The Instigator
ExNihilo
Pro (for)
Winning
17 Points
The Contender
maninorange
Con (against)
Losing
11 Points

Resolved: The Ontological Argument is Sound

Do you like this debate?NoYes+4
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Vote Here
Pro Tied Con
Who did you agree with before the debate?
Who did you agree with after the debate?
Who had better conduct?
Who had better spelling and grammar?
Who made more convincing arguments?
Who used the most reliable sources?
Reasons for your voting decision - Required
1,000 Characters Remaining
The voting period for this debate does not end.
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/2/2011 Category: Religion
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 8,068 times Debate No: 15761
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (130)
Votes (5)

 

ExNihilo

Pro

Framework: In order to show that the Ontological Argument is not sound, the CON must show that one of the premises of the argument is untrue. If all of the premises of the argument are true, the conclusion follows with necessity as it is a deductive argument.

Observation One: 'Possible Worlds' are descriptions of reality. They are ways the world could have been but is not actually. For example, fairies do not actually exist, but there is some possible world in which fairies do exist. If something is possible, then it exists in some possible world.

Observation Two: A Maximally Great Being (MGB) is a being that is omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent and that exists in every logically possible world (necessary existence). Since an MGB is a being "than which no greater being can be concieved," it must have the property of necessity since to exist in only some possible worlds would not be maximally great, that is, one can conceive of a greater being; namely one that exists in every world.

Observation Three: To say something is possible, that is, something that is logically coherent, is the same as saying that there is some possible world in which this thing does exist. To say that a thing exists in every possible world is to say that that thing exists in the actual world, since out world is a possible world. To say that something, of which the property of necessity is exemplified, exists in some possible world, is the same as saying that it exists in every possible world because to necessarily exist means to exist in every possible world.

The Argument:

Premise (1): It is possible that a MGB exists
Premise (2): If it is possible that a MGB exists, then a MGB exists in some possible world
Premise (3): If a MGB exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world
Premise (4): If a MGB exists in every possible world, it exists in the actual world
Premise (5): If a MGB exists in the actual world, then a MGB exists
Conclusion (6): Therefore, a MGB exists in the actual world
Conclusion (7): Therefore, a MGB exists

Premises 2-7 are uncontroversial. The modal logic with which the argument functions is very well established and both atheistic and theistic philosophers would agree. Thus, the whole argument rests on whether or not the existence of a MGB is possible.

Justification for Premise 1:

There are two types of possibilities: Metaphysical Possibility and Epistemic Possibility. The former represents things that are actually possible because their properties are not logically incoherent, or there are no logical contradictions. For example, a round square is metaphysically impossible because it is logically incoherent. Having a coin in your pocket is metaphysically possible since there is no logical incoherence about that event. Epistemic possibility is "for all we know, X is true." It is the same as being presented with a difficult math equation and seeing the solution. For all you know it may be true or false. An example would be the coin: For all I know you could have a coin in your pocket. Metaphysical possibility deals with actual possibility, those things which could actually exist because their properties are not logically incoherent. Therefore, if something is logically coherent, then it is metaphysically possible.

So, is the concept of a MGB coherent? Well, there seems to be no contradiction within the definition I gave; no incoherence. It seems perfectly plausible that the properties within the definition are logically consistent. Thus, if the definition on which the argument relies is coherent, then it follows that Premise 1 is true and therefore the argument is true. In order for the CON to disprove 1, the concept of a MGB needs to be proven incoherent; like a round square. No such contradiction seems to be evident.

Thus, if you think God's existence is even possible, then it follows that God exists. And we therefore have a priori proof for the existence of a MGB, AKA God.
maninorange

Con

As a disclaimer, I agree that the ontological argument is a sound argument for a maximally great being. What I will be showing to be faulty is your definition of a maximally great being, and therefore your suggestion that this maximally great being is God. This will become clear in a moment.


For the purpose of this argument, I put forth the following as suggestions for definitions of “great” and “greatness”:


Great – Powerful; possessing the ability to accomplish.


Greatness – A measure of a thing’s ability to accomplish.


For this round, I will be operating under these definitions. If you do not agree with these or wish to put forth alternative definitions, please do so in the next round.


It is your assertion that a maximally great being would be omniscient. I claim that omniscience is irrelevant to a being’s greatness. Indeed, it is my claim that consciousness is not a quality required of a maximally great being.


A maximally great being which can accomplish the same tasks without a consciousness would be just as great as a maximally great being with a consciousness would be. Our human perception suggests that having a mind makes things “better,” but this does not make something more able to accomplish. If a maximally great being were instead a pre-planned set of events dependent upon circumstances, it would not change that being’s ability to set those events into motion.


It is also your assertion that a maximally great being would be omnibenevolent. Even if we establish that such a being had a consciousness, it is not required that it do good works. Again, certainly we humans would prefer that it were benevolent. However, an omnibenevolent being is in fact limited in that it cannot perform evil tasks. I propose that a neutral being is in fact greater than either an omnibenevolent or omnimalevolent being as it can freely perform either good or evil tasks, if we were to even establish that such things existed.


What we are left with is a being which is omnipotent (that is, it can accomplish anything), and exists in every logically possible world. Existence itself is omnipotent (If it exists in a possible world, then it has been accomplished under the power of existence itself. Not even God is claimed to be able to make logically incoherent things exist.) and must exist in every logically possible world, as for it to be otherwise is a contradiction.


Existence itself is a maximally great being. If you wish to worship a non-conscious entity which would as soon destroy you as create you, you are free to do so. However, it is my contention that this is no God at all, but merely a feature of reality.

Debate Round No. 1
ExNihilo

Pro

Thank you for the debate.

Right from the start I can make the clear extension of the Ontological Argument I offered. The reason is that even if everything you said is correct, the argument is still true, which means its conclusion is also true. Notice how the definition I offered of a MGB is not part of the argument in terms of the deductive syllogism. This is because the syllogism, if the premises are true, prove the definition of a MGB to which I appealed. That is, if the argument is true then the definition of a MGB I offered is exemplified in a being that actually exists. If you accept that "it is possible that a MGB exists" as in MGB that I defined, then everything follows. So you have not shown how my definition is incoherent.

But, naturally, your arguments are vacuous.

Your use of definitions for specific words are fallacious. My a MGB, supporters of the Ontological Argument do not mean Great to be "powerful" and greatness to be "measure of ability to accomplish." As I said, taken together, a MGB is a being "than which no greater being can be conceived." If you can think of a greater being, then that would be the MGB. Thus, if the properties of this being to which I have appealed are properties that a MGB should have as a being than which none greater can be conceived, then it follows that my definition is superior.

Omniscience:

Your argument is demonstrably fallacious. You say: "A maximally great being which can accomplish the same tasks without a consciousness would be just as great as a maximally great being with a consciousness would be."

This is false. You already concede that a MGB would have omnipotence. But if a MGB has omnipotence, then it would have to have consciousness. For if it could not experience the ability to perceive and reason and think, then it not only is not a MGB but it is also not omnipotent because there is something that is logically possible that it cannot do; namely, the property of having consciousness. Moreover, if it does not have the ability to be all-knowing then it is not truly a MGB since we can plausibly conceive of a being that is greater; one who does have the property of maximal intelligence and knowledge. So your claim that a MGB is fallacious because by definition, the most perfect conceivable being would have the properties of knowing and reason and consciousness. These things are better to have than not to have, otherwise it is blind about without purpose.

An omnibenevolent being is also a property of maximal greatness because to not be the greatest possible authority on morality would be inferior to what it means to be maximally great, that is, the greatest conceivable being. By the very nature of maximal greatness, the nature of such a being would entail the property of being all-good, for to be all good is greater than to be partially good or all-evil.

Then you claim that existence itself is omnipotent. You have committed the fallacy of equivocation in terms of the word omnipotent. Omnipotent means a things ability to do all logically possible things. But an abstract concept of a thing that is, on your equivocated definition of omnipotence, void of any ability to perceive or reason or invoke purpose or experience love or experience person hood etc. is by definition not omnipotence. Your view renders this abstraction as a thing that cannot do a multiplicity of things that we would consider a MGB to be able to do. Thus, you completely undermine the definition of omnipotence because your view means there are plausibly things that cannot be done by this being.

It is important to note, however, that I win even if everything above is false. You have simply pointed out that a MGB does not have to have certain properties. But you did not show that having those properties is logically incoherent. Since you did not prove that it is logically incoherent, then that means the argument's conclusion follows and therefore a MGB under my definition exists. Since the argument is based on the definition I gave, and the definition I gave is logically possible, then the conclusion is inescapable based on the laws of deduction. Since it is possible that a MGB as defined by me in post 1 is possibly exemplified in a world, then it follows that such a being does exist, even if you are correct and a MGB does not have to have those properties. My argument shows that it does.

By the way, references include Alvin Plantinga who developed this modal form.
maninorange

Con

“Right from the start I can make the clear extension of the Ontological Argument I offered. The reason is that even if everything you said is correct, the argument is still true, which means its conclusion is also true.”

Unfortunately, your conclusion was not “There is a maximally great being,” but “There is a God,” which you indicate in the final line of the first round. There is indeed a maximally great being; you have no disagreement from me on that count. My disagreement is in that this maximally great being is God or even A god. This statement also encompasses the claim you make in your final paragraph of round 2.

“Your use of definitions for specific words are fallacious. My a MGB, supporters of the Ontological Argument do not mean Great to be "powerful" and greatness to be "measure of ability to accomplish."”

Unfortunately, without establishing a definition of the word “great,” you are potentially guilty of an equivocation fallacy. Allow me to explain:

If we take the word “great” to mean “of major significance or importance,” then your maximally great being is not omnipotent, omniscience, or omnibenevolent. In fact, I declare that a maximally great being would instead be myself. I am much more important to me than an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent being, because I do not believe such a being exists. Therefore, I can think of a “greater” being than the greatest conceivable being.

It is clear you do not accept the definition of “great” to be “Powerful; possessing the ability to accomplish.” I suggest you attempt to establish an alternative definition in the next round to avoid the aforementioned fallacy.

You suggest that “[your] definition” is superior at the end of the paragraph I have just referenced. I ask: did you mean the definition of a maximally great being? If this is the case, then I will simply state that your definition can be less restrictive and accomplish the same goal, and is thus, inferior. Indeed, one component is potentially contradictory (provided that you do not sufficiently defend it), which, if shown to be the case, would entirely nullify the usefulness of your definition. Did you mean the definition of “great,” and “greatness”? If this is the case, then I again suggest you attempt to establish these definitions in the next round.

I will extend my argument against omniscience as your rebuttal is based upon a disagreement on the meaning of the word “great.” Until you establish an alternative definition, the argument stands.
“An omnibenevolent being is also a property of maximal greatness because to not be the greatest possible authority on morality would be inferior to what it means to be maximally great, that is, the greatest conceivable being.”

A being need not be benevolent to establish a moral law, should one exist. In fact, an omnipotent, omnimalevolent being would have to establish a moral law in order to defy it.

You claim that to be good is greater than to be partially good or all-evil. Indeed, we may prefer a being which is all-good, but if the definition of “greatness” is not established to have a meaning that encompasses morality, this claim holds no weight.

Therefore, I again claim that a neutral being would be greater than either as it would have no restriction upon its actions.

“Then you claim that existence itself is omnipotent. You have committed the fallacy of equivocation in terms of the word omnipotent. Omnipotent means a things ability to do all logically possible things.”

Indeed, existence is responsible for all logically possible things. If existence did not itself exist, then there would not exist anything, including the concepts of those things which are logically possible. By itself existing, existence has put into place all that exists, and an alteration in existence itself could put into existence anything which could possibly exist.

“But an abstract concept of a thing that is, on your equivocated definition of omnipotence, void of any ability to perceive or reason or invoke purpose or experience love or experience person hood etc. is by definition not omnipotence.”

Again, this disagreement takes place based on your disagreement with my definition of “great.” I will take this opportunity to put further weight on the irrelevance of omniscience until an alternative definition is given.

Debate Round No. 2
ExNihilo

Pro

I think you are not understanding the argument:

I claimed that the definition, on which the Ontological argument relies, of a Maximally Great Being is a being who has the properties of omnipotence, omniscience, omnibenevolence, and existence in every possible world.

Now, based on that definition of a MGB, the argument in terms of the syllogism proves that such a being exists.

1. It is possible that a MGB exists (MGB is the definition I gave)

If this premise is true, then the rest follows. The argument proves the definition I gave, so in order for you to deny the existence of such a being, you have got to refute one of the premises. Insofar as you have yet to refute any of them, the conclusion follows with necessity.

Your use of definitions is dubious and irrelevant. Even if I grant that your definitions of individual words is applicable, all I have to do is change the phrase "MGB" to God. Then the argument still follows so the semantics game is irrelevant:

God is the greatest conceivable being. As the greatest conceivable being He would be omnipotent, omniscient and necessary in every possible world.

1. It is possible that God exists
2. If it is possible that God exists, then God exists in some possible world
3. If God exists in some possible world, then He exists in every possible world
... and the rest follows.

So your quibbling about the semantics of the individual words of MGB is irrelevant since the conclusion still follows. The entire argument can be extended because the argument, regardless of your definitions, proves that a being that I HAVE DEFINED exists. So in order to win, you have got to reject a specific premise otherwise there is an indictment to which you may have to be subjected: irrationality. The conclusion follows with necessity if the premises are true, and you have yet to refute one of them.

is sorry, you are incorrect. The conclusion of the syllogism, which is the argument, is "Therefore, a MGB (as in, a being that is all powerful, all knowing, all good in every possible world) exists." Like I said, MGB in the syllogism is the same as saying "It is possible that an all knowing, all good, all powerful, and necessary being exists in every possible world." MGB is simply to name a being who has all of those properties.

I am not equivocating since I established a definition of an entire concept: maximal greatness. The argument functions under the definition I gave in argument one which you have yet to respond. You cannot simply define a word within a concept. The concept is defined as a whole. Remember, the argument functions independent of individual definitions, the argument (as in the syllogism) proves the MGB that I defined, so your quibbling is irrelevant.

My argument is NOT based on a disagreement of the definitions you offered. I am sure that generically, that is what those words mean. But I have defined the concept of a maximally great being as a being than which no greater being can be conceived; the greatest conceivable being. The argument, which you have yet to respond, proves THIS definition, which means your arguments are irrelevant. I cannot stress this enough because the argument functions on the definition I provided. This is common knowledge if you look up the literature on the modal ontological argument.

My argument from omniscience goes unrefuted. The fact is you CONCEDED omnipotence as a property of a MGB. You contradict yourself completely by saying that a MGB does not have the properties of knowledge, reason, all-knowingness etc. because that means there are things which a MGB cannot do/experience which contradicts omnipotence. Implication: you are equivocating in terms of omnipotence since this means to have the ability to do all of that which is logically possible, which includes being all-knowing.

On omnibenvolence: look, even if such a being does not have to be benevolent, this is absolutely irrelevant. The reason is because the argument proves that a being with this property actually exists. Even if it does not have to have this property, so what? The argument proves that it does with the conclusion. "Therefore, a MGB (as I have defined it) exists."

On existence: it is paradoxical that you should make this argument. The obsolete version of the Ontological Argument developed by Anselm of Cantebury in 1033 A.D. made the same mistake by considering existence to be a property. Immanuel Kant did away with this argument by proving that existence is not a predicate or a property. This is absurd. Look it up, this has been sufficiently refuted. Moreover, your claim that existence alone is omnipotent is false and is equivocation. Omnipotent, again, means the ability to do that which is logically possible. But an abstract concept that you offer does not have the ability to think, experience personhood, etc. So you are not using the word properly.

I think it is clear that the argument stands. To get away from the definition debate, here is why I win:

1. It is possible that an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent and necessarily-existent (O^3NE) being exists.
2. If its possible that an O^3NE being exists, then an O^3NE exists in some possible world
3. If an O^3NE exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world
4. If an O^3NE exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world
5. If an O^3NE exists in the actual world, then it exists
6. Therefore, an O^3NE exists in the actual world
7. Therefore, an O^3NE exists

You have already conceded that the logic with which the argument functions is sound. So the conclusion follows from the premises and I have successfully circumvented your use of individual definitions to prove that a being, as I have defined it, actually exists.

Hence, the Ontological Argument is sound

As Bertrand Russell remarked "Great God in boots! The Ontological Argument is sound!"
maninorange

Con

Thank you for attempting to clarify this for me. I have indeed understood the argument, and I have spent the past two rounds explaining to you how crucial it is that you define the term "great."

Unfortunately, you have still neglected to establish a definition. This is of prime importance in determining either the truth of your premises or the validity of your argument. Please choose a definition for great which can be used to describe God in the way that you desire and also allows your argument to retain its validity. Your other option is to be guilty of an equivocation fallacy. I requested in round 1 that you do this in round 2. I am now asking that you do this in round 4.

You have indeed defined a maximally great being... however, you have done so quite poorly. To provide this definition, you have used a word which does not have a certain definition. If we don't know what "great" means, how are we supposed to know if a maximally "great" being is comparable to God? Again, I provide the example in which "great" means “of major significance or importance." In this case, I am greater than God, as I am much more important to myself as I do not believe in God. Am I God? Of course not. I implore you; for the sake of the validity of your argument, provide a definition for the word "great."

It's quite impossible for me to continue until you provide me with a sufficient definition. I have already shown your definition of a maximally great being to be faulty under my definition of "great," and you have not contested it under this definition. Extend all arguments until pro provides a valid definition.

As for your refutation of my claims about existence... I should warn you not to become too distracted with this. This was after all only a suggestion as to what this maximally great being could be; it is not necessary for me to provide this in order to show your claim for the existence of God to be false. All the same, as I have about 6000 characters left, I shall defend it.
At no point did I suggest that existence is a property. I am well aware of the proof of which you speak; however, I suggested existence as an entity, not a property. Existence may not be a predicate, but it certainly can be a subject.
Furthermore, in the case of existence itself, a consciousness may not be logically possible as there would be no physical thing to be responsible for this consciousness. Thus, its omnipotence remains intact.
You accuse me of imporperly using the word "omnipotent." I should point out that existence need not do anything in order to be able to do everything. Taking advantage of omnipotence is not required under the terms of omnipotence.

Debate Round No. 3
ExNihilo

Pro

I am sorry. You are not answering the argument. The argument does not rely on the individual definition of its parts. The definition of a MGB as defined by Alvin Plantinga, who developed this argument, is as was defined by me in round one. You are quibbling about nothing

Extension One: Everyone can extend the argument I made in the first rebuttal about how his definitions game was irrelevant. The argument does not rely on the definition of particular words. Rather, the argument proves the definition to which I appealed. I demonstrated this in the following way, an argument to which he did not respond:

1. It is possible that an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent and necessarily-existent (O^3NE) being exists.
2. If its possible that an O^3NE being exists, then an O^3NE exists in some possible world
3. If an O^3NE exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world
4. If an O^3NE exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world
5. If an O^3NE exists in the actual world, then it exists
6. Therefore, an O^3NE exists in the actual world
7. Therefore, an O^3NE exists

See, using "MGB" is not needed; its just three words used to defined a being with the properties mentioned above. The argument functions the same and proves that a being with O^3NE exists. The conclusion follows unless he attacks one of the premises, which he has yet to do.

Extension Two: I also proved the above argument by showing that using specifically "MGB" is necessary if I simply replace it with "GOD." God is defined as an omnipotent, all knowing all good and necessary being. Now, working under this definition, the argument still works into the conclusion, PROVING THAT INDIVIDUAL DEFINITIONS ARE IRRELEVANT:

1. It is possible that God (as defined) exists
2. If it is possible that God exists, then God exists in some possible world
3. If God exists in some possible world, then He exists in every possible world
....The rest follows.

Moreover, the use of individual definitions, I argued, is misleading. There are dozens of definitions of the word "great." None of the encompass the philosophy of religion since, a common dictionary is not a good reference when having discussions like these. First I will offer a collective definition of a MGB from an authority (since I seem to be inadequate) and then use individual definitions to do the exact same ridiculous things hes doing to undermine his positions:

From Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:
"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, omniscient, 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."

It matters not individual definitions, but the collective definition since no matter what you call it, the argument proves that an All knowing, all good, all powerful and necessary being exists. Call it a MGB or not. Call it a sandwich (this would be equivocating but if you define "sandwich" as having these properties, then the argument STILL works and it proves a God in whom you do not believe)

But now I will employ reductio ad absurdum to show how your use of definitions is pointless.

OMNIBENEVOLENCE:
A definition of "GREAT" is "having unusual merit, very admirable." "Of noble character"

Well, one of the dozens of definitions of this word encompasses the above. So if individual definitions matter, I guess being all-good is a part of "merit," "admiration" and "nobility." So in order for you to dispute this, you would have to attack even more words. This shows the absurdity in your tactics.

You make an unwarranted assertion and finally attack the idea of being all-knowing as "may not be logically possible." That's nice, can you provide an argument? There is no explicit logical incoherence of an unembodied mind; there is therefore a possible world in which these things could exist. They are metaphysically possible.

I do not even need to defend dualism-interactionism because you make a devastating concession. Namely, you concede that a MGB exists, but it only has the property of omnipotence.

Extension 3: This is devastating. You have not responded to the fact that you are equivocating. Omnipotence means, for the third time, the ability to do all things that are logically possible. If this being is omnipotent and does not have the property of consciousness, and by extension, the ability to think, feel, act in purpose etc., then there are logically possible things it cannot do. Hence, not omnipotent. But you conceded it was omnipotent. Therefore, it follows necessarily that it does have a mind not bound by physicality.

You object:
You accuse me of improperly using the word "omnipotent." I should point out that existence need not do anything in order to be able to do everything. Taking advantage of omnipotence is not required under the terms of omnipotence.

This is demonstrably fallacious:

Sure, an omnipotent thing need not do anything if IT CHOOSES NOT TO. But that entails its ability to choose. Sure God does not need to do something, but in order for Him to be omnipotent, He must have the ability to do all of that which is logically possible. If something cannot think, reason, etc. the fact that it does not do this is irrelevant insofar as it cannot do these things, hence it not being omnipotent. Again, equivocation.

For the sake of everybody else, I cannot stress how irrelevant his points are to the truth of the argument. You may disagree with the argument, but we can all agree, through the laws of logic and deduction, that if the premises are true, the conclusion must be true. And he has yet to respond to a single premise.

Once again, his entire argument rests on the word "great," having one of many definitions. I will repost:

1. It is possible that an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent and necessarily-existent (O^3NE) being exists.
2. If its possible that an O^3NE being exists, then an O^3NE exists in some possible world
3. If an O^3NE exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world
4. If an O^3NE exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world
5. If an O^3NE exists in the actual world, then it exists
6. Therefore, an O^3NE exists in the actual world
7. Therefore, an O^3NE exists

Notice here how "great" or MGB is nowhere in the argument. Why? Because it is NOT needed, "great" and "MGB" are not necessary for the argument.
maninorange

Con

Thank you for finally expressing your position on the use of the word "great." I do find it saddening that you have waited until round 4 to do so, but I hope that my points will become clear now that you have done this.

You suggest that the argument proves the definition to which you appealed. This is true if and only if your definition allows your argument to be valid. For example, if I define a maximally great being as a being with the highest tolerance for spicy food, it does not logically follow that its existence in a possible world implies its existence in all possible worlds.
Until you define the word "great," it is unclear if your argument follows logically.

You then present, again, another form of the argument which does not use the word "great." I should first note that this is not the same argument that you were arguing for the validity of. Reminding the voters to keep this in mind, I shall do the extra work of dismantling it anyway:
I am currently thinking of a world in which necessary existence is not a property and which is inaccessible via other possible worlds. This is a possible world under your definition. Under your "new" definition of a maximally great being, premise 3 has thus been falsified.
Furthermore, in philosophy, validity is determined by truth tables. Any form of argument in which the conclusion may be false given true premises is invalid. I shall now define a few other gods:
A maximally horrible being is a being which is omnipotent, omniscient, necessarily-existent, and omnimalevolent

A maximally irritating being is a being which is omnipotent, omniscient, necessarily-existent, regularly intervenes in the universe to play practical jokes on people and confuse them, and has an inexplicable love of Miley Cyrus music.
A maximally competitive being is a being which is omnipotent, omniscient, necessarily-existent being and which has only one goal: to undo everything the maximally great being does.
If the ontological argument were valid to prove the existence of any being you define, it is also valid to prove the existence of any being I define. Unless you concede the existence of those beings which I have defined, the argument structure is invalid.
Fortunately, the existence of all of these things is negated by the falsity of premise 3 under their definitions.

In response to extension 2, this is what I was countering when I first said that I conceded the existence of a maximally great being if and only if it allowed for the validity of the argument. Any maximally great being which would fit would not be considered God.

If you propose to use the definition of a maximally great being that the Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy uses, I then ask you to define "excellence" just as I asked you to define "greatness," and for the same reason. I also bring forth the possible world which is inaccessible via other possible worlds and in which necessary existence is not a property.

Thank you for providing a definition of the word "great" which allows your being to be omnibenevolent. Unfortunately, if this is what is meant by "great," premise 3 of your argument is false. An omnibenevolent being would be just as benevolent if restricted to one possible world.
Your flaw resides in attempting to combine all definitions of the word "great." This is the nature of the equivocation fallacy. A problem arises when we decide which definition will take priority. For example, if great means "Powerful. Possessing the ability to accomplish," and "of major significance or importance," one of two things is called into question: whether this maximally great being should be considered a god, or the validity of the argument. If the former takes priority, then the same problems I have presented before arise. If the latter takes priority, then I declare that I am greater than God.

On the necessity of consciousness, note that I was careful in my wording. I suggested that a disembodied mind may not be logically possible. However, this appears to be distracting you from the main issue. My statement was that a maximally great being need not be conscious, depending on the definition of great. If this being does not have a mind, then it cannot think, reason, etc. However these are things which are logically impossible to do without a mind. There is no way, at least that you have presented, to get from mindlessness + omnipotence to a contradiction, therefore implying mindedness. The non-conscious entity's omnipotence remains intact.

Extension 3 is but a reiteration of this point. I have already addressed this.

"Sure, an omnipotent thing need not do anything if IT CHOOSES NOT TO. But that entails its ability to choose."

This does not follow. A rock need not do anything if it chooses not to. This does not entail an ability to choose. It is possible that the thing simply cannot choose due to a logical impossibility to do so. Remember that omnipotence is not necessarily useful.

In response to your final statements, if the word "great" was not required in the beginning, then you should not have used it in your definition. This was a flaw in your own planning. Definitions are best kept specific and exclusive. Your original definition was neither.

I will, for the last time, suggest that you present a definition of the word "great" so that your original argument can be valid and your maximally great being will retain the status of "god." You may want to present another argument, but this is not relevant to the validity of your original argument, which you were arguing for. Furthermore, based on my past experience, your original argument is the one which will be the easiest to defend due to its vagueness. It is my recommendation that you focus your next round on it instead.

I await your decision.


Debate Round No. 4
ExNihilo

Pro

This is a terrible parody. The reason why a MGB under the definition I presented applies to all possible worlds is because a property of a MGB as defined is that the explanation for its existence, if it actually exists, is necessary rather than contingent existence. If you define a MGB as one that is most "tolerable" of spicy food then the premises would not follow from this definition. So by using this example, which is fallacious, and comparing it to the definition I gave, which does lead into the conclusion, you have proven that the definition to which I have appealed is sound. Necessary existence is existence in every logically possible world. Necessity is a property, existence is not.

Then, FINALLY, you attempt to deny a premise of the actual argument. The arguments without the word "great" in them are NOT different arguments. They are the same exact arguments I gave in the first post. What you have not refuted is that the word "great" is meaningless since the argument functions by replacing it with "God" and O^3NE the same exact way. Thus, definitions like the ones you gave do not matter when determining the soundess of the argument.

"I am currently thinking of a world in which necessary existence is not a property and which is inaccessible via other possible worlds"

This shows your ignorance of the modal realm. In no possible world can necessity not be a property. This is true because anything that exists has an explanation of its existence. These explanations are of two sorts: (1) they exist by a necessity of their own nature or (2) they exist by an external cause (contingency). The property of necessity exists in every possible world. These are the two explanations of being.

I will address your parodies by addressing the first. My objections will apply to all of them:

On Maximal Horribleness: This is bad. "Maximally Horrible Being" just is to say that there exists a being that is omnimalevolent (this is what it means to be maximally horrible). But, Maximal Horribleness does not, in itself, warrant the application of omnipotence and omniscience. Thus, it is impossible for this being to have these properties as well as necessity since "Maximal Horribleness" only entails one of the properties you described: omnimalevolence. On the contrary, a MGB as defined as a "being than which none greater can be conceived (I stated this in round two)" necessarily must have omnipotence etc. since if it did not, one could conceive of a greater being. But a "maximally horrible being" does not have the same application since I can conceive of a Maximally Horrible Being not being omnipotent; that is, I can conceive of a being that is about to inflict horror, but this does not mean that it must have the ability to do all of that which is logically possible (omnipotence). In order to be a Maximally Horrible Being it does not need to be able to create the universe for example. So the argument fails because it actually contradicts omnipotence.

Let me just say a word about irritating and competitive: these things are illogical. There cannot be a MG irritating or competitive being because such a being would necessarily have to rely on things to irritate and things to compete with (as you demonstrate). This, it is CONTINGENT on the existence of other things. Hence not necessary. Hence not applicable. So you have not given a successful parody.

You then ask to defined Maximal Excellence in the Stanford definition. Ironically, they did that for you, once again. Maximal excellence is an entity which possesses: "omnipotent, omniscient, and morally perfect." What makes it MG is that it is necessary.

"An omnibenevolent being would be just as benevolent if restricted to one possible world."

But it could not be restricted to one possible world. It is a contradiction to say a necessary being (exists in all possible worlds) is "restricted to one possible world."

"There is no way, at least that you have presented, to get from mindlessness + omnipotence to a contradiction, therefore implying mindedness. The non-conscious entity's omnipotence remains intact."

This is hopelessly fallacious. You claim that minds cannot exist without brains. You have made an assertion, you have not given an argument. So I will attempt to anticipate since this is my last chance: all arguments for substance materialism are that we know of no minds that do not depend on the brain. Notice how this is specific to our experience and to homo sapiens. There are no logical inferences that allow one to say that because humans don't have embodied minds, that therefore they are impossible. You have to show that the concept is like a round square, and clearly it is not. Additionally, you are ONCE AGAIN, equivocating on omnipotence:

Your claim is that an omnipotent being exists but it cannot be called God since it is not conscious. This is a contradiction. By definition omnipotence is a being's ability to do all things that are logically possible. But we know that consciousness is logically possible. Which means your being is not omnipotent since it does not have consciousness. Which means omnipotence is reliant on consciousness. An unconscious all powerful things cannot have consciousness hence not making it all powerful. You lose here.

"A rock need not do anything if it chooses not to."

This is just ABSURD. You beg the question here. "A rock need not do anything if it chooses not to." A rock cannot choose! Thus my argument still stands: an omnipotent being must be conscious since by definition it must be able to choose but choice is only possible with consciousness.

REASONS TO VOTE FOR ME:

1.Definitions DO NOT matter in terms of taking one word out of MGB an defining it. Remember that I defined such a being as being omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent in every possible world AND as "a being than which none greater can be conceived." My opponent has tried to refute it by saying "great" can mean different things. This does not matter since the argument proves the definition I gave as a collective thing: MGB. Moreover, the word "great" is not needed in the argument:

1. It is possible that an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent and necessarily-existent (O^3NE) being exists.
2. If its possible that an O^3NE being exists, then an O^3NE exists in some possible world
3. If an O^3NE exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world
4. If an O^3NE exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world
5. If an O^3NE exists in the actual world, then it exists
6. Therefore, an O^3NE exists in the actual world
7. Therefore, an O^3NE exists
This is the same exact argument as I originally offered. It proves the existence of the same exact being. The argument stands.

2.I proved that the use of individual definitions, which is what he is doing, is fallacious. He has yet to respond to this: "A definition of "GREAT" is "having unusual merit, very admirable." "Of noble character" Well, one of the dozens of definitions of this word encompasses the above. So if individual definitions matter, I guess being all-good is a part of "merit," "admiration" and "nobility." So in order for you to dispute this, you would have to attack even more words. This shows the absurdity in your tactics."

3.My opponent CONCEDED that a MGB exists. He just said it is not "conscious," but that it is omnipotent. This is the reason you should vote for me: he concedes an omnipotent being exists, but an omnipotent being MUST BE CONCIOUSS because if it is not then that necessarily means it cannot do something that can logically be done: perceive, think, choose etc. So my opponent tacitly concedes the entire debate.
maninorange

Con

(See explanation in comments before reading.)

Your argument in all of its forms is a proof by contradiction. First, I will address the original. I will only present the relevant lines in order to make it more readable:
A - It is possible that a maximally great being exists, so it exists in some possible world.
B - If it existed in only some possible worlds, it would not be maximally great, as it would be even greater to exist in ALL possible worlds.
C - Therefore, it must exist in all possible worlds.

What definition of great must we use to allow us to assert that it would be "greater" to exist in all possible worlds? Throughout the debate, I have proposed two:
1 - "Powerful; posessing the ability to accomplish."
2 - “Of major significance or importance."
You presented a third:
3 - "having unusual merit, very admirable."
As you can see, the definition we use is crucial in determining the conclusion of your argument, or whether it even flows.

If we use the first definition, your maximally great being is not a god, which was the conclusion of your argument, as indicated at the end of the first round. You did not object to this; you merely stated that my definition was inadequate. It is also quite obvious that if we use the second or third definition, statement B is false, as existing in all possible worlds does not make a being greater under those terms.

In rounds 2 and 3, you avoid this by stating that you have provided properties that a maximally great being would have. This is entirely meaningless unless we define how we measure greatness. For example, under definition 3, a maximally great being need not have these qualities; it can be admirable AND useless.
In round 5, you indicate that great can simulateously mean all of its definitions. For example, it can mean a combination of the above 3.
This simply cannot be, for those definitions can interfere. Again, I propose that under definition 2, I am the greatest being. Under definition 1, obviously an omnipotent being would be maximally great. If I were omnipotent, this would be even greater than either of the other two, and thus an omnipotent me would be the maximally great being. If we prove the existence of a maximally great being using those 2 joint definitions, we have just proved the existence of an omnipotent me! This is why we must stick to one definition of the word per argument and/or prioritize them.

You attempt to face my request for a definition of "great" for the first time in rounds 3 and 4 by posting a different version of the argument in which you avoid using that word:

A - It is possible that a being which is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, and necissarily-existing exists, so it exists in some possible world.
B - If it exists in some possible worlds, it exists in ALL possible worlds.
C - Therefore, it must exist in all possible worlds.

I will restate this point: "Any form of argument in which the conclusion may be false given true premises is invalid."
Here are your objections to the gods I presented, which you list in round 5:
"...Maximal Horribleness does not, in itself, warrant the application of omnipotence and omniscience."
If we define "Horrible" as, "Causing fear or dread or terror," a being which is omnipotent would certainly cause more fear than a limited being. You suggest that it would not need to be able to create a universe, but how horrible could it be if it were not able to create things which it could terrify and maim? Omniscience would also enhance the horribleness of the being. Thus, both of these qualities are musts for a maximally horrible being.
You do make the claim that maximal horribleness contradicts omnipotence, but you do not back this up. Anticipating spectators' feelings toward this claim, note that this is only true in the case that maximal horribleness implies that some things are not logically possible, such as saving a kitten from a tree. The fact that the maximally horrible being is unwilling to help a kitten from a tree does not mean that it, in principle could not help a kitten from a tree. Furthermore, I am of the opinion that a being which could help the kitten and instead chooses not to is more horrible than a being which simply could not.
"There cannot be a MG irritating or competitive being because such a being would necessarily have to rely on things to irritate and things to compete with (as you demonstrate)."
I can easily conceive of necessarily-existent beings possessing these qualities. There need not exist things which the maximally irritating being can annoy. There also need not exist a being with which the maximally competitive being can compete. It would be within the power of each of these beings under their omnipotence to create things to irritate with which to compete.
Similarly, as per your definition of a maximally great being, such a being would be omnibenevolent. There need not exist a field in which this being can do good works; it can create a field within which it can do good works
Unless you want to concede that your argument structure is invalid, you must accept the existence of these beings. Fortunately, no one need accept their existence as the argument structure is demonstrably invalid via the use of another god.
I conceived of this god in a rather absurd dream last night: the maximally detectable being.
The maximally detectable being would have to be omnipotent to ensure circumstances under which it would be detected.
The maximally detectable being would have to be omniscient to ensure it has knowledge of all states of the universe with which it manipulates circumstances via its omnipotence to maximize its detectability.
The maximally detectable being is necessarily existing.
And finally, the maximally detectable being ensures that the minds it creates would be aware of the presence of the maximally detectable being with 100% certainty.

Assume your argument structure is valid.
It is possible that a maximally detectable being exists.
If your argument structure is valid, the maximally detectable being can be proven to exist using that structure.
Therefore, the maximally detectable being must exist.
If the maximally detectable being exists, you and I would detect it with 100% certainty.
Neither you nor I have detected this being, therefore it does not exist.
This proves either that one of your premises is false or that your argument structure is invalid.

Some minor points from round 5:

[1]:
I need not give an argument for a claim I did not make. If you read what I wrote, I said nothing of brains. If an entity does not have a mind, it is not logically possible for it to do things which require a mind. You have not shown it to be the case that mindlessness contradicts omnipotence, because all of the things you claim are logically possible without a brain, which I do not deny, DO require a MIND.
Again... the non-conscious entity's omnipotence remains intact.

[2]:
Note that my statement was in response to another claim you made in round 4:
"Sure, an omnipotent thing need not do anything if IT CHOOSES NOT TO. But that entails its ability to choose."
The rock is not thinking "I'm not going to do anything today." The rock is simply not choosing to do anything as it cannot choose.
The non-conscious entity is not thinking "I'm not going to exercise my limitless power." It is simply not exercising its limitless power because it does not have the ability to do so. If it had that ability, it would contradict its mindlessness, which you never successfully proved to be impossible.

[3]:
I did concede the existence of a "maximally great being." However, the existence of an utterly useless thing was not your conclusion. Although I conceded the existence of something with the same name as what you arguing for the existence of, it is not the same thing; I have not conceded the debate.
Debate Round No. 5
130 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by 3RU7AL 2 months ago
3RU7AL
<em>"Premise (3): If a MGB exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world"</em>

This is the fundamental flaw in Pro's logic.

If it is possible that I (or anyone else for that matter) can imagine "a world" without an "omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent [sic]" being, then it cannot be true that "it [necessarily] exists in every possible world".

To go a step further, I would like to point out that it is logically impossible for any "being" to be omnipotent, omniscient, AND benevolent. Well, at least in <em>this</em> world. Which is enough to render "Premise (3)" moot.

I'm going to guess that Con failed to make this point.
Posted by warpedfx 6 years ago
warpedfx
nothing again?
Posted by warpedfx 6 years ago
warpedfx
the platinga ontological argument is worthless.

P1: It is possible that 8 is the last digit of pi
P2: by the law of mathematics if 8 is the last digit of pi it is true necessarily
p3: if it is possible that 8 is the last digit of pi it is true in a possible worlds
P4: by P2 & P3 it necessarily means that it is true in all possible worlds
P5: if 8 is the last digit in pi in all possible worlds it is the last digit in the actual world
.'.: 8 is the last digit of pi
Posted by maninorange 6 years ago
maninorange
"How can anything conceive anything so vaguely characterized as "no greater conceivable"? It's a meaningless qualifier that adds nothing."
This is effectively my first objection. There can't be a "Most" without an established way of determining "more." There can't be a greatest without a greater. There can't be a greater without a coherent definition of "great."
Posted by warpedfx 6 years ago
warpedfx
anything...?
Posted by warpedfx 6 years ago
warpedfx
<Lets assume for the sake of argument that God exists. How can something contingent bring into being something like God? How can something contingent bring into being a being than which none greater can be conceived, which includes omnipotence?>
How can anything conceive anything so vaguely characterized as "no greater conceivable"? It's a meaningless qualifier that adds nothing.

<This is incoherent. IF God exists, then He exists necessarily. In fact, you've already tacitly agreed to this since you don't think something physical can bring something immaterial into being.>
Define "immaterial". If you consider "mind" to be immaterial, I can point to the brain being the physical powerhouse which its process essentially IS the mind.

<So IF God exists, He is necessary. If He does not, then necessarily, He does not exist.>
this is like saying it is possible that 8 is the last digit of pi. if it is true, it is true necessarily, and because of this it is true in all possible worlds, including the actual. Which you can similarly say for ANY number. 2 is possibly the last digit of pi, and if it is true it is true necessarily.. so on...

<YES. Especially since philosophers employ the laws of logic and deduction.>
Except how would you determine the soundness of the premises in the deduction?
Posted by ExNihilo 6 years ago
ExNihilo
YES. Especially since philosophers employ the laws of logic and deduction. Plus, an argument does not have to be a proof to be rational.
Posted by warpedfx 6 years ago
warpedfx
here's an interesting question- can philosophy alone demonstrate ANYTHING to exist in the usual sense of the word?
Posted by ExNihilo 6 years ago
ExNihilo
Lets assume for the sake of argument that God exists. How can something contingent bring into being something like God? How can something contingent bring into being a being than which none greater can be conceived, which includes omnipotence? This is incoherent. IF God exists, then He exists necessarily. In fact, you've already tacitly agreed to this since you don't think something physical can bring something immaterial into being. So IF God exists, He is necessary. If He does not, then necessarily, He does not exist.

"If it is possible that god exists, it doesn't lend that he therefore DOES exist in a possible world, but that his existence in a possible world is similarly possible. Watch the rest of the argument fall here."

No. You again, dont understand possible world semantics. Possible worlds are ways in which philosophers determine what is possible and necessary. They are ways the world MIGHT HAVE BEEN. So, again, unicorns do not in fact exist. But since they are possible, there is some possible world in which they would exist. Similarly, if God is possible, then, by definition, He exists in some possible description of reality. If He is impossible, He exists in no possible description of reality. Anything that is possible, has a possible world in which it exists. That is the nature of possible worlds semantics and modal logic. From this, everything else follows. So if God is possible, God exists.
Posted by warpedfx 6 years ago
warpedfx
<Yes, but only in the sense that we cannot know for certain that premise one is true. But if you concede it and deny the conclusion you are being irrational.>
Where have I conceded the first premise? I specifically made points against it, regarding how there's no reason TO accept it as well as the fact considering how the argument was supposed TO determine his necessary existence (so in a way this "argument" is really circular).

<You have no clue about this argument. Wow. NOWHERE does the argument say "possibly necessary in all world." This is what the argument says:>
Ah but you've reworded it- previously you said it is possible that god exists, and that if god exists he exists necessarily.

<1. It is possible that God exists
2. If its possible that God exists, God exists in some possible world (anything that is possible, exists in some possible world. A possible world is not the real world, it is the way the world might have been).>
Bzzzt. If it is possible that god exists, it doesn't lend that he therefore DOES exist in a possible world, but that his existence in a possible world is similarly possible. Watch the rest of the argument fall here.

<3. If God exists in some possible world, God exists in every possible world (this is true necessarily. A necessary being, by the definition of what necessity is, must exist in all possible worlds, not merely one)>
4. If God exists in every possible world, God exists in the actual world (our world is a possible world; it exists)
5. If God exists in the actual world, then God exists
6. Therefore, God exists.>
Essentially this argument is nothing more than "god possibly exists, therefore god exists". Garbage.

<I agree with this. But that you admit that you concede the premise as true and then deny the logic with which the argument functions means you are irrational.>
except I haven't actually conceded it. Show me where I have.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by awatkins69 5 years ago
awatkins69
ExNihilomaninorangeTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: Con basically concedes to pro the argument but disagrees with attributes, but the topic of debate is clearly that the OA is sound. If con concedes soundness then debate goes to pro lol
Vote Placed by Ricky_Zahnd 5 years ago
Ricky_Zahnd
ExNihilomaninorangeTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro failed to grasp what seem like pretty evident problems with his argument - all being pointed out by con clearly and repeatedly. I liked the way con led into his argument, even though Pro didnt get it well enough to follow. Undoubtedly goes to con.
Vote Placed by MasterKage 5 years ago
MasterKage
ExNihilomaninorangeTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Countering Dimmitri.C's Votebomb.
Vote Placed by Dimmitri.C 5 years ago
Dimmitri.C
ExNihilomaninorangeTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: I enjoyed ExNihilo's style of debate, use of argument, sources provided.
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 6 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
ExNihilomaninorangeTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: The maximally great island line of argument was abandoned long ago, you have to attack the first premise directly.