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Leibnizian Cosmological Argument

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Kief

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Counter Argument to LCA
« on: July 24, 2010, 12:35:52 pm »
I was recently sharing the LCA on a forum and an atheist raised a counter argument that I'm not sure how to answer. He took the standard version and revised it as follows:

1. Everything that exists 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 that we're a computer game in a real world. (running on a real, fully functional computer. Not some kind of metaphor for computer, or a spacey magical computer, literally an actual computer with a physical form.)
3. The universe exists. (It's virtual, but it exists in the same way that a computer game exists in our virtual world.)
4. Therefore, the universe has an explanation of its  existence.                  
5. Therefore, the explanation of the existence of the  universe is that we're a computer game in a real world.        

He proceeds to use my support and change "God" with his ultimate real world computer lol. In support of premise 1, he states:

"Athiests would have no objections to the assertion, "Then the cause of our universe must be explained." Premise 1 states that there are two modes of explanation. The answer is that the universe that our game-universe was created in is necessary for our universe to exist. Anyone can see that it's impossible for that universe to have a cause. If something caused that universe to exist, then that would be the denizens of another universe. Because an infinite regress of causes is impossible (if the number of past causes were infinite, then we would never arrive at the present, because the past would be "never ending"), then there must eventually be a necessarily existing uncaused cause, which is what the real world actually is. An uncaused real world is necessary for the functioning computer which houses our virtual universe to exist.
           
It simply must be true because if it weren't true, we wouldn't exist. That is the most detailed explanation we can provide given the fact that we can't leap out of our virtual world into the real world, because we are all made up of programming code, which cannot be rendered in a solid form that would be required to percieve the true universe. We know it's the one uncaused cause. There HAS to be one. Our virtual universe had to have been caused by the reactions universe that didn't have a beginning."

For premise 2: "This is most likely the crucial premise. One could surmise that, "if the computer that is running our universe does not exist, the universe has no explanation." This is the same as saying that if the universe does have an explanation, than the computer running the universe exists. One may attempt to avoid this premise is by saying that the universe exists by a necessity of its own nature. In this case the universe would be sort of running computer-substitute that exists necessarily. But this surely seems highly implausible. It seems so obvious that a different set of elementary particles could have existed. But this would imply that the universe is contingent, so then the universe would need an external cause. For this reason, no contemporary athiest believes the universe exists necessarily.
           
Furthermore, premise 2 seems plausible in its own light. Given that the our virtual-universe has been established with all the graphics, sound, hit detection, AI, programming, and other rules that we understand as physics, chemistry, and biology— a cause for our virtual universe would have to be a physical, material being beyond the confines of our virtual universe. We KNOW what fits this description, and that is a computer. Real physical objects, things, and creatures cause things. That is the effect of natural things. So the cause of the universe must be something natural."

How would you recommend I get out of this?


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OrdinaryClay

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Counter Argument to LCA
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2010, 01:59:49 pm »

The cause of the universe must be non-contingent. How does he justify the "Computer" being non-contingent?

"Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.(Luk 13:24)
So have I become your enemy by telling you the truth?(Gal 4:16)

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John Quin

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« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2010, 08:30:52 am »
I'm a rank amateur too, but I'd have to agree. The basis for LCA is that God necessarily exists but that physical objects like universes are contingent. The computer would not exist necessarily as something like numbers do or in the case of God a disembodied mind.
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What abiogenesis needs is a form of life so simple that even Stanley Miller could create it.

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Johan Biemans (jbiemans)

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Counter Argument to LCA
« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2010, 03:41:40 pm »
I asked this before but got no answer:

What is a disembodied mind ?  and how exactly can it do anything ?

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OrdinaryClay

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« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2010, 06:26:24 pm »
jbiemans wrote: I asked this before but got no answer:

What is a disembodied mind ?  and how exactly can it do anything ?

Seems self explanatory to me: disembodied = no body, mind = thinking entity. Exactly how is not relevant to the conclusion. Clearly, we can know something is done with out knowing how it's done.

Are you intending on defending the counter argument presented in the OP?

"Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.(Luk 13:24)
So have I become your enemy by telling you the truth?(Gal 4:16)

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Johan Biemans (jbiemans)

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« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2010, 07:03:40 pm »
I was responding to this:

or in the case of God a disembodied mind.

To call something a "thinking entity with no body", is still nonsense to me.  Besides, a mind is not a thinking entity.

A mind is a byproduct of the brain, and the brain is apart of the body.  I do not see how it is possible to be something that is the the byproduct of something you do not have.  To me a disembodied mind is like saying, noiseless sound.

Clearly, we can know something is done with out knowing how it's done.

Even if something is done, unless your explanation can explain something about how it is done, it is a useless explanation.

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OrdinaryClay

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« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2010, 08:13:14 pm »

jbiemans wrote: I was responding to this:
or in the case of God a disembodied mind.

To call something a "thinking entity with no body", is still nonsense to me.  Besides, a mind is not a thinking entity.
A mind is a byproduct of the brain, and the brain is apart of the body.  I do not see how it is possible to be something that is the the byproduct of something you do not have.  To me a disembodied mind is like saying, noiseless sound.

You are asserting materialism, which is a faith based position.


Quote
Clearly, we can know something is done with out knowing how it's done.

Even if something is done, unless your explanation can explain something about how it is done, it is a useless explanation.

This is blatantly wrong. None of us live our life according to this position. We structure our behavior based on having no knowledge of how something happens only that it does.

"Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.(Luk 13:24)
So have I become your enemy by telling you the truth?(Gal 4:16)

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John Quin

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« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2010, 08:30:35 pm »
jbiemans wrote: I was responding to this:

or in the case of God a disembodied mind.

To call something a "thinking entity with no body", is still nonsense to me.  Besides, a mind is not a thinking entity.

A mind is a byproduct of the brain, and the brain is apart of the body.  I do not see how it is possible to be something that is the the byproduct of something you do not have.  To me a disembodied mind is like saying, noiseless sound.

Clearly, we can know something is done with out knowing how it's done.

Even if something is done, unless your explanation can explain something about how it is done, it is a useless explanation.


If you hold to the position that the mind is purely a by-product of the brain then what is to stop the notion of Epiphenomenalism. In that case free will is an illusion. I think I am perfectly rational to believe that I do have free will and that the mind is not entirely a by-product of the brain.
I'm not sure that calling a disembodied mind as nonsense is all that compelling. It might be more interesting to ask the question what warrant one would have for thinking that a disembodied mind could exist. Perhaps it's simply a matter of deduction, ie contingent objects like the universe can not cause themselves so it is more rational to believe that a non-contingent mind is the cause.

I do remember reading somewhere (the infamous wiki I think) that Plantinga was not convinced that LCA could stand without the use of the ontological argument. Perhaps others could clarify if this is accurate or not.

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What abiogenesis needs is a form of life so simple that even Stanley Miller could create it.

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Johan Biemans (jbiemans)

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« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2010, 08:34:18 pm »
That has nothing to do with materialism.  It has to do with "mind/brain dualism"  I am asserting that it is false.  It is not a faith based position, it is demonstrable.  Can you demonstrate a mind that exists, without a body ?

This is blatantly wrong. None of us live your life according to this position. We structure our behavior all the time based on no knowledge of how something happens only that it does.

Speak for your self.  I live my life trying to figure out how things work, I am not simply content with just accepting that they do.  If someone tells me they have an explanation for something, I want to know specifics, or else why should I believe it.  If you told me there are gremlins in my car that cause it to run, why should I believe it unless you can tell me the how ?



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Johan Biemans (jbiemans)

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« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2010, 08:38:32 pm »
Perhaps it's simply a matter of deduction, ie contingent objects like the universe can not cause themselves so it is more rational to believe that a non-contingent mind is the cause.

But the other part of my question was: "How can a mind, actually cause anything ?"  How is it more rational to say that a mind is the cause, when you have no mechanism with which a disembodied mind (if it could exist) to cause anything.  

Also, how would you go about determining that a disembodied mind actually exists.  How do you separate it from everything else if it is non-physical.  Is it a special form of energy that we can measure, and observe it interacting with reality ?

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OrdinaryClay

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« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2010, 08:52:49 pm »

jbiemans wrote: That has nothing to do with materialism.  It has to do with "mind/brain dualism"  I am asserting that it is false.

Monism is an example of materialism. Also, dualism is not really the question here. The question is whether a mind (could be non-human) can exist with-out a body. This is slightly different then human dualism.


It is not a faith based position, it is demonstrable.  

Please demonstrate.


Can you demonstrate a mind that exists, without a body ?

There are two very good sources of evidence that non-human minds exist. First, arguments for creation and tuning of the universe are best explained by a deliberation process that requires a mind, and second, there is extensive credible testimonial evidence that non-human minds exist with out bodies. For example, through exorcisms.


Quote
This is blatantly wrong. None of us live your life according to this position. We structure our behavior all the time based on no knowledge of how something happens only that it does.

Speak for your self.  I live my life trying to figure out how things work, I am not simply content with just accepting that they do.  If someone tells me they have an explanation for something, I want to know specifics, or else why should I believe it.  If you told me there are gremlins in my car that cause it to run, why should I believe it unless you can tell me the how ?

You responded to what I did not say. You seem to be building a strawman. Feel free to figure all you want. This does not change the fact that we all behave all the time by acting on the knowledge that things will occur with out knowing how they occur.

"Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.(Luk 13:24)
So have I become your enemy by telling you the truth?(Gal 4:16)

11

OrdinaryClay

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« Reply #11 on: July 26, 2010, 09:00:09 pm »

jbiemans wrote:
But the other part of my question was: "How can a mind, actually cause anything ?"  How is it more rational to say that a mind is the cause, when you have no mechanism with which a disembodied mind (if it could exist) to cause anything.  

Because we don't know the mechanism does not mean it does not exist. As was pointed out we can through reasoning conclude it is the best explanation.


Also, how would you go about determining that a disembodied mind actually exists.  How do you separate it from everything else if it is non-physical.  Is it a special form of energy that we can measure, and observe it interacting with reality ?

The supernatural is detectable but not predictable. It is not predictable because non-human minds have free wills like human minds. We are not the puppeteers.

"Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.(Luk 13:24)
So have I become your enemy by telling you the truth?(Gal 4:16)

12

John Quin

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« Reply #12 on: July 26, 2010, 10:18:30 pm »
OrdinaryClay wrote:

The supernatural is detectable but not predictable. It is not predictable because non-human minds have free wills like human minds. We are not the puppeteers.



 

I’m intrigued by your comment that the supernatural is detectable. While I'd allow for the fact that miracles can happen I can certainly understand the sceptics POV. The observation of the supernatural is not something universal like the existence of objective moral values.
I guess I'd say that isn't not an untenable statement, but it just seems not very persuasive.
Or am I going wrong somewhere.

If someone claims to have seen the supernatural and they seem to be a rational person are you saying that it is more rational to believe that they are correct rather than take the position that they were mistaken and that a more rational explanation is some naturalism phenomena

 
--
What abiogenesis needs is a form of life so simple that even Stanley Miller could create it.

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OrdinaryClay

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« Reply #13 on: July 27, 2010, 07:09:50 am »
JohnQuin wrote:
Quote from: OrdinaryClay

The supernatural is detectable but not predictable. It is not predictable because non-human minds have free wills like human minds. We are not the puppeteers.



I’m intrigued by your comment that the supernatural is detectable. While I'd allow for the fact that miracles can happen I can certainly understand the sceptics POV. The observation of the supernatural is not something universal like the existence of objective moral values.
I guess I'd say that isn't not an untenable statement, but it just seems not very persuasive.
Or am I going wrong somewhere.

If someone claims to have seen the supernatural and they seem to be a rational person are you saying that it is more rational to believe that they are correct rather than take the position that they were mistaken and that a more rational explanation is some naturalism phenomena


If you allow miracles happen then they must be detectable. So we agree there.

I'm a skeptic when it comes to any human testimony. All such testimony should be subject to the normal scrutiny of testimony. The usual tests should be applied: credibility, consistency, corroboration and of course a search for plausible alternate explanations must be made. Still it must be taken into account that supernatural events are not empirically reproducible as the instigators of such events are free willed non-human minds.

I do not accept the materialist position that if a search for plausible alternate explanations fails then no matter how credible and plausible the witnesses are they must be deluded or lying. That approach simply begs the question.

I hope that helps clear up what I'm saying.
"Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.(Luk 13:24)
So have I become your enemy by telling you the truth?(Gal 4:16)

14

John Quin

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« Reply #14 on: July 27, 2010, 08:47:46 am »
OrdinaryClay wrote:
Quote from: JohnQuin
Quote from: OrdinaryClay

The supernatural is detectable but not predictable. It is not predictable because non-human minds have free wills like human minds. We are not the puppeteers.



I’m intrigued by your comment that the supernatural is detectable. While I'd allow for the fact that miracles can happen I can certainly understand the sceptics POV. The observation of the supernatural is not something universal like the existence of objective moral values.
I guess I'd say that isn't not an untenable statement, but it just seems not very persuasive.
Or am I going wrong somewhere.

If someone claims to have seen the supernatural and they seem to be a rational person are you saying that it is more rational to believe that they are correct rather than take the position that they were mistaken and that a more rational explanation is some naturalism phenomena


If you allow miracles happen then they must be detectable. So we agree there.

I'm a skeptic when it comes to any human testimony. All such testimony should be subject to the normal scrutiny of testimony. The usual tests should be applied: credibility, consistency, corroboration and of course a search for plausible alternate explanations must be made. Still it must be taken into account that supernatural events are not empirically reproducible as the instigators of such events are free willed non-human minds.

I do not accept the materialist position that if a search for plausible alternate explanations fails then no matter how credible and plausible the witnesses are they must be deluded or lying. That approach simply begs the question.

I hope that helps clear up what I'm saying.


Yes actually that's great. I just worry sometimes when many people I know are an easy sell on miracles, you know "Jesus got me a carpark".
--
What abiogenesis needs is a form of life so simple that even Stanley Miller could create it.