Monday, May 20, 2013

Video: The Leibnizian Cosmological Argument featuring Dr. William Lane Craig

The Leibnizian Cosmological Argument is as follows:

1. Everything that exists has an explanation of its existence.

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

3. The universe exists.

4. The universe has an explanation of its existence.

5. Therefore, the explanation of the universe's existence is God.

William Lane Craig unpacks this argument in the following short videos:




For more of Dr. Craig's work, go here.

For more videos featuring Dr. Craig, see here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

17 comments:

John Moore said...

Well, uh, what's the explanation for God? If he exists, he must have an explanation, according to point 1. Are you shooting yourself in the foot here? I don't get it.

Chad said...

Well, uh, what's the explanation for God?

Dr. Craig specifically addresses this question in his presentation.

Andrew Ryan said...

I don't see why the argument needs five points. Number 4 is already effectively stated in Number 1. Number 3 is redundant.

You could just say: "The universe cannot exist without a cause and that cause has to be God".

That still leaves two points to prove: 1) That the universe must have a cause, and 2) That the cause must be God.

In other words, the syllogism alone gets you no closer to proving a God.

The "Other Chad" said...

Andrew,

You say this argument gets you no closer to a God. But this argument states that the universe exists contingently which means it requires an external cause to explain why it exists. So what do you propose to be the external cause that transcends all space, time, matter, and energy?

Andrew Ryan said...

"But this argument states that the universe exists contingently "

Right, it states it. It doesn't demonstrate it.

" So what do you propose to be the external cause "

I never said one was required in the first place. And even if I did, it's not up to me to provide alternatives.

"You say this argument gets you no closer to a God"

Right - you're either already on board with the idea that the universe can only be explained by God, in which case you don't need the above four-part argument; or you're not, in which case the above argument includes assumptions you don't hold. That's why I'm saying the argument gets you no closer.

Chad said...

Hello Mr. Ryan,

May I ask if you watched the videos provided?

Respectfully

Andrew Ryan said...

Chad, respectfully, these discussions are a bit pointless if you only post your half of the conversation.

Chad said...

Mr. Ryan,

This is my first comment directed at you on this post. "The Other Chad" will publish your other comment that was directed toward him when he decides.

Thank you

The Other Chad said...

Hello Andrew,

Yes, the argument attempts to explain the answer to the question why is there something rather than nothing. I'm not sure what you would expect it to "demonstrate" as a philosophical argument?

I'm also a bit confused as to why it's not up to you to provide an alternative explanation as to why the universe exists? If you are dismissing this argument I would like to know why. Otherwise, I'm assuming you think it is impossible for the universe to have an explanation?

Your last statement about already being on board regarding God as the explanation for the universe, I would have to disagree as there are many people who weren't "onboard" until they examined the cosmological evidence for a creator.


Respectfully,

The Other Chad

Andrew Ryan said...

"I'm also a bit confused as to why it's not up to you to provide an alternative explanation as to why the universe exists? If you are dismissing this argument I would like to know why"

Because it's an argument from ignorance to say "If you can't explain why the universe exists then you have to accept my assertion that it's God".

"Otherwise, I'm assuming you think it is impossible for the universe to have an explanation?"

No, the universe can have an explanation that we're simply currently unaware of. Or it's possible that Lawrence Krauss's explanation is correct. Or it's possible we may NEVER have an explanation. That doesn't mean no explanation exists.

Finally, it's possible that the universe has simply ALWAYS existed in some form. I don't see why that makes any less sense than a God always having existed.

"This is my first comment directed at you on this post."

Apologies – I mixed up my Chads!

Andrew Ryan said...

"May I ask if you watched the videos provided?"

Yes, I've watched the WLC video/s. If you want me to deal directly with what he said rather than just the original argument then I will:

A) WLC says that God necessarily must exist, and compares this to numbers. He does nothing to show the comparison is justified. He says universes cannot belong to this category, but doesn't support this either. Then he compares the universe to 'a ball existing in a forest'.

"Suppose it was the entire universe – same problem". No, WLC, if you're talking about the entire universe then you're essentially talking about 'existence' itself. That's not a 'taxi cab' fallacy. If existence is necessary, then it becomes meaningless to conjecture a reality where the universe doesn't exist.

"The atheist claims the universe is the exception". We already agreed there ARE exceptions – now we're just discussing what they might be. So what are the exceptions? WLC says: "Necessary things must exist due to their own nature". Well, why can't 'existence' be the nature of the universe? Can WLC rule this out? Is 'nothing' even possible? What would it look like? Where in the universe can we find 'nothing'?

B) I don't agree that allowing for the possibility that 'The universe has always been here' is circular or begging the question.It's not 'assuming there is no God' and neither is it saying 'the universe is all there could possibly be'. WLC doesn't demonstrate or argue that this follows, he just states it – therefore there's not really anything for me to even argue against there. I don't see how WLC has rejected it as a possibility, or show that it isn't possible.

Even if you reject that, I don't see that it's begging the question, any more than saying it has to be God is begging the question.

C) Premise 1: "If atheism is true, it HAS no explanation"
No, it just means it wasn't God. I know WLC is saying he's quoting an atheist here, but he's quoting an opinion, not a proper argument. I don't have to share it, and therefore do not have to accept that premise 2 must be true also:

Premise 2 "If the universe has an explanation of its existence then atheism is not true"
No, that assumes that the only thing that can explain the universe is God.

"The atheist is implicitly accepting premise 2".
That particular atheist, perhaps…

"It follows that it must be a disembodied mind"
Who says such a thing is even possible?

He goes on to describe it as 'timeless'. What does he mean by timeless'? How can a timeless entity create anything?

The Other Chad said...


Andrew,

Yes, Krauss's explanation could be correct but the only problem is he has altered the definition of "nothing" to accommodate it.

The evidence for the beginning of the universe to me proves it has not ALWAYS existed. For example:

-An actual infinite number of things cannot exist
-You can't count to or down from infinity
-Expansion of the Universe
-2nd Law of Thermodynamics: if the universe has always been here, why haven't we experienced heat death?

Andrew Ryan said...

Thanks, other Chad.

1. How many things does God know?
2. So how long has God existed for then?
3. ...In its current form
4. Ask a physicist.

"Yes, Krauss's explanation could be correct but the only problem is he has altered the definition of "nothing" to accommodate it."

Why is that a problem?

The Other Chad said...

Andrew,

In response to your previous comments-

As mentioned in Dr. Craig's videos, the cause for the universe would have to be someone or something outside of all space/time so it would be illogical to ask how long God has existed within the universe He created.

The problem with saying that the universe or some form of the universe exists necessarily is that it doesn't. There could have existed a different collection of fundamental particles but if that were the case, a different universe would have existed.

I will leave you the opportunity of the last word on this discussion.

Regards,

Andrew Ryan said...

1. "It would be illogical to ask how long God has existed within the universe He created"

That's not what I asked. Your problem with a universe existing eternally in some form was "You can't count to or down from infinity". Positing an eternal God doesn't avoid this problem. Even saying the God is timeless doesn't help. If he existed, if He's able to create stuff, then in some form 'Time' still existed. Thus you've still got the problem of 'counting down from infinity'.

2. "There could have existed a different collection of fundamental particles"

This is no different to conjecturing a God with different properties, and saying that means He isn't 'necessary'. Either a) you're saying that SOME God is necessary, and His properties could have been different – in which case we can say the same for the universe, or b) The properties God has HAD to be that way, in which case we can also say the fundamental particles of the universe HAD to be that way too (and in a deterministic universe this is the only way it could all have turned out).

That aside, my point was that perhaps existence ITSELF is necessary. In other words, a true 'nothing' is simply not possible (outside of abstract concepts). Therefore saying without a God there would be nothing is meaningless.

Thanks for the discussion, both Chads.

The Other Chad said...

Andrew,

If you are interested in reading Dr. Craig's response to your last comment, click here

Thanks again,

Andrew Ryan said...

Thanks for the link. I think I'll need to read it again at least another couple of times! Big issues.

A line that stood out to me was "For one can conceive of possible worlds in which God has a quite different intention, namely, to refrain from creating a world at all," which reminded me of (one of) you talking about a possible different universe with different particles. WLC doesn't seem to think this idea rules out a necessary God, so presumably it doesn't rule out a necessary universe either.

Interesting too that Newton saw no problem with an infinite past.