causing the Leibniz camp to have severe doubts, especially in the face of Voltaire's critique.

      (Memory plays tricks sometimes!)

    2. Bibowen profile image90
      Bibowenposted 7 years ago in reply to this

      Reminding us of weather systems and second-rate satires is not a refutation of the argument.

      1. Paraglider profile image89
        Paragliderposted 7 years ago in reply to this

        'second rate'? It's still around after 250 years. The argument is what is second rate here, but enough people have pointed that out already.

  13. alternate poet profile image62
    alternate poetposted 7 years ago

    Thank you paraglider for putting this to bed.  We are beginning to rely on you for the intelligent answer. Hope the weather has cooled down a bit for you now.

    1. Paraglider profile image89
      Paragliderposted 7 years ago in reply to this

      Hi Alternate - Still hot and humid in Doha, but I'm just back from a short trip to Georgia (Caucuses, not USA) where it was a perfect outdoor temperature to rediscover the joys of fresh air!

      1. alternate poet profile image62
        alternate poetposted 7 years ago in reply to this

        Nice - still hot and humid here but bearable, even pleasant in the evenings.  But then we can get out to many fabulous places as we live in Guilin south China now.  We were looking at teaching in the Middle East where can both earn good money, but the penalties seem too high - what do you think ?

        1. Paraglider profile image89
          Paragliderposted 7 years ago in reply to this

          If you can find a position in Oman, it could still be worth considering. But I think you'd find most of the Emirates a bit too stark for your liking, by comparison.

          1. alternate poet profile image62
            alternate poetposted 7 years ago in reply to this

            That was my thinking, what might overcome that objection is the good money on offer.  We may think of doing it for just two years to get some dosh behind us, we will see.

            1. Paraglider profile image89
              Paragliderposted 7 years ago in reply to this

              My one year has now stretched to nearly eight...

              1. alternate poet profile image62
                alternate poetposted 7 years ago in reply to this

                You are just greedy big_smile

  14. Jane Bovary profile image83
    Jane Bovaryposted 7 years ago

    Bibowen

    The problem with Leibniz's explanation is that it doesn't answer anything..it just poses another question. If we ask... why should there be something, rather than nothing? We then have to ask ask why should there be something, *including God*, rather than nothing?

    Do you exempt God from having to have have a sufficient explanation for existence ....? If so why? If God can exist without an explanation  then why can't the universe?

    Rishy Rich and Shadesbreath already pointed out this flaw but you didn't address it. You just said "The Leibnizian Argument does not seek a cause but a sufficient reason, so for this discussion, it isn't important." What does that mean? Of course it is important because God needing no cause contradicts the original premise...ie;"anything that exists has an explanation for its existence".  To conveniently drop the question of God from having to require an explanation "for this discussion" is philosophical trickery.

    1. Bibowen profile image90
      Bibowenposted 7 years ago in reply to this

      First, It does answer a question. It answers the metaphysical question of why everything exists rather than nothing. And it's no indictment that an explanation raises an additional question. That's the nature of inquiry.

      Second, why does God not need an explanation? I didn't ignore the question; the answer is in P(1) He exists by the necessity of His own nature, that is, He necessarily exists.

      1. Beelzedad profile image57
        Beelzedadposted 7 years ago in reply to this

        That is the Ignoring the Common Cause Fallacy. smile

  15. Bibowen profile image90
    Bibowenposted 7 years ago

    FYI: I know that we don't promote our hubs in the forms, but this one isn't mine. Fatfist has recently published a hub on the topic that you might find of interest:

    http://hubpages.com/hub/Leibniz-Kalam-C … Lane-Craig

  16. Jane Bovary profile image83
    Jane Bovaryposted 7 years ago

    If it is possible to just 'necessarily exist' then you have refuted the original claim that everything must require a cause or explanation.

    1. Bibowen profile image90
      Bibowenposted 7 years ago in reply to this

      That's not what P(1) says:

      The first premise says that everything has an explanation for its existence either in
             a. the necessity of its own nature (OR)
             b. in an external cause.

      My point would be that (a) applies to God and that (b) applies to the universe. Regarding (a), Platonists generally believe that abstract entities such as numbers and sets exist necessarily. That is, they're not caused by anything and they have no causal power (BTW, I'm not claiming to hold this view; it's just a good illustration for those that have not dealt with "necessary existence").

  17. Jane Bovary profile image83
    Jane Bovaryposted 7 years ago

    Well if you're going to claim that God can just exist I see no reason why you couldn't say the same for the universe.

    By asserting a) applies to God and b) applies to the universe is to just make a convenient assumption. I could make the same assumption about the universe...." it's necessary....therefore it just is."

    1. Bibowen profile image90
      Bibowenposted 7 years ago in reply to this

      It's not merely a convenient claim or special pleading for God. The universe does not appear to "have to" exist. Consider the things in the universe: do they have to exist? Can we envision possible worlds in which other beings or entities do not exist? I believe the answer is "Yes."  We can think of all kinds of conditions under which we would have not existed. I think the same would hold true of the universe. It doesn't have to exist.

      Also, if you say that the universe is necessary, this implies that it's always existed. This is a possiblity, but flies in the face of standard big bang cosmology which posits a beginning of the universe. Also there are the problems of the universe being infinite in the present.

      But the ultimate explanation for the universe is necessary, that is, He can't be contingent on something else. That's true by definition.

      1. Jane Bovary profile image83
        Jane Bovaryposted 7 years ago in reply to this

        If the universe does not 'have' to exist when why is a god to create it necessary? Why should God 'have' to exist in the first place?

        Also if the universe is not infinite, what's to say God is also not infinite? There is no basis for the distinction, apart from your say-so.

        1. Bibowen profile image90
          Bibowenposted 7 years ago in reply to this

          You have two different questions:

          1. If the universe does not have to exist why is a god to create it necessary”?—If it does not have to exist, it needs some explanation for its existence. Leibniz offers that God is the best explanation for why it exists. But if you don’t think that explanation is adequate, I’d be interested in knowing what you think might be a rival explanation to that one.

          2. Why should God have to exist? – In the context of this argument, the universe needs an explanation if it itself is not an explanation for its own existence, could not have caused itself to exist, and does not exist eternal in the past. That’s where God comes in: He is the best explanation for why the universe exists, given that it needs an explanation.

          You’ve asked some questions, now it’s my turn. Do you think the universe needs an explanation and, if so, then what do you think is the reason for its existence, if you don't find Leibniz's conclusion adequate?

          If the universe is contingent, then it came from something, which is the same thing as saying that it could not have come from nothing. As they say, "out of nothing, nothing comes." Some prior cause had to bring it into being. It could not have brought itself into being because this would imply that it had to exist before it existed!

          The best example I can think of (but if someone has a better example, chime in). Let's say you observe the 1000th domino fall in a series. The causal explanation for why the 1000th one fell is because it was hit by the 999th one. But if I continue to recount the causal chain, that does not answer the question of "Why are the dominoes falling"? Retelling the chain of causation is not a "sufficient reason" for the falling dominoes. Rather, we need some initial event that set the chain of causation in motion, an action that is quite different from the causal chain of events.

          I believe Leibniz used a similar illustration of copying a geometry text. Saying that the 10th geometry text came from the 9th, which came from the 8th, etc. does nothing to explain why these texts exist.

          1. Jane Bovary profile image83
            Jane Bovaryposted 7 years ago in reply to this

            Bibowen, To answer your question...I don't know why the universe exists..it's a mystery. But Leibniz's  theory is  the "God of the Gaps" one..ie; if we don't know then God must have done it.  Just because we may not have an explanation, doesn't mean the cosmological argument wins by default .

            Now you said "Some prior cause had to bring it(the universe)  into being. It could not have brought itself into being because this would imply that it had to exist before it existed!
            Well exactly the same could be said about God. If the universe requires an explanation then so does it's creator! Yet Leibniz sweeps the question of ultimate origins under the carpet by simply declaring that God *just is*.Yet, we can't know, at least thus far in the human journey, what  that word "God" means. ..thus we can't say with any sort of authority that  He is 'eternal' a 'necessity' , 'just is' or anything else. One could just as easily say God is an entity, a thing and therefore requires an explanation, even if He is not the same thing as the universe. If you say on the one hand 'anything in existence', such as the universe, requires an explanation then God..to exist, must require one too, by the same premise.

            You are right about the series of God's being unsatisfactory yet many would argue, including me,  that's just what the Leipzip's  argument entails....an infinite regression...for if everything must have a cause then every God must have a cause before it. To simply  assert that  God requires no cause because you don't like the idea of an infinite regression or we don't need them to explain the universe is not convincing. If God is the  'sufficient reason' for the universe to exist what is the sufficient reason for that God to exist....? You asked 'why introduce a pantheon of Gods when one is enough?'  I would ask what's there to say this God is the ultimate cause of everything? Why are we stopping at that particular point?

            1. Bibowen profile image90
              Bibowenposted 7 years ago in reply to this

              I'm surprised by your response that the existence of the universe is a "mystery." Is "mystery" what you mean by "we don't know now, but will one day." Or do you mean that the existence of the universe is "inexplicable, incapable of being rationally grasped or comprehended." 

              I’m not asserting that God is the explanation we should seek for material causes, per se. Now, I do believe God is the reason why all space, time, matter, and energy exists. But just because we know that God created the universe does not tell us how He did it. So, we continue to look for the material causes of phenomena as this increases our knowledge of the universe we inhabit.

              But since the beginning of all physical reality cannot be explained by a physical cause, a metaphysical explanation is warranted.

              As for the "God in the Gaps," those that don’t believe in God are often asserting that “Nature” does this or that, but this is just as much “Gapthink” as those that are always ascribing a theistic explanation to every unknown.

              Finally, I don’t think that this cosmological argument wins by default; that’s why it’s called an “argument.”

              1. Beelzedad profile image57
                Beelzedadposted 7 years ago in reply to this

                Appeal to Belief Fallacy.



                Begging the Question Fallacy. Burden of Proof Fallacy. False Dilemma Fallacy.

                Keep em comin'  smile

              2. Jane Bovary profile image83
                Jane Bovaryposted 7 years ago in reply to this

                Sorry Bibowen, I wasn't very clear there. I mean it is a mystery that can neither be explained nor explained away. We may or may not unravel the mystery one day. I like to think we will, though alas, probably not in my lifetime.

            2. Bibowen profile image90
              Bibowenposted 7 years ago in reply to this

              The argument for God being the sufficient reason for the existence of the universe does not stand or fall on whether or not the reason for the universe’s existence has a prior cause for His existence. I’m not saying that asking where God came from isn’t a good question; it is. But it has nothing to do with the veracity of the premises in this argument.

            3. Bibowen profile image90
              Bibowenposted 7 years ago in reply to this

              Remember that the argument does not say that everything must have a cause; it says that everything that exists must have an explanation for its existence. In P(1) Leibniz gives two options for the explanation of the existence of things: either they exist in the necessity of their own nature or because of some prior cause. There is nothing in the argument that requires that God have a prior cause.

              I have not avoided the “infinite regress” because “I don’t like the idea.” I have already pointed out that an infinite regress for the universe causes contradictions and it goes against modern cosmology which posits an initial event that brought the universe into being. As for avoiding an infinite regress when it comes to the deities, I employed Occam’s Razor here: there’s no need to multiply causes beyond what is necessary to provide an explanation.

              But more to the point, the universe’s beginning is not predicated on its creator having one.  You’re comparing apples and oranges; the difference between a creator and his creation.

              Why isn’t the author of the novel bound by the same constraints that are found in his story? The answer is that there are a different set of conditions that govern each. The author writes the story; it’s a product of his skill and imagination. He can include some characters and remove others. He could create the story, grow to hate it, and in Humean style, “consign it to the flames.”

              The author created the novel. The novel began to exist in his mind, but you can’t say the same thing about the author. You can’t say “Well, since the novel began in the mind of the author, the author must have begun in the mind of someone else.”

              In short, the author is not bound by the constraints he has placed on his story.

              This illustration is not an argument for God’s existence, but only you can’t ascribe to the Creator the same conditions as his creation. God does not need an explanation; He is that by which other things are explained.

              If God created space, He is not bound by the constraints of space. In other words, He couldn’t “come” from anywhere. It makes no more sense to ask “Where did God come from?” than it does to ask “Where did the number “six” come from”? (I’m not talking about the numeral, but the abstract entity that is identical across the numerals, whether “6,” “VI,” “110,” etc). It didn’t emanate from 5.  It’s hard to conceive of the number six “not existing.” Some Platonists (which include some atheists) believe that numbers and sets are necessary entities which exist by the necessity of their own nature. That is, they simply exist.

              It’s also like asking “why aren’t there any married bachelors”? The reason is that being unmarried is a part of what it means to be a bachelor. Similarly, being “self-existent” is a part of what it means to be “God.”

        2. Bibowen profile image90
          Bibowenposted 7 years ago in reply to this

          As for your second question…
          "If the universe is not infinite, what’s to say God is also not infinite?"  This question only makes sense in response to someone positing that God is the same kind of entity as the universe. I’m not suggesting that, are you?

          Let's consider the universe and God. I've already given reasons for why I believe the universe is finite in the past, and I'd be interested in your response to those reasons before I repeat myself. I would assume these things about the universe to this point:

          1. It did not bring itself into being
          2. It's not eternal in the past
          3. It did not come from nothing.
          4. It’s not a sufficient explanation of its existence

          If we’re not going to accept the universe as a brute fact, we still need an explanation for its existence and that's where God comes in. We need an efficient cause to bring space, time, matter, and energy into being. As a cause of these features, it would have to transcend them. Now, the universe is composed of these features, it can’t be the sufficient explanation for their existence.

          But couldn't the external cause also be finite (like the universe)?

          Not if it’s the sufficient reason for time. It would not be bound by the constraints of time.

          But, if God is the sufficient reason, couldn't he be one of a series of gods (god #1 created god #2, etc). “Perhaps the universe was a group project in Deity Workshop,” etc. There are, at least, two problems here. You'd end up with deities coming into being in some sort of series or development which would suggest that god #2 had to "wait to exist" before god #1 created him. This seems to be ridiculous given that these beings are not bound by the constraints of time if they are the originators of time. But, second, why multiply causes beyond necessity?  Why postulate a pantheon of gods when one can provide a sufficient reason?

      2. Mark Knowles profile image60
        Mark Knowlesposted 7 years ago in reply to this

        What a poor argument. Stop whining.

        "Pleeze believe wot I believe." sad

  18. billyaustindillon profile image69
    billyaustindillonposted 7 years ago

    I have never heard of Leibnizian before - interesting post and discussion.

    1. LeanMan profile image83
      LeanManposted 7 years ago in reply to this

      Do you think he could have played for South Africa against Oz??

      1. wavegirl22 profile image45
        wavegirl22posted 7 years ago in reply to this

        no it was the jets  .. the estonians dont play this game

  19. LeanMan profile image83
    LeanManposted 7 years ago

    I though that was a quote from the "hitchhikers guide to the universe".... and then god exploded in a cloud of logic....

    1. Rajab Nsubuga profile image60
      Rajab Nsubugaposted 7 years ago in reply to this

      The cosmological argument presupposes that, God and the Universe are related, well, let us suppose that they are not.

      1. Jane Bovary profile image83
        Jane Bovaryposted 7 years ago in reply to this

        That's true...it already grants what its trying to prove.

  20. alternate poet profile image62
    alternate poetposted 7 years ago

    Liebnitz along with the rest of the 'stars' on that line of thinking have drifted out of use until dragged back by the flat earth brigade in their pathetic attempt to sell intelligent design to the not so thinking masses.  The old pirate should be left in peace with his dusty disproved stuff.

  21. Bibowen profile image90
    Bibowenposted 7 years ago

    As I stated in the first post, I’d stay with the topic for a week. I’d like to wrap up by responding to the dominant comments against this cosmological argument. The first set are about the argument itself; the second set are about the premises. 

    The Argument

    “The argument is unproven.” Of course it’s unproven. If it were “proved” like Newton’s Law of Gravitation it would not be in the form of an argument. This is a straw man.

    “The argument is not valid.” Actually, it’s quite valid. What is in question (as Don W pointed out) is not the validity of the argument, but the veracity of the premises. The issue at hand is whether or not the premises are more likely than their negation.

    “You can’t determine which premises are ‘best’” We can determine which is the best among competing hypotheses, given available evidence. We never have exhaustive knowledge, so we go with the best we have. That’s also why premises such as these remain “unproven.” There’s always additional knowledge to consider. This is another straw man in that no one is claiming that these arguments prove “ultimately” what they claim.

    “The argument assumes the existence of God.” P(2) makes the claim that the explanation for the existence of the universe is God. P(1), P(2), and P(3) have a body of reasoning that underlies each. It’s not just an assumption. It is an argument, which is an opinion with the reasoning provided. The argument over the premises allows for this reasoning to come out.

    The Premises
    “If the universe needs a cause, why doesn’t God”? –This is one of the arguments that Dawkins makes in The God Delusion (in fact, it is central to his claims). The simple answer is that they are not the same entities. We believe that the universe is contingent because it’s a physical entity and it doesn’t have to exist. If it’s contingent, it needs an external explanation for its existence. God is not bound by these constraints (assuming He exists) as He is not contingent. If He’s contingent, He isn’t God. If He isn’t contingent, then he exists necessarily. In addition, we don’t need an “explanation for our explanation” to state what is the best explanation for the existence of the universe.

    Finally, I’d like to thank Jane Bovary who I think did the most to move the discussion forward and Don W. for his analysis about the nature of explanation. I might comment further if there’s a post about the premises that will advance the discussion. Thanks to all that participated.

 
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