--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
This is a part I added recently so anyone who see this topic for the first time can see where it stands and answer respectively:

I don't see any good reason why I should accept that Maximal Greatness is possibly exemplified. To me it's simple. If proponent of MOA wants to claim that god exists in some possible world, he should prove it beyond reasonable doubt. Given that our world is the only to which we have access it means that in order for MOA to work its proponents have to prove decisively that god exists in our world. Only then we can accept its first premise. It shows that MOA in its final form is reduced to "if god exists, then god exists" or "if there are good reasons to think that god exiss, than it's reasonable to believe that god exists".

In both cases MOA is just a complicated way of saying what is obvious to anyone.

That's major objection which makes this argument useless.

The seond one is that no one provided any reason for why only specific kind of being (namely the Christian god) is proven using this reasoning).

Basically all reasons given for it could be summarized in few words:

It's an old tradition to use MOA to prove Christian god only, can we stick to it?

From what I gather proponents of MOA seem to think that because Christian god is an old concept it somehow adds credibility or probability to its existence, they think that because Christian god was designed so long ago it means it's in some way a better concept than the ones I gave as counterexamples, namely maximally evil god, and magical ball of energy capable of creating stuff.

Before it's proven otherwise every god, including Christian god is as man-made as any other concept you can think of. And no amount of years that passed, nor amount of people believing in it, nor amount of philosophical work done change it.

So far neither of these objections was even close to be rebutted in this topic and as you can they both makes MOA useless.

So I'm still waiting for someone to convince me.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1. It is possible that a maximally great being exists.
2. If it is possible that a maximally great being exists, then a maximally great being exists in some possible world.
3. If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world.
4. If a maximally great being exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world.
5. If a maximally great being exists in the actual world, then a maximally great being exists.
6. Therefore, a maximally great being exists.

I sincirely can't understand why OA is even called an argument.

OA is just circular reasoning and presuppositional argument in disguise. Existence in all possible worlds is necessary property of maximally great being. Without it a being wouldn't be maximally great. In other words argument comes down to "God exists because we defined god as existing being". The first premise already begs the question, saying that maximally great being may possibly exist is tantamount to saying that being that exist in every possible world may possibly exist in some world.

This issue alone makes this argument ridiculous to say the least, but there are more objections:

There is another problem namely being MGB is self contradictory. For example god must be maximally wet and maximally hot at the same time. It's impossible. We can't even use the oldest trick and say that god is beyond logic in this case because it would mean god isn't maximally coherent logical structure. Also we clearly see that god isn't MGB for example god isn't maximaly visible, or maximally recognizable, or maximally proven. Also Bible doesn't provide any evidence on behalf of Maximally Great God. Quite opposite, everybody who read the Bible will admit there is no point in believing that god is all great.

Furthemore Mr. Craig often uses OA together with KCA, and that brings contradiction. If god created everything it means that there was time when there was nothing but god. It means there was moment when god wasn't yet creator. It means god acquired new property. But since Maximally Great Beiing is already full it can't acquire new properties. So we can say that there was always creation and god. But it breaks Occam's Razor and makes Cosmological argument invalid. Of course that issue doesn't render OA invalid, it only shows lack of consistency among number of people who use it.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2016, 07:45:56 am by UnreasonableFaith »
You see a grammar or spelling error in my post? Feel free to point it out, I'm still learning.

1
Re: Ontological Argument completely doesn't make sense and here is why
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2016, 07:11:01 am »
My point about physical contradictory properties indeed may not be an objection, may usage of word tantamount could be not entirely correct too.

Having said that I don't see any defence against my main objection. That is if you define god as MGB you basically define god to existence. I'm sorry but that's it. If you start from "god exists by definition" I don't see the point in further argument. If you say "God is MGB" and finish on "God exists" you may very well make "proof" like this:
1. Figure X is triangle
2. Therefore X has 3 sides.

It's not even an argument, you're just unpacking definition.

You have two choices. You either concede existence is not a property and as a result not great making property either, which means MGB may still be MGB without it, and it's only condition required for properties to take place. Or you may argue existence itself is great making property either directly or by saying that neessary being is greater than contingent being and then you end up on saying that MGB exists by definition namely if you really unpack what MGB means that is "being that possess all great making properties at maximal level" and then "that  is maxymally loving, maximally powerful, exists ine very possible world, etc..."

I genuinely don't see any escape here. I suppose if not for a long history this "argument" could be possibly used as an example of bad reasoning and no one would take it seriously. But now that it's so old everybody presupposes there is something more to it than meets the eye.

Also I can do this:

1. Real god is MGB
2. Christian god is not MGB
3 Therefore Christian god is not real god.

Bible provides a lot of evidence for premise 2. If you're christian you have basically three options here:

1. You can consistently resign from christian faith since christian god isn't real god.
2. You can cherry pick from the Bible passagess which are in line with vision of christian god being MGB but that's obvious leap of faith. To ignore all evidence for the contrary both in the Bible and in external world (for example I an argue that maximally loving being wouldn't create world with so much suffer) and say "No, no, we have to trust god" you need colossal leap of faith but it raise the question. Why would you even bother to make any argument at all if you're already believing in god by the force of faith?
3. You can completely resign from ontological argument.

Also I think there is another major objection namely god that exists in actual world and god which exists in possible world isn't really the same god, let me explain. Possible worlds exists as ideas in our brains. There is no reason to think otherwise. It implies possible world with god also is an idea. We may now argue in two ways:

You can claim that this "possible word containing god" that exists in my mind is as real as world can be, therefore god exists. That would be an obvious absurd.

Or

You can say that the idea that exists in all possible worlds is greater than idea that exists in only one world. But ideas aren't real. They don't really exist, therefore MGB doesn't exist either or at least this line of reasoning is nowhere near to prove it.

And there is even another one. What about infinite amount of other things that are not maximally great yet by definition are necessary? For example what about "UnicornPlus" that is being which possess all characteristics of standard unicorn yet by definition is necessary? Does it exist too? The only rebuttal to this I ever heard is that unicorns are contingent not necessary. Obviously it's not an objection at all given everything I presented earlier.

I think these are four major reasons why I can't understand any theist who uses ontological argument.

1. It absolutely forces them to use pure faith to equal their god with MGB and obviously one can wonder why they'd even use arguments if they willingly take god on faith?
2. Defining god as existing being is an obvious absurd
3. Theist has to either admit real worlds with real gods really exists in my mind (oviously that begs the question again) or admit that what we're talking is only an idea.
4. Theists has to accept infinite amount of other things that exists by definition that is Spaghetti monsters, unocorns, elves, etc.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2016, 07:37:42 am by UnreasonableFaith »
You see a grammar or spelling error in my post? Feel free to point it out, I'm still learning.

2
Re: Ontological Argument completely doesn't make sense and here is why
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2016, 09:01:12 pm »
It's not a proof or argument when you say triangle has 3 sides it's definition. You don't prove that triangle has 3 sides. It's your starting point. Obviously this analogy is intended to show absurdity of defining MGB as existing being and calling it "proof". But I know you don't think existence has anything to do with MGB definition so I'll wait until you explain how otherwise you come up with existence given that MGB is new being that one makes up in one's mind.

Quote
I think you are not informed enough about Plantinga´s modal ontological argument. Plantinga´s argument does not assume existence is a property, as your comments seem to indicate:

I have no idea why do you think my post indicates the existence is a property even though I clearly wrote "You either concede existence is not a property and as a result not great making property".

Quote
Quote
“So existence and necessary existence are not themselves perfections, but necessary conditions of perfection.” (Plantinga, Alvin. The Nature of Necessity (Clarendon Library of Logic & Philosophy) (p. 214). Oxford University Press)


Also, Plantinga´s argument does not define a MGB as existing, but, rather argues for the possibility of the property of maximal greatness being exemplified. That there is a property does not imply it obtains in actuality, so, your objections rather miss the target, completely

It would be really much easier if you actualy presented how you derive the existence of MGB if you really consider my objections wrong. I don't see how quote from Platinga or your comment changes anything here. If MGB doesn't have to be necessary and doesn't have to exist where is the part of the argument when you get existence?

Quote
That you think that Possible worlds only exist as ideas in our brains implies that things could not have been different. In other words, that it is impossible that things are not the way they are.  This is by far not a view most people hold, rather we all think that if we do things one way or the other different results will ensue. So, I´d like to see an argument for that conclusion. After all, the burden of proof is on those making claims of what is the case and what is impossible.

I didn't say that possible worlds only exists as ideas and they can't exist in reality. What I meant was that we obviously know that ideas in our minds exist but we have no proof whatsoever to claim that any possible world we have idea about exist in actuality With exception of our world that is. And it's the point where proponents of OA make the switch between idea and reality. Let me present how it looks like:

1. MGB may exist in possible world, that is MGB exists as idea inside or together with idea depicting one possible world.
2. Therefore MGB exists in all possible worlds that is this idea is part or exists inside all other ideas
And here is catch
3. Therefore MGB exists in actual world. Wrong. It exists as idea in idea behind actual world. I think we can agree that actual physical world is one thing, and our idea of this world even if 100% accurate isn't really it.

The only escape I can think of here would be to argue that god inside my mind really is a god but then the same would go for literally everything and obviously it's begging question. If you know better way I'd be glad t hear it.

I suppose your response to my objections regarding all other things that should exists by definition is included in your earlier comment and quote from Platinga. But I don't see how can you go around this problem so I hope you'l exactly explain to me in no uncertain terms how MGB exists despite the fact neither existence nor necessity is ascribed as one of it's properties included in its unpacked definition. To me since you're making this being up it all ultimately boils down to definition.

Let's give christian faith a rest that's not a main point anyway.

I never make discussions personal nothing that I wrote or will wrote is intended to have any personal impact. I don't understand why would you demand anyone to respect anyone's worldview. Personally I don't demand anybody to respect mine. I can obviously say their objections against my worldview are unreasonable or that their own worldviews are irrational but I don't see anything here to be offended about. I think the fact some people keep saying "respect other people's worldviews" indeed make some people believe it's something sacred that should be protected against critique and then they indeed feel justified in taking offence etc. To me it's good idea to "lower the pressure" I think it may be deep difference between us.
You see a grammar or spelling error in my post? Feel free to point it out, I'm still learning.

3

Biep

  • **
  • 909 Posts
    • View Profile
    • Apologetics in Dutch
Re: Ontological Argument completely doesn't make sense and here is why
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2016, 02:01:08 am »
Obviously this analogy is intended to show absurdity of defining MGB as existing being and calling it "proof".
That would indeed be absurd - but then modal ontological arguments don't define an MGB as existing.  Did you check this analogy?

Quote
But I know you don't think existence has anything to do with MGB definition so I'll wait until you explain how otherwise you come up with existence given that MGB is new being that one makes up in one's mind.
No - the concept of an MGB may be in someone's mind - the MGB itself isn't.  (Likewise, the concept of possible worlds may be in someones mind; the worlds themselves aren't.  After all, the actual world is a possible world, and it is not in my or your mind.)
Existence of the MGB is derived first through A5, which brings one from ◊□S to □S, and then M, which takes the step from □S to S.  Of course it needs the initial input of ◊□S - if that isn't true, the argument ends up showing that an MGB cannot exist - because if a necessary being does not exist, it cannot exist.
So the argument hinges critically on the premiss that an MGB is possible, that, using possibilist terminology, there actually exists a possible world with an MGB, and defenders of the argument have a burden of proof there.  Merely thinking that such a possible world might exist won't cut it: it needs to be shown or made plausible that it actually does exist.

Quote
I don't understand why would you demand anyone to respect anyone's worldview.
If one believes to see trivial faults in a world view held by a large number of highly intelligent people, the plausible inference is that one is wrong, and the respectful way to act is to ask for clarification, rather than prescribing people holding that world view to choose between a set of options that presuppose this presumed fault.

That is part of what makes a discussion irenic.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2016, 02:56:25 am by Biep »
-- Biep
I tend to post and run, but always hope to return eventually.  Don't hold your breath, though.

I have very little energy at the moment, so don't expect much of me right now.

4
Re: Ontological Argument completely doesn't make sense and here is why
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2016, 07:33:27 am »
Quote
Quote
But I know you don't think existence has anything to do with MGB definition so I'll wait until you explain how otherwise you come up with existence given that MGB is new being that one makes up in one's mind.
No - the concept of an MGB may be in someone's mind - the MGB itself isn't.  (Likewise, the concept of possible worlds may be in someones mind; the worlds themselves aren't.  After all, the actual world is a possible world, and it is not in my or your mind.)

I fully agree. I completely don't udnerstand what led you to believe I think otherwise. I clearly made the difference between ideas or concepts and real objects. Actual world is possible world and concept of this world exists in our mind as well.

Quote
Existence of the MGB is derived first through A5, which brings one from ◊□S to □S, and then M, which takes the step from □S to S.  Of course it needs the initial input of ◊□S - if that isn't true, the argument ends up showing that an MGB cannot exist - because if a necessary being does not exist, it cannot exist.
So the argument hinges critically on the premiss that an MGB is possible, that, using possibilist terminology, there actually exists a possible world with an MGB, and defenders of the argument have a burden of proof there.  Merely thinking that such a possible world might exist won't cut it: it needs to be shown or made plausible that it actually does exist.

So basically speaking to make modal ontological argument for the existence of god working we have to independently prove that god exists. At the beginning i thought it's worst argument ever because it defines god into existence. Now I still think it isn't worth notice but for other, even better reason that is the main premise on whichh whole argument hinges is basically "There is actual possible world in which god exists" Given that we have no access to any other world than our actual one it boils down to "if god exists then god exists" If we somehow got access to other possible world than ours it would basically mean that our actual world is simply greater or more complex, with more say "sides" and that what we earlier conceived as other possible world is in fact part of ours. It always comes down to"we need to prove god exists in the first place"

If someone still think ontological argument holds water please consider this proof:

Let's define metaphisically possible immaterial being called UnicornPlus.

UnicornPlus is defined as being possessing following properties:
1. It's able to take material form of standard unicorn and in that form it can do everything usual unicorn can. After all MGB by definition can do everything so it seems legitimate to define being that can do something but not everything.
2. It does exist over your head. After all MGB by definition is omnipresent meaning it exists everywhere. It shouldn't be problem to define being that exists in only one or few locations.
3. It willingly uses it's abilities and indeed materialize over your head as often as logically possible. After all MGB is omnibenevolent meaning it must be doing good everytime it can. So if we can define MGB as always doing particular set of things namely good things in this case. I don't see any objections against defining UnicornPlus always as doing one particular thing namely materializing over your head.

And it's possible that UnicornPlus necessarily exists. Therefore you have to admit there is indeed unicorn right over your head. I often saw strawman versions of this contrargument but I think this one is unbeatable.

I think the only possible objections may be that UnicornPlus isn't metaphysically possible. Why would be so? Because someone said so? It doesn't matter anyway, I can redefine my being all the time to make it match standard. The only way to escape would be to say that the only metaphysically possible being is MGB itself. But it would be obvious adjustment ad hoc, plus it would mean souls can't exist.

Any objections?
« Last Edit: October 24, 2016, 07:35:56 pm by UnreasonableFaith »
You see a grammar or spelling error in my post? Feel free to point it out, I'm still learning.

5

Biep

  • **
  • 909 Posts
    • View Profile
    • Apologetics in Dutch
Re: Ontological Argument completely doesn't make sense and here is why
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2016, 12:49:41 pm »
So basically speaking to make modal ontological argument for the existence of god working we have to independently prove that god exists.
No.  I do not care very much for ontological arguments, but Plantinga's version (which is what we are discussing here) definitely does take a step, namely from possible existence to factual existence.  And since we are free to choose our own accessibility relation (the argument works with any choice, as long as it is transitive, symmetric and reflexive), this does give us quite a bit of leeway.

Quote
And it's possible that UnicornPlus necessarily exists.
How do you argue that?  Such a unicorn would be an existent, an ens, an entity - so how would you go about arguing that it can have necessary existence?  Or are you claiming that U+ is also existence itself, i.e. God with the extra property of always incarnating in the shape of a unicorn?  Then you'd have to argue that it is impossible for God not to incarnate in that way - otherwise such incarnation is merely something that God can do, and you are back with basically the orthodox notion of God..

I think you might like Leibniz' argument, (or Kurt Gödel's formalisation of it) better.  See Sobel's "Logic and Theism", or Language Gamer's helpful summary of it.  That proof does not require an independent proof of possibility, and it also solves the hairy problem if inter-world identity.  Finally, it derives the necessary existence of God, rather than starting from it.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2016, 12:51:37 pm by Biep »
-- Biep
I tend to post and run, but always hope to return eventually.  Don't hold your breath, though.

I have very little energy at the moment, so don't expect much of me right now.

6
Re: Ontological Argument completely doesn't make sense and here is why
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2016, 05:27:59 pm »
Quote
How do you argue that?  Such a unicorn would be an existent, an ens, an entity - so how would you go about arguing that it can have necessary existence?  Or are you claiming that U+ is also existence itself, i.e. God with the extra property of always incarnating in the shape of a unicorn?  Then you'd have to argue that it is impossible for God not to incarnate in that way - otherwise such incarnation is merely something that God can do, and you are back with basically the orthodox notion of God..

I don't understad this objection given the framework we're dealing with here. I described what U+ can do, what he does, and where he is. These three properties are of the exactly same kind as in case of MGB with one obvious difference namely they are not maximum. Then I did exactly what you said to be the correct way of deriving existence. That is I start from  ◊□S It's possible that it's necessary that U+ exists meaning there exist at least one possible world in which U+ exists necessarily, meaning there exists at least one possible world in which we can find being that exists in every possible world. It sounds so cringy I wish we could just simply treat necessity as property. I started from exactly same point, used exactly same logic, and arrived at fale conclusion. It necessarily follows my starting point had to be false.  That is we can't treat possible worlds as existing outside our brains. I don't see how you draw any similarities between god and UnicornPlus. Also I don't see why would you demand me to prove that it's possible for U+ to necessarily exists. If it's enough to say "I can imagine that MGB can necessarily exist so it's possible"  then I don't see how it could be wrong to do the same with other being.

To me this example demonstrates that first premise of MOA is wrong.

So either there is something wrong about the way I define UnicornPlus but I don't see it given that I used the same kind of properties that are used in defining MGB with one difference that is they are not at maximum level. So the only possible objection here is that beings can only be defined using maximally great properties which I think is nonsense. Or that maybe that it's legitimat to say "It's possible MGB necesarily exists" but it's not ok to say that "It's possible U+ necessarily exists" but if there is such problem then you definitely didn;t explain it, and I personally can't imagine at the moment why it would be so.

I think I'll later read this recommended topic. I can't imagine how it could skip the problem given that we're not dealing with anything we can test or measure, we're limited to ideas and because we're basically making this thing up from scratch it seems reasonable to say no matter how complex word plays proponent tried to use it ultimately has to end up on definining something into existence.  But for now I'd be happy if you could explain why do you think may counterexample doesn't fly.

UPTADE:

I've finally looked up Gödel's argument

http://skepticsplay.blogspot.com/2009/06/godels-ontological-argument-step-by.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%B6del%27s_ontological_proof

and I think the fact you recommended it means I should make further clarification regarding what I'm arguing against because I can't help feeling we're using different channels here. First of all I'm not arguing against mathematics and logic in particular.  To me it's as clear as anything can be to one, that if you take particular set of axioms and definitions you can prove that god exists. I'm not arguing here against validity of logic used or even against conclusion. I'm not arguing against conclusion "God exists" I'm arguing against "God exists, therefore it's now only a matter of investigating which, if any, contemporary religions is true one" I'm arguing against attempts to impose one's logic or more precisely one's particular set of axioms and definitions upon real world. I'm sure Gödel would agree.

Plus notice that this argument can be obviously used to prove anything, it's not an accident that the word used is "positive". It can simply means everything.

From wiki: "This assumes that it is possible to single out positive properties from among all properties. Gödel comments that "Positive means positive in the moral aesthetic sense (independently of the accidental structure of the world)"

There is nothing in the laws of logic that prevent us from interpreting positive property in whatever way we like, there is nothing that prevent us from using other word like say "unicornish property". One can possibly argue that unicorn sounds too physical to them, but I can easily adjust my definition and point out that god they really want to believe in had to interact via physical world too. And again it's obvious to me Gödel was fully aware of this and similarly to me would despise any attempt at using his argument as direct and sufficient justification of faith.

So to sum it up:

I agree both MOAs prove, within their framework, that god exists, I think Gödel's proof is very nice one.

I don't agree any of these proves that it's now only an issue of which god we should worship.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2016, 06:40:26 am by UnreasonableFaith »
You see a grammar or spelling error in my post? Feel free to point it out, I'm still learning.

7

Biep

  • **
  • 909 Posts
    • View Profile
    • Apologetics in Dutch
Re: Ontological Argument completely doesn't make sense and here is why
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2016, 08:17:42 am »
Hi UF,

Again - I am not defending any ontological argument per se, just trying to clarify what they do and don't achieve.

But for now I'd be happy if you could explain why do you think may counterexample doesn't fly.
Oh, it may fly - if you can support the possibility of its necessary existence.

Part of the issue is very sloppy language use by theists.  When talking about "an MGB", one is - wrongly - identifying the being sought as "a being", an entity.  I wrote about the same issue in another context here (see also the next post in that thread).

The reason necessary existence is plausible for God is that He is (the explanation for) existence at all.  He - it is claimed - is existence itself.  Which means that, if God exists, the universe can only exist in a derivative sense, as dependent on Him - which means that every possible world necessarily includes God.

Now we can be wrong about the nature of existence - maybe existence doesn't require God, in which case God (the supposed origin of existence) doesn't exist, and even cannot exist, because existence is based on something else.  So (given an accessibility relation that is not overly broad) God either cannot exist, or He must exist.

The same is not true for entities, existents - beings within the world.  One would need a very narrow accessibility relation to make any entity necessary - and the narrower the accessibility relation, the harder it is to argue for possible existence.  In the extreme case, only the actual world would be possible, and then arguing for possible existences simply amounts to arguing to factual existence - and the OA wouldn't add anything.

So if the U+ is the origin of being, its necessary nature is obvious enough - but then the thing above my head is just an incarnation (just as Jesus - assuming Christianity - was an incarnation, and as such an entity in our world).  If, on the other hand, U+ is not the origin of being, what is it that argues for its necessity?

Does that make sense?
-- Biep
I tend to post and run, but always hope to return eventually.  Don't hold your breath, though.

I have very little energy at the moment, so don't expect much of me right now.

8
Re: Ontological Argument completely doesn't make sense and here is why
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2016, 12:28:31 pm »
There are many issues here and I'd still like to know what's your standpoint, does any of these arguments prove anything of practical impact, or are we just dealing with logical exercise? In other words, is this argument both valid and sound or just valid?

1. For one thing I can just say that it's possible that natural world exists necessarily. You can't deny it without begging the question.

2. I think it's false dichotomy that god either cannot exist or he exists necessarily. We don't define god as necessary, we just said it can be the case it exists necessarily. But I don't see anything wrong with mere saying that it's possible that god exist without using word necessary. It's completely other question that we can examine, so yeah I think it's perfectly possible for god to exist in only one world given that he is not necessary by definition. So even if we found god in one world it still means nothing.

3. I don't see how does it follow that introducing necessary god to every possible world somehow automatically means god is all existence. Maybe I'm wrong but isn't it perfectly plausible that there may be more than one necessary being? Aren't number necessary for example? Or maybe those are two different categories? Therefore I don't really see why I shall explain anything about UnicornPlus

4. It's just came to my mind, since we don't define as necessary, what if we formulate our premise differently, namely it's possible that it's necessary that god doesn't exist. Nothing in the definition of god warrant its existence, therefore it looks to me like there is nothing wrong with this attempt to disprove god. I can perfectly imagine that there may be some logical or metaphysical, and certainly physical obstacles against the concept of omnipotent disembodied mind.

5. Even if all objections you wrote were perfectly spot on I could still cut out almost everything. We don't need omnibenevolence here, nor omniscience, nor personality. Or I can switch from omnibenevolence to omnimalevolence so already at this point you have to admit you can't prove omnibenevolent god using this agument because it may be used to prove god of evil too. If you really want something that may be easily imaginable as necessary I can come up with some mystical impersonal energy capable of creating universes. However I think it's dangerously similar to quantum vacuum and we can skip word mystical completely thus reducing this case to just one nation, namely natural world may exist necessarily.

6. I still can't detect any transit between logical constructs and factual world. Every possible world we're talking about here is just idea or concept, when we refer to actual world what we in fact mean is concept of actual world that exists as an idea in our mind.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2016, 11:59:44 am by UnreasonableFaith »
You see a grammar or spelling error in my post? Feel free to point it out, I'm still learning.

9

Biep

  • **
  • 909 Posts
    • View Profile
    • Apologetics in Dutch
Re: Ontological Argument completely doesn't make sense and here is why
« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2016, 12:13:09 am »
There are many issues here and I'd still like to know what's your standpoint, does any of these arguments prove anything of practical impact, or are we just dealing with logical exercise? In other words, is this argument both valid and sound or just valid?
Hi UF,

I'll try to deal with your questions, but I am really overstretching the little energy I have, so this is rushed.
For Plantinga's argument, the crux is the possibility premise.  I am skeptical of his arguments for that (as is he himself, by the way), but if someone can build a good argument for metaphysical possibility, the remainder of the argument follows.

Quote
1. For one thing I can just say that it's possible that natural world exists necessarily. You can't deny it without begging the question.
That is true, but now you are talking of epistemic possibility - and that isn't enough to make the argument work, because the modal axioms only apply to identical modalities.  This thread discusses that.
David Chalmers has written a relevant article regarding possibility and conceivability.

Quote
2. I think it's false dichotomy that god either cannot exist or he exists necessarily.
Let's take a less controversial example - assuming an accessibility relation that reaches "our kind of worlds", where maybe Hitler would have won the war, but where pigs don't fly.
Water is H2O - and necessarily so.  If it weren't H2O, it wouldn't be water, would it?  Now imagine we are unsure about this, for some reason (maybe we are only just starting Chemistry lessons).  Then we'd say: "Well, if water is H2O, then it necessarily is H2O, i.e. it is so in all possible worlds - worlds in which it isn't aren't ontically possible.  But if it isn't, it isn't in any possible world.  So either water must be H2O, or it cannot be H2O.
With God it is the same thing.  Existence needs an explanation, but we are unsure about the nature of that explanation.  Yet, because in our kind of worlds existence is the case, whatever the explanation is must necessarily be the explanation.  If brute existence is the explanation, then it necessarily is, and there is no place for God in any possible world.  If brute existence isn't, then it won't be in any world.  And likewise for God.
Why are logic and math true?  Why do space, time and matter (or the substrate that enables them) exist?  Why causation, why the laws of physics?  Whatever the answer is, it must necessarily be the answer.
(And whatever the answer is, it cannot be some being inside this world, inside time-space, because that would be begging the question.  Brute existence cannot be itself an existent, can it?  Quite apart for the conceptual loop that would imply, something within time could never create time, as it "wouldn't have the time to do so".)
Quote
But I don't see anything wrong with mere saying that it's possible that god exist without using word necessary.
There is nothing wrong with that - but the necessity follows as explained above.
Quote
3. I don't see how does it follow that introducing necessary god to every possible world somehow automatically means god is all existence.
It doesn't mean that - the implication is the other way around.  God being pure existence (or the ground of pure existence) is simply classical theism (see e.g. Thomas Aquinas' De ente et essentia, especially points 89-91).  It is what we mean when we are talking of God, and it is what the notion of MGB is trying to capture.
Anselm's ontological proof and Thomas' five ways are related.  By going from e.g. moved things to their movers, one goes up the "greatness" ladder, the First Mover being the greatest thing - and likewise with all the other ways.  That which "causes" existence is greater than that whose existence is caused by it.  The dreamer is greater than the dream.
Quote
Maybe I'm wrong but isn't it perfectly plausible that there may be more than one necessary being? Aren't number necessary for example?
For us there are indeed many necessary beings - but what is the ground of their necessity?  "Math just is", brutely?  Then brute existence is necessary in a more fundamental sense - is greater than math.
Quote
4. It's just came to my mind, since we don't define as necessary, what if we formulate our premise differently, namely it's possible that it's necessary that god doesn't exist.
Yes, that is the obvious counterclaim to the possbility of the MGB.  If for whatever reason there is no final ground of existence, then there cannot be one.
Quote
I can perfectly imagine that there may be some logical or metaphysical, and certainly physical obstacles against the concept of omnipotent disembodied mind.
Metaphysical maybe, but not logical or physical - because such obstacles could only apply to existents, to beings subject to logical and physical laws, not to the source of such laws.
(Here I must say that Dr. Craig seems partially to disagree with me - and I don't know how he grounds logic.)
Quote
5. Even if all objections you wrote were perfectly spot on I could still cut out almost everything. We don't need omnibenevolence here, nor omniscience, nor personality.
True, the argument as given doesn't take us all the way to the Christian God.  Dr. Craig makes an argument for personality based on the finite time since creation.
Quote
Or I can switch from omnibenevolence to omnimalevolence so already at this point you have to admit you can't prove omnibenevolent god using this agument because it may be used to prove god of evil too.
No, I am afraid that wouldn't work, as omnimalevolence is a posterior notion.  Given a sufficiently broad accessibility relation, a necessary being can only have prior properties.
Quote
If you really want something that may be easily imaginable as necessary I can come up with some mystical impersonal energy capable of creating universes.
Yep, that is basically what brute existence is - except that it isn't an energy, because energy would make it an existent again, requiring something greater to explain it.
Quote
However I think it's dangerously similar to quantum vacuum and we can skip word mystical completely thus reducing this case to just one nation, namely natural world may exist necessarily.
Except that the quantum vacuum is part of the explanandum, and still awaits an explanans.  There is something greater than the quantum vacuum, even if it is only brute existence.
Quote
6. I still can't detect any transit between logical constructs and factual world.
The factual world seems subject to mathematical laws, and mathematics seems subject to logical laws.  So logic can tell us what is necessary, contingently possible, or impossible about the world.  And here it tells us that the MGB is not contingent.
Quote
Every possible world we're talking about here is just idea or concept, when we refer to actual world what we in fact mean is concept of actual world that exists as an idea in our mind.
That is true - our ideas refer to the external actual or possible worlds, but they are not identical with them.  Yet, if our ideas faithfully represent those worlds, they can give us information about them.  If I put a marble in an empty bag, and then add another marble, the idea in my mind tells me there are now two marbles in the bag - and that corresponds to the truth in the actual world.
So the concepts of such possible worlds (including the actual world) is in our mind, and if those concepts are correct, they can tell us something about the real possible worlds (again including the real actual world).
-- Biep
I tend to post and run, but always hope to return eventually.  Don't hold your breath, though.

I have very little energy at the moment, so don't expect much of me right now.

10
Re: Ontological Argument completely doesn't make sense and here is why
« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2016, 02:39:23 pm »
I think I'll stick to the main point.

Quote
Yep, that is basically what brute existence is - except that it isn't an energy, because energy would make it an existent again, requiring something greater to explain it.

We may call it however you wish, the point is it isn't god yet it can exist necessarily.

I don't even know why I  continue to use coumterexamples. The moment you said god's existence is derived via "It's possible that god necessarily exists" I should ask you for proof that god is the only thing that can possibly exists necessarily. So I ask you now. And by god I obviously mean this personal omnipotent being.

Also how can you know there is something greater than quantum vacuum? Maybe there isn't even if there is then what? Maybe string theory is the final solution?

And I have to add I still think original latinga's argument define god as necessary :

"The “victorious” modal ontological argument of Plantinga 1974 goes roughly as follows: Say that an entity possesses “maximal excellence” if and only if it is omnipotent, omnscient, and morally perfect. Say, further, that an entity possesses “maximal greatness” if and only if it possesses maximal excellence in every possible world—that is, if and only if it is necessarily existent and necessarily maximally excellent."

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ontological-arguments/
« Last Edit: November 05, 2016, 12:29:51 pm by UnreasonableFaith »
You see a grammar or spelling error in my post? Feel free to point it out, I'm still learning.

11

Al Graham

  • **
  • 36 Posts
    • View Profile
Re: Ontological Argument completely doesn't make sense and here is why
« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2016, 02:40:35 pm »
The following are some thoughts I have had when reflecting on the Ontological Argument...

The problem I have with the OA concerns the idea of "maximally great".  The phrase is quantitative, and it implies that qualities can be described in quantitative terms.  Should qualities be described in this way?  Can they be described in this way?  I suppose they can.  A person may be considered more compassionate than another, but this quality can be described in terms of certain quantifiable actions within a given context.  For example, one person may be considered "more generous" than another, in that she gives more money to those in need (either in absolute terms, or, more likely, relative to her disposable income). Or she may give more of her time.  Her superior level of generosity can be quantified.  Or if money and time are not involved, the quality of her attitude can still be quantified in terms of the effect her benevolence has on others in real terms.

Any comparison of abilities, attributes and qualities implies the existence of a scale, which functions quantitatively.  Because we are dealing with degree, we cannot escape a mathematical approach to this even when talking about qualities.  Now it is clear that a 'maximum' implies a limit.   Since there is no such thing as a "maximally great" number, for obvious reasons, then it follows that there cannot exist a "maximally great" anything that can be subject to quantification.  If there does exist a "maximally great" something which is not subject to a limit, and which does not need to be described quantitatively, then no comparison can be made with other entities possessing the said "something" quality, because there is no means - a scale of comparison - by which a comparison can be made.  Thus the term 'maximal' has no meaning, given that its meaning derives from the function of comparison.  A scale of comparison has to have some kind of quantitative basis.

It thus follows that the one unfailing quality of anything which is limitlessly "maximally great" is non-existence, given that, as mentioned, a "maximally great" number or quantity cannot exist.  It can only exist if there is an absolute limit to quantity, degree or extent, and thus we would need to embrace finitism or ultrafinitism.  Is this consistent with the idea of an eternal God?

Now it may seem that I, as a committed and completely convinced theist, am presenting an argument for atheism.  But that would only be the case if the concept of limitless maximal greatness was proven to be intrinsic to the definition of 'God', and that such a concept could not be defined non-quantitatively.

The term "maximally great" could mean nothing more than the idea that God is the first cause and origin of all things, and of all that is good (evil being essentially a corruption or deprivation of what is good).  If this is the case, then we cannot actually compare God with any other being.  In one sense we can, in the way that we can compare the luminosity of the sun and the moon, but in another sense we cannot compare the luminosity of the sun and moon, because we are not comparing two independent sources of light.  In the same way, it could be said that whatever goodness a person happens to possess is merely God working in and through his life.  Thus God is not really "more good" than that man, as if the man independently possesses a smaller degree of goodness.  It is rather than God is all goodness and the man, as an independent entity, possesses no goodness at all, as all goodness comes from God.  Thus God cannot be said to be "maximally great" in terms of moral goodness, because there is no such thing as minimal goodness in the sense that a man could possess a lesser degree of goodness independently of God.

My view is that we should accept that God is simply what He is.  There is no comparison with His creatures, and any comparison we make is merely an anthropomorphism, as if God is the highest being in a hierarchy.   "Maximally great" is a meaningless idea when applied to God, as it implies a limit, given that an eternal and limitless God could always add "one bit of something" to His repository of maximal greatness.

The word 'greatness' seems to be used by the OA as a rather general term to denote the highest possible degree of all properties and qualities.  If that is the case, then the OA surely cannot be valid unless it posits a limit which defines the maximum.  But such a limit undermines the idea of an infinite and eternal God.  A limitless maximal greatness implies non-existence, as I have explained.

The only solution is to strip away from the term "maximal greatness" any idea of measurement, scale or quantity.  But then the function of comparison becomes a victim of this purge, thus rendering the idea of 'maximal' meaningless.
To understand that logic must be valid is to see at once that mind cannot be alien to the nature of the universe. Many people think this is due to the fact that Nature produced the mind. But on the assumption that Nature is herself mindless, this provides no explanation. CS Lewis (abridged)

12

ParaclitosLogos

  • ***
  • 4902 Posts
    • View Profile
Re: Ontological Argument completely doesn't make sense and here is why
« Reply #12 on: November 03, 2016, 04:22:46 am »
@ AI Graham.

Just like Quantification in general quantification of maximality does not depend on numbers having maximal value.

For example (it´s just an example), one can take it that Maximal greatness is to have all perfections relevant to God´s divine nature, not one less , not one more.

Or have it that perfect goodness is to be the paradigm of the highest good itself, there is no higher good , and no less than that, and, so on.

These are forms of quantification that has no dependance whatsoever with numbers.

13

Al Graham

  • **
  • 36 Posts
    • View Profile
Re: Ontological Argument completely doesn't make sense and here is why
« Reply #13 on: November 03, 2016, 01:48:52 pm »
@ AI Graham.

Just like Quantification in general quantification of maximality does not depend on numbers having maximal value.

For example (it´s just an example), one can take it that Maximal greatness is to have all perfections relevant to God´s divine nature, not one less , not one more.

Or have it that perfect goodness is to be the paradigm of the highest good itself, there is no higher good , and no less than that, and, so on.

These are forms of quantification that has no dependance whatsoever with numbers.

In one sense I agree with you, and I admit it seems rather crude to try to impose mathematical logic on our understanding of God's nature.  But the point I was making concerns the use of the term 'maximal'.  Goodness is simply goodness, and greatness is simply greatness.  And if I could express this in a numerical way: the number 'one' in the set consisting only of the number 'one' is both the maximum and minimum member of the set.  A maximum that is also a minimum is, of course, an absurdity.  One cannot talk about something being 'maximal' when it is indivisible and therefore not distributable in different measures.  The perfect qualities of God, though imperfectly reflected in man, are not divisible. 

The language of 'maximum', 'minimum', "more than", "less than", even when applied to qualities, even moral qualities, is the language of quantification, even if the 'measures' used are entirely abstruse.  I put together the following line of argument:

1. "Maximal greatness" is "greatness to a maximum degree".
2. 'Degree' implies the existence of a scale.
3. A scale is, in principle, measurable.
4. Anything measurable consists of measures.
5. There is no maximum measure in an unbounded infinite set.
6. Therefore the set of "measures of greatness" is bounded if "maximal greatness" exists.
7. If God possesses maximal greatness, then God's greatness is bounded.
8. God, by definition, is the highest authority in all respects, and is therefore not bounded by anything other than Himself.
9. Therefore God cannot possess "maximal greatness" (except by question begging if God Himself is the bound by which maximal greatness is defined)

or His greatness cannot be described as 'maximal'

or if "maximal greatness" is part of the definition of God, then God does not exist

or God exists and is bounded by something other than Himself and thus cannot be the highest authority, because whatever defines the boundary at which God's greatness operates is greater than God, and thus "being the highest authority" is not part of the definition of God,

or if it is, then God does not exist.


The only conclusion acceptable to a theist is this: God is great, but His greatness cannot be described as 'maximal'.  This does not denigrate His greatness, because there is no need to compare His greatness with any other greatness, because no other greatness exists.

There is no greatness other than the greatness of God, and any other true greatness is merely a reflection of God's greatness.  Since there is only one greatness, then it cannot be 'maximal' - and to repeat the example I gave above - in the same way that the number one in the set consisting only of the number one is neither the maximum nor minimum member of the set or it is both.  A maximum that is also a minimum is not a maximum at all.

The idea of "maximal greatness" applied to God is, paradoxically, an expression of creaturely hubris, as it implies that other 'greatnesses' actually exist (potentially in competition with God's greatness, despite being inferior), and thus denies created reality's entire dependence on God, who is the source of all that is good and great.  Thus, ironically, the idea of "maximal greatness", when applied to God, undermines the greatness of God.   Interestingly, Jesus Himself stated that "there is no one good but God", when He Himself was referred to as "good teacher".  Goodness is therefore a singularity unique to God and therefore cannot operate on any kind of moral or spiritual sliding scale which defines the concepts of 'maximum' and 'minimum'.

Also... from where do we derive the standard by which we judge greatness and maximal greatness?  If God ultimately provides the standard by which we judge His attributes and qualities, is this not a form of question begging?
To understand that logic must be valid is to see at once that mind cannot be alien to the nature of the universe. Many people think this is due to the fact that Nature produced the mind. But on the assumption that Nature is herself mindless, this provides no explanation. CS Lewis (abridged)

14

ParaclitosLogos

  • ***
  • 4902 Posts
    • View Profile
Re: Ontological Argument completely doesn't make sense and here is why
« Reply #14 on: November 03, 2016, 03:14:32 pm »
@ AI Graham.

Just like Quantification in general quantification of maximality does not depend on numbers having maximal value.

For example (it´s just an example), one can take it that Maximal greatness is to have all perfections relevant to God´s divine nature, not one less , not one more.

Or have it that perfect goodness is to be the paradigm of the highest good itself, there is no higher good , and no less than that, and, so on.

These are forms of quantification that has no dependance whatsoever with numbers.

In one sense I agree with you, and I admit it seems rather crude to try to impose mathematical logic on our understanding of God's nature.  But the point I was making concerns the use of the term 'maximal'.  Goodness is simply goodness, and greatness is simply greatness.  And if I could express this in a numerical way: the number 'one' in the set consisting only of the number 'one' is both the maximum and minimum member of the set.  A maximum that is also a minimum is, of course, an absurdity.  One cannot talk about something being 'maximal' when it is indivisible and therefore not distributable in different measures.  The perfect qualities of God, though imperfectly reflected in man, are not divisible. 

The language of 'maximum', 'minimum', "more than", "less than", even when applied to qualities, even moral qualities, is the language of quantification, even if the 'measures' used are entirely abstruse.  I put together the following line of argument:

1. "Maximal greatness" is "greatness to a maximum degree".
2. 'Degree' implies the existence of a scale.
3. A scale is, in principle, measurable.
4. Anything measurable consists of measures.
5. There is no maximum measure in an unbounded infinite set.
6. Therefore the set of "measures of greatness" is bounded if "maximal greatness" exists.
7. If God possesses maximal greatness, then God's greatness is bounded.
8. God, by definition, is the highest authority in all respects, and is therefore not bounded by anything other than Himself.
9. Therefore God cannot possess "maximal greatness" (except by question begging if God Himself is the bound by which maximal greatness is defined)

or His greatness cannot be described as 'maximal'

or if "maximal greatness" is part of the definition of God, then God does not exist

or God exists and is bounded by something other than Himself and thus cannot be the highest authority, because whatever defines the boundary at which God's greatness operates is greater than God, and thus "being the highest authority" is not part of the definition of God,

or if it is, then God does not exist.


The only conclusion acceptable to a theist is this: God is great, but His greatness cannot be described as 'maximal'.  This does not denigrate His greatness, because there is no need to compare His greatness with any other greatness, because no other greatness exists.

There is no greatness other than the greatness of God, and any other true greatness is merely a reflection of God's greatness.  Since there is only one greatness, then it cannot be 'maximal' - and to repeat the example I gave above - in the same way that the number one in the set consisting only of the number one is neither the maximum nor minimum member of the set or it is both.  A maximum that is also a minimum is not a maximum at all.

The idea of "maximal greatness" applied to God is, paradoxically, an expression of creaturely hubris, as it implies that other 'greatnesses' actually exist (potentially in competition with God's greatness, despite being inferior), and thus denies created reality's entire dependence on God, who is the source of all that is good and great.  Thus, ironically, the idea of "maximal greatness", when applied to God, undermines the greatness of God.   Interestingly, Jesus Himself stated that "there is no one good but God", when He Himself was referred to as "good teacher".  Goodness is therefore a singularity unique to God and therefore cannot operate on any kind of moral or spiritual sliding scale which defines the concepts of 'maximum' and 'minimum'.

Also... from where do we derive the standard by which we judge greatness and maximal greatness?  If God ultimately provides the standard by which we judge His attributes and qualities, is this not a form of question begging?

The argument equivocates between premises 7 and 8, on the concept of unbounded.

Let me ask you some simple questions.

If God has all perfections, relevant to God´s divine nature ,how many perfections more Can God have?

If a being,  has all perfections, relevant to God´s divine nature, ,  minus one perfection, how many more perfections ( of the same kind) can that being have?

Is having all perfection, in the sense discussed, here, bounded or unbounded?



PS: plausibly, premise 5) is false. A probabilistic measure with an exponential distribution is a measure of unbounded  set that has a maximum measure (namely, 1)
« Last Edit: November 03, 2016, 07:39:41 pm by ontologicalme »