The Instigator
Pitbull15
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
zmikecuber
Con (against)
Winning
3 Points

The Modal Ontological Argument for God is Logically Sound

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
zmikecuber
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/17/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,259 times Debate No: 52771
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (26)
Votes (1)

 

Pitbull15

Pro

So, anyway, during a mass PM between me and a bunch of other people, I brought up the MOA (short for Modal Ontological Argument), and zmikecuber responded that despite his recent time crunch, he might consider it and debate its logical validity. BoP is shared on this one. It's up to my opponent to only prove that the argument is logically unsound.

First round is for acceptance since I have to present the MOA, the rest of the way, we get to freestyle it.

Good luck to zmikecuber if he accepts.
zmikecuber

Con

I humbly accept. I shall argue that the MOA is either invalid or that the premises are more plausibly false than true. My opponent shall argue that the premises are true, and the conclusion follows with necessity. Remember, the burden of proof is shared on this one.

Good luck to my opponent.
Debate Round No. 1
Pitbull15

Pro

Thanks to zmikecuber for accepting this debate. I will be borrowing from what I learned from Wylted about the MOA in our debate over God's existence.

The Modal Ontological Argument is comprised of six premises.
My argument rests heavily on modal logic, so I'll run over a brief explanation over what it is.


Modal logic is comprised of four propositions:


P1: Possibility

Possibility deals with what is logically possible, not physically possible. If something isn't logically impossible, then obviously it would belogically possible. For example the Invisible Pink Unicorn is logically possible, so all I'm saying is that it's possible that it could be true.

P2: Impossibility

If something's impossible, than it would be logically impossible and could never exist, since it doesn't even fall under possibility. For example, 2+2 can't equal 5. It will always make 4 as that's the only possible outcome.

P3: Necessary propositions

Necessary propositions are ones that must be true and can't be false. For example 2 2=4 and can't be false.

P4: Contingentency

Now, contingent possiblities are propositions that may be true, but may also be the opposite. For example, there is a bear outside my house right now, but there also could've not been one, so it is contingently true. Now if I say that there's a bear outside my house, but in reality, there isn't one, then it would be contingently false. Simply put, contingent possibilities deal with what could be and could have not been, and what are and what could have been.


My last proposition will be on the subject of possible worlds. That's just another term of saying what is logically possible. These four propositions are what make the MOA different because it deals with possibility. Now that I have all that cleared up for us and the voters, I'll move on to the actual argument.


Premise one: God is a greatest possible being that would exist necessarily.

Premise two: It is possible for a greatest possible being to exist in some possible world. These are the main premises of the argument.

There is nothing logically absurd about these premises and thus I don’t believe they need to be contested. However, if these premises can be both knocked down, the entire argument would fall apart.

Premise three: If it’s possible for a greatest possible being to exist in some possible world, then necessarily, it’s possible for a greatest possible being to exist in all possible worlds.

This follows from the last premise in saying that if we can imagine that a greatest possible being exists in some possible world, then it’s at least possible it could exist.

Premise four: If it’s possible for a greatest possible being to exist in all possible worlds, then it’s possible for a greatest possible being to exist in our world, or our reality and universe.

A greatest possible cannot exist in some worlds and not others, otherwise it would not be a greatest being, and it would also be a logical contradiction. If a greatest possible being exists in a world that we know nothing about, then a greatest possible being must exist in all and any world that we know nothing about. And if a greatest possible being exists in all possible worlds, it must exist in our world as well since our reality would count as one of the possible worlds mentioned. Again, I see no logical absurdities with this premise and I welcome zmikecuber to point any out.

Premise five: Based on the last four premises, a greatest possible being exists in all possible worlds including ours.

Premise six: Therefore, a greatest possible being, or God, exists in all worlds including ours.

Remember, it is only up to my opponent to prove how this argument would be logically inconsistent or absurd. I welcome any challlenge and rebuttal he presents. My opening argument isn’t long, considering that I would just need to lay out the argument and wait to see what Con has to say about it, and then I can defend it. This argument hasn’t been proven unsound to my knowledge thus far, so good luck and may this be an eye-opening debate for both of us.
zmikecuber

Con

Thank you, Pro. Let's get right in.

Modal logic
What my opponent says about modal logic is true, however I'd like to note that there is generally a distinction drawn between logical possibility and metaphysical possibility. I think what he means is metaphysical possibility, or in Kripkean semantics, that something exists in some possible world.


Also notice that when my opponent says God is "possible" he doesn't mean, "Well it could be the case that God exists, and it could be the case he doesn't." He rather means that in some hypothetical situation, God would exist.

The argument
I'll just restate the argument my opponent has presented for clarity's sake.


P1: God is a greatest possible being that would exist necessarily.
P2: It is possible for a greatest possible being to exist in some possible world.
P3: If it’s possible for a greatest possible being to exist in some possible world, then necessarily, it’s possible for a greatest possible being to exist in all possible worlds.
P4: If it’s possible for a greatest possible being to exist in all possible worlds, then it’s possible for a greatest possible being to exist in our world, or our reality and universe.
P5: Based on the last four premises, a greatest possible being exists in all possible worlds including ours.
P6: Therefore, a greatest possible being, or God, exists in all worlds including ours.

Now for any of you modal logic nuts (I know you're out there somewhere), here it is in lengthier, exact symbolic form...

based on the model of Anselm's ontological argument to prove God.
Now the argument is logically valid. I won't be attacking the structure. However, I shall be attacking the truth of some of the premises.

Defending the premises
My opponent has simply stated his premises, and has not defended them. He needs to give arguments to tell us why we should think they are true. I ask him to please do so.


Premise 1
I'll be using an age-old Kantian objection to P1. Existence is not a predicate. I'll explain why.


Let's say that there's a vegan who hates steak-lovers. Let's say that he goes up to any person who is about to eat a tasty steak at a restaurant, and smacks them across the face. Now this certainly exists in some possible world. But now, if existence is a predicate, let's add the necessary existence to the definition of this guy.

So we have... A vegetarian who smacks every steak-eating person, in all possible worlds. Since my opponent is committed to the idea that existence can be predicated as a "quality" of something, then the necessary existence can easily be predicated of this vegan.

But wait! Now is such a vegan possible? Well under my opponent's reasoning, it is. And since such a thing is possible, and exists in all possible worlds, by definition, then he must exist in this possible world as well.

So my argument...

P1: IF necessary existence is a predicate, THEN we can predicate it of anything (including steak-eater smacking vegans).
P2: We can't predicate necessary existence of anything.
C: Necessary existence is not a predicate.

So why can we add existence to the definition of God, but not to the definition of anything else?


Premise 2
My opponent claims it is metaphysically possible for God to exist. But what reasons do we have to believe this? He hasn't given any.


I'll get into the refutation of this premise below.

Reverse MOA
I'll present the reverse MOA.


P1: It is possible that God does not exist.
P2: If it is possible that God does not exist, then God does not exist in some possible world.
P3: If God does not exist in some possible world, then it is impossible for God (defined as a being which exists in all possible worlds) to exist.
C: Therefore, it is impossible for God (defined as a being which exists in all possible worlds) to exist.

So you see, if we accept that it is possible that God does not exist, my opponent's argument fails.

So we have two options...

(i) God possibly exists
(ii) God possibly does not exist

They can't both be true. One or the other must be true. Why accept i over ii? Ii seems just as plausible, if not more so.

Other problems
Now God is omnipotent. If God is omnipotent, and exists in all possible worlds, then there is absolutely no possible world in which there is universal impotence.


But it seems entirely plausible for there to be a possible world in which no one is omnipotent.

P1: If it is possible that there is universal impotence, then God (defined as existing in all possible worlds) cannot exist.
P2: It is possible that there is universal impotence.
C: God cannot exist.

Or we could swap any other attributes of God...

P1: If it is possible that no being is omniscient, then God cannot exist.
P2: It is possible that no being is omniscient.
C: God cannot exist.

P1: If it is possible that no intelligent being exists, then God cannot exist.
P2: It is possible that no intelligent being exists.
C: God cannot exist.

I could go on and on.

In other words, in saying that "it it possible God exists" we are also saying that a world in which everyone is impotent, is impossible, that a world in which no one is omniscient is impossible, and that a world in which there exists no intelligent being is impossible.

But these things surely don't seem impossible. Therefore, "it is possible God exists" must be false.

Modal argument from evil (MAE)
If God is all loving, and all powerful and all knowing, then there can't just be suffering and pain and evil for no reason whatsoever.


This is pretty much undenied by Christians. God and gratuious suffering (suffering for no point) can't exist together.

Thomas Aquinas states...

"As Augustine says (Enchiridion xi): "Since God is the highest good, He would not allow any evil to exist in His works, unless His omnipotence and goodness were such as to bring good even out of evil." This is part of the infinite goodness of God, that He should allow evil to exist, and out of it produce good." [1]

But gratuious suffering seems entirely possible. In other words, it exists in some possible world. And remember, God and gratuious suffering can't co-exist. So God couldn't exist in that possible world.

But if God doesn't exist in that possible world, then God defined as a being which exists in all worlds, can't exist.

P1: IF gratuious suffering is possible, THEN God (defined as existing in all possible worlds) cannot exist.
P2: Gratuious suffering is possible.
C: God cannot exist.

Conclusion
Now you can see that to say that God, a maximally great being which exists in all possible worlds is possible, is a magnificent claim. It also means that it is utterly impossible for there to be a situation in which gratuious suffering exists, and that is it utterly impossible for God to not exist. In other words, gratuious suffering is an impossibility; an incoherency. However, I maintain that it surely is not, as well as the other examples of possibilities I gave.


Therefore, the argument remains completely debunked. Thanks.

==Sources=
[1]http://www.newadvent.org...
Debate Round No. 2
Pitbull15

Pro

I thank Con for his responses.

So my opponent says that he has debunked the whole argument. Perhaps it would be, if I had decided to forfeit and not offer up a refutation of his arguments. But I have no intention of doing something like that.

In this argument, I propose to show that he hasn’t debunked the argument just yet. Now, I remember saying that the BoP was shared, and that I would state my premises and defend them later, but I will comply with his request, refuting his rebuttals along the way to preserve precious character space for my argument.



Defense of Premise 1
I will call upon the first proposition of Modal logic, which emphasizes the logical possibility of things; not the physical possibility. If the vegan he’s talking about possibly exists logically in some possible world, then such a person would exist logically in this world as well, but not physically. So with these revisions, my opponent would at least be conceding and saying that there could be such a person that exists in our world; and logically following from that, that a maximally great being is logically possible. This is where my opponent’s analogy breaks down; the idea of a person like that as outlined in his rebuttal does not entail his existence, but in my argument, the idea of God does. I ask my opponent to please explain further.


Defense of Premise 2
I’ll start with refuting the reverse MOA. I’ll be calling upon proposition three of Modal logic, which tells about necessary propositions. This defense flows logically from the defense of the first premise. I already mentioned it was about the logical possibility of a God existing. Now, my opponent states that his argument is based upon the logical possibility of a god not existing. Exactly how is that a valid point or a rebuttal to my premise? The idea was to point point anything logically inconsistent or absurd in the premise or in the truth behind it, and it appears that he has failed to do just that. This would also be a contingent proposition, since naturally, my premise also stated that it was possible that a greatest possible being didn’t exist. Now, to put it into simpler terms, I’ll turn his argument into a syllogism: (If this is a strawman, please let me know.)

P1: Pro accepts that it’s possible God doesn’t exist in a possible world with his line of reasoning.
P2: By this line of reasoning, it is possible God doesn’t exist and possible he does exist.
C: Therefore, the premise is invalidated because you can’t choose both in the MOA.

So basically, P1 and P2 are irrelevant because the rebuttal has done nothing to point out anything logically absurd or inconsistent with the premise. My opponent’s argument also states that it’s still possible that a greatest possible being exists; therefore it stands. This argument would also break down in that it’s essentially making a metaphysical and logical contradiction in itself. The main problem with this argument lies in P2 and P3; how would God, assuming that he is a maximally great being, not exist in a possible world? At least as long as his existence would be in the question. The reverse MOA is not exactly well-explained by my opponent; and as I stated before, BoP is shared. I invite him to please explain further if he wishes. But what really invalidates the rebuttal is that he used the reverse MOA solely as a point of contention against the premise instead of trying to point out anything logically absurd or inconsistent. That is what the first two premises are built on; the idea of a greatest possible existing in some possible worlds brings no logical absurdities with it. Therefore, the first two premises stand. I humbly invite my opponent to help me understand the points of these rebuttals, as the first two premises in the MOA only deal with what is logically possible in possible worlds, and not with what physically exists or is physically possible.



Defense of Premise 3
Now to defend my third premise… All that I am really saying in this premise is that going by the previous premises, if you can imagine a God existing in some possible world, then it’s at least logically possible he exists. Note how I place emphasis on the logical possibility of things, not whether or not it’s physically possible. An invisible unicorn or the Balrog are logically possible, (As far as I can tell, at least.) but a four sided triangle or a circular square would not be; or in other words, the idea of them existing brings about no logical absurdities. That is all I am saying here. However, my opponent hasn’t done anything to attack this premise yet. (I’m sure he will, though.) So until then, it stands.



Defense of Premise 4
Now here, I will offer a refutation of Con’s “Other Problems” argument. My opponent claims at the end of this section of the argument that “It is possible God exists” must be false. Now, I must ask, in this argument, what kinds of beings are my opponent talking about? To better illustrate my argument, I’ll use this:

C1: Beings that are logically possible and physically exist
C2:Beings that are logically possible but do not physically exist
C3:Beings that are logically possible and metaphysically exist
C4:Beings that are logically possible and do not metaphysically exist.

And then we have the next four which are logically impossible beings but share all the same secondary traits as the beings above, but we shall ignore that for now. As I said before, Modal logic deals with what is possible. I now ask my opponent to clarify which kind of being he’s talking about in his argument here. As I’m sure we all obviously know, there’s no lumping them all together in one category, as my opponent’s argument seems to do. (Other than that they’re all logically possible.) They are most sharply divided by whether or not they’re physical or metaphysical. And we also must remember we are talking about a maximally great being that would, by definition, exist somewhat separately from its creation.



Defense of Premises 5 and 6
What I am saying her is that if a greatest possible being exists in some possible worlds; assuming that he’s maximally great, would exist in our world or reality as well. What more is there to say about it after defending the last 4 premises? The argument flows logically, therefore God exists and that provides the strongest premise for the MOA possible.


Rebuttal to Modal argument from evil.
Remember, we’re talking about a maximally great being such as stated in the Aquinas quote Con has provided. If a greatest possible being existed, there would be no gratuitous suffering. I imagine Con will call upon the possibility of God not existing in order to support his argument, but I believe I have already rebutted that argument. Therefore, it appears the MAE has been refuted. My refutations of Con’s arguments will stand until he posts his argument. Either that or I have completely misunderstood his arguments.


Conclusion

My opponent’s arguments do not appear to hold much water. I have provided evidence that the MOA is sound and the premises hold true. My opponent has yet to show otherwise.
zmikecuber

Con

P1: God is a greatest possible being that would exist necessarily.
P2: It is possible for a greatest possible being to exist in some possible world.
P3: If it’s possible for a greatest possible being to exist in some possible world, then necessarily, it’s possible for a greatest possible being to exist in all possible worlds.
P4: If it’s possible for a greatest possible being to exist in all possible worlds, then it’s possible for a greatest possible being to exist in our world, or our reality and universe.
P5: Based on the last four premises, a greatest possible being exists in all possible worlds including ours.
P6: Therefore, a greatest possible being, or God, exists in all worlds including ours.

P1: God is a greatest possible being that would exist necessarily.
My opponent claims, "the idea of a person like that as outlined in his rebuttal does not entail his existence, but in my argument, the idea of God does." But he doesn't exactly explain why. First of all, I don't see any reasons to believe that such a being is physically impossible. Secondly, it could be the case that the steak-hating vegan is immaterial. Thirdly, couldn't I just say the same about God; God is physically impossible, since no physical being is omnipotent, and a purely immaterial being is impossible.


Either an immaterial being is possible, or it's not. If it's possible, then why can't an immaterial necessary steak-hating vegan exist in this world as well? If it's impossible, then the steak-hating vegan and God are both impossible.

So I can just add "necessary" to anything, and get the same result. It's possible that a flying invisible spaghetti monster (which is a necessary thing) exists, therefore it does exist.

It's possible that invisible pink unicorns (which are necessary things) exist, therefore they do exist.

The reason why we are led to these absurdities, is because of the "necessary" being added in here. We're putting the things existence alongside its other properties like "blue" or "tall".

I maintain that these are absurdities, and that invisible pink unicorns and steak-hating vegans don't really exist. Why? Because existence is not a predicate. Therefore, it cannot be predicated of God either.

The Reverse MOA
My opponent states,


"Exactly how is that a valid point or a rebuttal to my premise? The idea was to point point anything logically inconsistent or absurd in the premise or in the truth behind it, and it appears that he has failed to do just that. This would also be a contingent proposition, since naturally, my premise also stated that it was possible that a greatest possible being didn’t exist."

Let me try to explain this once again. We have the two statements...

(i) It is possible God exists
(ii) It is possible God does not exist

These two statements can NOT both be true. When my opponent states, "my premise also stated that it was possible that a greatest possible being didn’t exist" he is admitting defeat. Remember, a greatest possible being is a being which exists in all possible worlds. But my opponent admits that there's a possible world in which the being which exists in all possible worlds does not exist.

That is a contradiction.

Why accept the possibility of God's existence over his non-existence? The two statements above cannot both be true. So why accept one over the other? Why accept (i) over (ii)?

However, there are good reasons to think that (ii) is true.

If it is possible that no omniscient beings exist, then (ii) is true. If it is possible that no omnipotent beings exist, then (ii) is true. If it is possible that gratuious suffering exists, then (ii) is true. If it is possible that there is no omniscient being, then (ii) is true.

And remember, if (ii) is true, then (i) is false.

Now I maintain that each of the above seem like likely possibilities. As such, we have many many good reasons to think (ii) is true, and thus (i) is false, but we do not have any good reasons to think that (i) is true, and (ii) is false.

Each of these seem like metaphysical possibilities. We can easily conceive of a world in which there are no intelligent beings.

So my opponent could start by showing us why any of these possibilities are actually metaphysically impossible, and why we should think that (i) is metaphysically possible.

The MAE
I don't think my opponent understands the modal argument from evil. I am saying that since it's possible that gratuious suffering exists, then it's impossible for God to exist.


Let's put it this way...

(a) It is possible God exists
(b) It is possible gratuious suffering exists

The two above statements cannot both be true. So which is more plausibly true? Well I would maintain that we know much much more about evil and suffering than we do about "immaterial" "omnipotent" and "omniscience". Do we really know if such things are possible? Not really. We're just guessing.

Do we know that someone could suffer for absolutely no reason, with absolutely no good outcome? It seems entirely metaphysically plausible. I can easily imagine such a thing, can't you?

Therefore, it is impossible for God (defined as a being which exists in ALL possible worlds) to exist.

Conclusion
In conclusion, I'd like to end with a quote from St. Augustine...


"Si comprehendis, non est Deus." [1]

Which I translate as...

"If you understand it, it is not God."

So it seems entirely implausible to suggest that God, a maximally great being who is omniscient, omnipotent, etc. is conceivable, since such a thing is just beyond our comprehension.

That puts a damper on my opponent's case.

Over to Pro!

[1]http://www.goodreads.com...
Debate Round No. 3
Pitbull15

Pro

Rebuttal to refutation of P1

It appears my opponent has misunderstood my resolution. I stated that modal logic dealt with what was logically possible; not physically possible. If the vegan doesn’t exist physically in this world, and such a vegan seems possible, he is logically possible in this world and may physically exist in another. So in other words, he exists in our world, just not physically; and likely physically exists in another world.

We are talking about a greatest conceivable being that would exist necessarily. Why? Because if it were a greatest possible being, it would necessarily exist by definition. Necessary existence is not a predicate to anything less than a maximally great being. My opponent has not demonstrated otherwise. He has simply stated that existence is not a predicate and applied that logic to all and any kind of being. Therefore, my opponent’s argument here would fall apart.

Rebuttal to the Reverse MOA

The Reverse MOA is still not well explained by my opponent.

I will state this once again; we are talking about a being that would be separate from its creation. In my last argument, I asked my opponent to clarify what category of beings he’s talking about when he says it is possible that no omniscient beings exist, etc. He is making the assumption that since it is possible there is a world where no omniscient being exists, etc. that it would be a world where God doesn’t exist, either. But my opponent is trying to lump all beings into one category instead of
clarifying what kind of being he’s talking about. Logically possible physical beings and a metaphysical maximally great being cannot be lumped into the same category if the being would, by definition, exist apart from it’s creation. He has not done this yet, so there is no solid reason to accept (ii) over (i). And by the method of Rule of Inference known as Modus Tollens, if we do not accept (ii), then (i) becomes the only plausible outcome. Modus Tollens is a valid rule
and also has yet to be proven unsound.(1) Therefore, my opponent’s argument has
been debunked.

Rebuttal to MAE

This follows logically straight from my rebuttal of the Reverse MOA in this round.
If we accept that it's possible a greatest possible being exists, then following from the whole MOA, the being exists and gratuitous suffering is an incoherency.


“In
conclusion, I'd like to end with a quote from St. Augustine... 'Si comprehendis, non est Deus.' [1] Which I translate as... 'If you understand it, it is not God.'
So it seems entirely implausible to suggest that God, a maximally great being who is omniscient, omnipotent, etc. is conceivable, since such a thing is just beyond our comprehension.
That puts a damper on my opponent's case.”

Human
understanding is the only tool we have of which to come to knowledge at all. My
opponent hasn’t demonstrated why a being would be inconceivable or beyond
comprehension indefinitely. Therefore, this doesn’t put a damper on my case.

This has
been a well-fought and interesting debate and I look forward to hearing Con’s
final argument! Lol it's 1:00 in the morning and I just got finished typing this. I'm really going to need a break from long debates after this one as well.

Anyway, onto Con!

Source(s)

(1)http://www.philosophy-index.com...

zmikecuber

Con

Premise 1, and predicating existence
My opponent now admits that a steak-hating vegan logically exists in this world. So does an immaterial transcendent steak-hating vegan, who exists in all possible worlds exist in this world? Well we can make an easy test by eating a steak and seeing what happens.

Furthermore, if a steak-hating vegan exists in this world, but only in a "logical" sense, what is this supposed to mean? Then does God exist "logically" in this world as well?

Pitbull still insists that we can predicate existence of the greatest possible being; in other words, "existence" is just part of the greatest possible being. But this is a special pleading. Why can't I say "the greatest possible vegetable" (which would include existence in it's definition)? Why can we predicate existence of God, but not other things? But I've shown that we cannot predicate existence of other things. Unless my opponent can show that God is "different" and that the rule applies to him differently, this is just a special pleading. Why assume God is any different than the vegetable which is necessary by definition?

The reverse MOA
I made some super cheesey diagrams to try and make this argument clear... Don't laugh. ;-)


Now, assuming that existence can be predicated of God (which it can't, as I showed above) we have two options. Either God exists in all possible worlds, or he exists in none.


And...


Essentially what both my opponent and I are both doing is looking at just one square, or one possible world, and then saying, "Since we found God in one possible world, then he exists in all the rest, including this one." Or... "Since we didn't find God in one possible world, he doesn't exist in any of them, including this one."

It's as if you knew: Ok, either every square is blue, or every square is red. Then you took a magnifiying glass, and just looked at one square, and saw "red". You could then conclude that all the other squares are red. Or blue, depending on what you saw under the microscope.

Remember, possible worlds are hypothetical (metaphysical) situations. In this world, I am typing out my reply. In a different possible world, I went and ate a big breakfast instead. In other possible worlds, pigs fly, etc. etc.

However, I've argued that there are possible worlds in which there are absolutely no omniscient beings, and no omnipotent beings, etc. That means in each of these possible worlds, God does not exist. This would make fig 2. true. I'm not talking about physical beings; rather, I'm talking about any sort of metaphysical being. This means, God, angels, men, Thor, etc.

Now I've defended that there is a possible world in which God does not exist.

The MAE
My opponent essentially states that gratuious suffering is incoherent, due to the fact of a maximally great being which exists in all possible world, and who wouldn't allow such a thing to go on. But is gratuious suffering more plausibly metaphysically possible? Let's see. Is there a possible world in which a young boy breaks his leg, with absolutely no good outcomes? Perhaps we imagined that the possible world ends shortly after he breaks his leg, so that there is ultimately no possible good outcomes at all.


So we can see that it's quite possible for there to be suffering for no reason whatsoever. We can easily conceive of such a thing.

Finally, I'd like to say that I don't think I've shown that to comprehend God is completely impossible, rather that it just seems dubious. Since to conceive of God seems dubious, as many Christians, (Aquinas and Augustine) have held, this puts more strength to the reverse modal ontological arguments, and the MAE. It just seems difficult to grasp the concept of a maximally great being. I'm not saying it's impossible to conceive of such a thing, just that it's doubtful.

Many thanks to my opponent for the challenge! Happy voting! :)
Debate Round No. 4
26 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by zmikecuber 2 years ago
zmikecuber
@mrsatan

lol, thats not what possibility means in modal logic at all. It means that it's metaphysically possible, or that, given all the ways the universe *could have* been, there is one situation in which God exists.

And then S5 just brings that into all possible worlds.

Look at the argument in modal logic...

http://www.debate.org...

The first three premises are the only ones that you can dispute, since all the other premises are true just by different basic operations of logic.
Posted by mrsatan 2 years ago
mrsatan
I've seen multiple, only slightly different, variations of the MOA. This one suffers the same problem as any other version I've seen. Premise five is where this version, specifically, makes the error in consistency.

Premise five: Based on the last four premises, a greatest possible being exists in all possible worlds including ours.

A possibility in modal logic might be true, might be false. None of the premises before five take the possibility of Gods existence in some possible world from being a possibility to being true in actuality.

Premise five should be taken out completely, as it says the same thing as premise six (which is a conclusion, not a premise).

As per the above, for the conclusion to remain consistent, it would have to be a slightly changed version of "premise 6".

Inconsistent:
Conclusion: Therefore, a greatest possible being, or God, exists in all worlds including ours.

Consistent:
Conclusion: Therefore, it is possible that a greatest possible being, or God, exists in all worlds including ours.
Posted by Sswdwm 2 years ago
Sswdwm
Summary & RFD: The critical outstanding point is the MAE, which went almost entirely unaddressed by Pro, and seemed to be the killer for P2. I remain unconvinced either way regarding P1, and would like to do some further reading on my own part regarding P2 on the anti-premise (possibly not). So my vote goes to Con largely due to that last argument. I think Con's win would have been more convincing if he sustained the objection regarding the conceivability of the greatest possible being some more, which didn't see a good rebuttal either.

For Pro I think he needed to support P2 a lot more than he did in this debate. Both positive and negative 'possible' statements carry a BoP as far as I see, so both need substantiation. The argument for P2 leaned in Con's favor I think, but meh.

Great debate guys, sorry for the commentary-like RFD :-p
Posted by Sswdwm 2 years ago
Sswdwm
Pro effectively refutes the example Con gave against P1, and con's rebuttal to the reverse MOA was a little confusing, attacking the fact that Con did not directly attack the soundness of the second premise, but I thought he did since he presented two mutually exclusive situations. Also raised the point that stating 'possibly yes' also presupposes 'possibly no', yet the argument is still valid in favour of the positive premise. I have myself scratching my head here... Brain is shouting objection but will accept what pro says for now. Pro does nothing to refute Con's MAE, and this argument unlike the 'possible doesn't' premise of the MOA is actually a positive premise in itself, and so wouldn't fail for the same reason Pro thinks the reverse MOA will.

Con redefines his objection to P1 to necessary immaterial being..... To which the argument still remains unconvincing. The remaining arguments are just extended from round 1, and more of a clarification. The only additional thing here is the objection to being able to conceive of the greatest possible being in the first place, which seems sustainable, but this was amusingly in the conclusion, lol.

Round 3 - I have Con ahead at this point, Pro counter-rebuts P1 with the condition of necessary existence is only attributable to the greatest possible being... Gives no reason to accept this though. Pro had no further real objections to Con's Reverse MOA except I think for lumping Con's arguments against the attributes and 'possibly not' into the logical possibility category, instead of the metaphysically possible one. I'm not sure if this is sustainable or not. Still no rebuttal to the MAE....

Con's round 3 just extends his arguments from round 2 and clarifies.
Posted by Sswdwm 2 years ago
Sswdwm
Interesting debate guys!

Easy Stuff: S&G, Conduct and Sourcing (it's a philosophy debate) was equal. I noticed one typo from Pro but my name isn't RT :-p

Confusing Stuff: I'm still a little confused by the distinctions that Pro made on logical/metaphysical possibilities, I read the argument assuming as-read and then re-read assuming logical = metaphysical and came to the same conclusion, so I'll submit my decision

Round 1: Pro outlines the MOA, modal logic and leaves it at that. He has some character space though and would have done well to substantiate his P1 & especially P2 some more, as right now it's a rather empty argument

Con jumps on this straight away, attacks P1 by entailing anything could be necessarily existent, why should we accept existence as part of the definition of 'greatest possible being' and gives an amusing counter point. Prima facie this doesn't seem to be a strong objection, as it appears to be an appeal to ridicule, and doesn't substantiate why it makes it unsound.

The reverse MOA to determine the likeliness of the second premise, possibly, possibly not was backed up by argument from conceivability, which seems fine, but it doesn't seem to invalidate the second premise of the MOA, it just seems to put it on equal footing, and doesn't really substantiate further why we should accept the anti-premise over the positive premise. Con's arguments regarding the other attributes fall into the same category and don't seem to add any weight to proving this point, other than they are extraneous attributes. I have mixed feelings on this point.

Con's's argument from evil was by far the most convincing, gratuitous suffering seems very much conceivable, and follows the same logic.
Posted by Sswdwm 2 years ago
Sswdwm
Same here, I have read it but I haven't picked it apart yet.
Posted by Wylted 2 years ago
Wylted
RFD postponed, bust still forthcoming.
Posted by Romanii 2 years ago
Romanii
I'll be voting on this, though it will probably take a really long time to digest this debate.
Posted by Wylted 2 years ago
Wylted
I'm going to give an RFD for this on my lunch break. I won't be voting though because I think my advanced knowledge of the MOA (particularly Plantiga's version), is actually a hindrance to voting fair. Well that and, the shout out in R1. Good debate guys.
Posted by zmikecuber 2 years ago
zmikecuber
Uh uh! You goys are forgetting the ONE BIG debate on the home page ;)
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Sswdwm 2 years ago
Sswdwm
Pitbull15zmikecuberTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.