Debate Rounds (4)
I also define the following as such in order to avoid confusion:
A) Necessity: could not have been different.
B) Contingency: could have been different.
We must assume the following in this argument: it is greater to be necessary than contingent; one cannot conceive of something that is impossible i.e. a triangle with four angles. These assumptions, I believe are quite obvious, and I only suggest that they are assumed so that I don't have to spend the whole argument proving them.
I am taking my content from St. Anselm's "Proslogium III" and "Proslogium II" in which is found the ontological argument.
I will now commence the argument:
1) God is Necessary (i.e. by nature).
A: It is greater to be necessary than contingent.
B: God is the greatest possible being.
Conclusion 1: God is necessary (i.e. by nature).
2) Regarding God's actual existence.
A: We conceive of a necessary being i.e., the greatest possible being.
B: All things properly conceived are possible.
Conclusion 2: (this has been broken up into 3 parts)
C-1: God must exist.
C-2: God can't exist.
C-3: It's possible that God can either exist or not exist.
...It is apparent, however, that "C-3" is false because by necessity, a necessary being cannot contain possibility since possibility is a property proper to contingency i.e., if X could be Z if Y, then X is contingent upon Y.
Therefore the only possible final solutions are as follows:
C-1: God must exist.
C-2: God can't exist.
Now the opponent must attempt to either: a) point out a mistake in the argument, or b) prove C-2 in which case they assume the burden of proof.
Please, no insults, subjective references, banter etc. Essentially, be polite.
Let's deconstruct your reasoning here.
It is greater to be necessary than contingent.
God is the greatest possible being.
Therefore, God is necessary.
Your logic is valid, but not sound. First off you assume that necessary is greater than contigency. "Greater" is an artificial concept which does not apply to natural laws. "Necessary" and "contingent" are two concepts that are not comparable by "greatness".
You continue to assume God is the greatest possible being. You have not proven that God exists, therefore the premise is wrong. If I say the spaghetti monster is the greatest possible being, then your logic would still apply. But the spaghetti monster doesn't exist until proven, as is God.
We conceive of a necessary being, ie. the greatest possible being.
All things properly conceived are possible.
God must exist.
God can't exist.
It's possible that God can either exist or not exist.
You again rely on the premise that God is necessary, allegedly deduced in your previous argument but it was faulty. Therefore this new reasoning is based on a false premise, which makes it gain faulty.
I would also like to remind you that you -the instigator- make a positive claim which means you have the burden of proof and I don't have to prove God doesn't exist. You have to prove he does.
Good luck with it.
Evidently you have misinterpreted the term "greatness" into what often refers to beauty or some sort of subjective response. By this I only mean that necessity is prior to contingency and therefore is more universal. Universal implies infinity which is obviously greater than finite as it is with finite numbers (actually infinity is infinitely greater than anything finite). So therefore that which is more universal is greater than that which is less universal. So in this way, necessity and contingency are both able to be qualified in terms of greatness, which is their relation to how universal each one is.
Secondly, you must understand that I have not defined God as the greatest possible being, but rather I have defined the greatest possible being as God. If you wish you may refer to this being as whatever you would like but that is only nominal since I have defined the nature of the being which I intend to prove. By defining this being I am not assuming it exists (obviously) but demonstrating the nature of the being of which I intend to prove.
Finally, since I have shown that my logic to which you objected is sound, the second syllogism remains true.
And as for the burden of proof, I have sufficiently demonstrated that there are two possible conclusions the first of the two I accept, since the second conclusion would require me to exhaustively disprove every possible theory that explains God to be impossible. And if I would argue both points, why are you debating? I would have no need for an opponent. Therefore you ought to defend your position and argue mine. I will do the same.
You're right, 2 is a greater number than 1. But how does this translate to necessity and contigency? It's like saying red is greater than blue. It's like saying inside is greater than outside. It's like saying up is greater than down. They are two separate concepts, subjectively ranking them would be illogical.
And how does universal imply infinite? Do you think the universe is infinite?
Moving on, you still have the burden of proof. Disproving every theory explaining God is impossible would be indeed exhausting. How about proving one theory of God existing? You only need to prove one to prove God exists.
"We must assume the following in this argument: it is greater to be necessary than contingent; one cannot conceive of something that is impossible i.e. a triangle with four angles. These assumptions, I believe are quite obvious, and I only suggest that they are assumed so that I don't have to spend the whole argument proving them."
Obviously you haven't thoroughly read my opening argument since you intend to spend the rest of the argument discussing why necessity and contingency cannot be compared or something of that sort. I will attempt one final time to address this --- the only standing issue in my argument.
Con: "They are two separate concepts... [,necessity and contingency]"
I am sure you did not mean to say this because they indeed are not two separate concepts. Necessity has to do with the very essence of things as does contingency. I understand that they are two different realities but indeed they are concepts which share in a common species of definition.
Con: "...subjectively ranking them would be illogical. [,necessity and contingency]"
Pro: "Evidently you have misinterpreted the term "greatness" into what often refers to beauty or some sort of subjective response."
I quote these to show you that I agree with you, a subjective response i.e., a response that is based purely on feeling and exists in the elective faculty, would indeed be foolish to use in a demonstration. However, I maintain that this is not a subjective ranking but rather a matter of intuition i.e., the same intuition by which we accept the Law of Non-Contradiction. This intuition is natural within the intellect and, like the Law of Non-Contradiction, cannot be demonstrated. I maintain that understanding the order of these things in the universe, i.e. what is more perfect, can never be fully demonstrated since a syllogism requires two premises that are more universal than the conclusion. Since there is nothing more universal than the perfection of the universal it would seem obvious that there cannot be premises offered in order to conclude that necessity is greater than contingency. We must trust our intuition within the intellect by which we believe in LNC, which is the basis of all logic and rationality.
Necessity implies these things about a being: a) it is possible for this being to exist; b) it is impossible for this being not to exist.
Contingency implies these things about a being: a) it is possible for this being to exist; b) it is possible for this being not to exist.
I insist that it is greater i.e., of a greater degree of perfection, for a being to be unable to not exist than for a being to be possible to exist or not exist. This I cannot demonstrate as I have attempted to explain above. It is analogous to how one maintains that it is better for something to be rational than irrational. We cannot prove this without first assuming that it is better to have a reason for it which is evident by our desire to prove it. So if you disagree that necessity is more perfect than contingency on the basis that it based on intuition, remember that you assuming that providing a logical reason for anything is better than stating it for no reason, is indeed an act of faith upon your own intuition.
C1: God must exist i.e., God does exist
C2: God can't exist
Now, I would like to take a moment to give an example.
Suppose you and a friend were discussing your childhood love for baseball. You fondly recall your favorite memories of games you both played together. After discussing this at great length, your friend, remembering his old baseball glove, exclaims that he still has it somewhere in his garage. He tells you that, it could be nowhere but there; the glove must be in the garage.
You, at hearing this, scoff at the possibility of your friend still having his old baseball glove since it was so long ago.
Your friend, convinced that the baseball glove is still in his garage insists that you come over to his place to look for it. You agree to go with him.
Upon arriving, your friend enters the garage and begins to search for the glove. He mutters to himself, "it must be here". You stand by and watch him as he looks.
Now, would it be more logical to assume that the ball is in the garage or to provide reasons for every way in which it could not possibly be there still. Because, for every reason you give, you realize that there is still a possibility that the glove is in the garage. Instead of continuing to stand by and watch, would it not be better to join him in searching for the glove knowing that it must be here if anywhere at all, rather than spending hours upon hours providing reasons for why it could not be in the garage.
I understand that this example derails from a syllogistic approach to more of an appeal to experience, but I maintain that this is the best way to find God. We know that God must exist, unless it is absolutely impossible in every way for God to exist. Analogous to my little story, it would be in the best interest of the person searching for God to look for evidence in life, and experience the beauty in life, maybe realizing through experience that God exists rather than to sit and suggest a myriad of reasons for which God could not possibly exist.
I provide this response since I simply do not have the time or the will to attempt to exhaustively provide refutations for every existing insistence against God's existence. So I leave my argument at this: is it better to live a life in search of the greatest possible being, or to live life looking for reasons that show that this being cannot possibly exist. It's up to you.
Continuing your baseball analogy. If your friend keeps searching and keeps searching but can't find it, it would be pretty safe to assume he doesn't have it in his garage. I would proceed to say: "Stop wasting your time, Jim, it's not there". Jim would respond: "But you can't prove it's not there because we haven't searched all of the garage!". And remember, it's a huge garage and searching through all of its stuff would take days. "I've said the glove was there, so it's true until we look at every square inch of the garage and can't find it!"
Pro has sort of proved that either God exists or he doesn't, but can't prove that he does. So the two statements remain in the middle.
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