The Instigator
Nzrsaa
Pro (for)
Losing
5 Points
The Contender
whatledge
Con (against)
Winning
9 Points

The Modal Ontological argument for God's existence is sound

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
whatledge
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/10/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 686 times Debate No: 42053
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (10)
Votes (4)

 

Nzrsaa

Pro

The Modal Ontological Argument is as follows:

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

In the first round, Con should present their argument.
Burden of proof is on Con, to show why the argument is unsound.

Good luck!
whatledge

Con

Interesting topic, thank you for posting it.

I accept the burden of proof to explain why Pro's logic is unsound.

According to Pro,

"1) It is possible that a maximally great being exists"

A) "Maximally great being" is vague, I understand this is just another way of expressing "god," which is also amorphous at best, but Pro will need to address what maximally great is, so as not to deteriorate this debate into semantics. Maximal seems like an odd word choice: What is "max" in contrast to infinity, eternity, chaos? Another significant point I would like to address is that a "maximally great being" seems to point towards a consciousness or a being capable of intent and free agency; I would like Pro to address the characteristics of what it means to be "great" and to what"being" entails. Without these basic definitions, I don't think there could be a proper debate. Indeed, I need to know what "Maximally great being" is before I can attempt to refute it in its entirety.

But let us humor the ambiguity and tread along.

"2) If it is possible that a maximally great being exists, then a maximally great being exists in some possible world."

B) Essentially, this begs the question of what is or is not possible, and who gets to decide? No amount of science will tell us the limits of our own human body, not to mention the planet, the galaxy, the universe, at least, not yet. But even granted that this "maximally great being" is possible, I do not see why it must necessarily exist... which brings us to premise 3. But before I continue, I must emphasize again, as long as there is no real standard (unless we are liberally using our imagination/faith) of what is possible or impossible of "some possible worlds," I could claim that the pixie fairy created the universe in some possible world under the same logic, since essentially, anything is possible (until proven otherwise).

Of course, this sort of logic is what I am precisely noting as "unsound" as far as the resolution of this debate goes. There is such a thing as the negative proof fallacy.

"3) If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then a maximally great being exists in every possible world"

C) This logic is the equivalent to arguing that because there is an apple in my room, there are apples in all other rooms. This is arbitrary at best and is nothing short of a non-sequitur. Also how can the premise suggest that there is a "maximally great being in SOME possible world" and then follow that there is "a maximally great being in EVERY possible world"? At what point does the "some possible world" become "every possible world?" At what point does the potential for a "maximally great being" to exist, become a certainty on the virtue of it being possible?

Again, just because it is possible that there is an apple in this "world" so to speak, does not equate that there are apples in other possible worlds. At best, there is only uncertainty. There also is no reason to believe that other worlds have the same "maximal great being" as other worlds, as the standards of worlds may vary, and some worlds may be lesser or greater than others (the standard of which may be relative, introducing new problems of its own).

"4) If a maximally great being exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world
5) Therefore a maximally great being exists in the actual world
6) Therefore a maximally great being exists
7) Therefore God exists"

D) The rest of these premises don't follow because the preceding points are unstable at best. I would like to urge Pro to demonstrate why God or a "maximally great being" must necessarily exist to begin with and also what it even means to be "maximally great."

"Burden of proof is on Con, to show why the argument is unsound."

I accept this burden, and I believe I have demonstrated as to why Pro's bit of syllogistic argument is unsound.
Debate Round No. 1
Nzrsaa

Pro

Thanks for accepting the debate, I look forward to it.

MAXIMAL GREATNESS
Con asks for a definition of 'Maximal Greatness'. And I would simply describe such a being as All-Powerful, All-Knowing and All-Good. There are a number of 'sub-properties' that this being therefore has, which comes under the umbrella of the 3 main properties. These would include examples such as infinite creativity, all-loving, and most importantly, necessity in it's existence.
Con then asks whether a maximally great being points towards a consciousness. And I would say so, yes; I personally think that to be a decision-making agent is greater than to not be.
A 'Great' property is a property that is greater to have than not. It is the highest standard of goodness. (but not as in morally "good")
'Being' is anything that is in existence.
So, a 'Maximally great being' is something that is in existence (or potentially in existence), possessing all great-making properties.
While we are on definitions, a 'possible world' is possible description of reality [1] - but I assume you knew that.

OBJECTION #1
Ok so my opponent asks the question, "what is or is not possible". And that is a good question; as it is essential to the Ontological argument. So, I will explain.
So what is possible, and what is not possible?
Well just about everything we can conceive of is possible. That Romney will win the 2016 election, that the letter 'Q' never existed, or that unicorns exist. These things are logically coherent - and therefore possible.
If these things are possible, then they exist in some possible world. That is, some conception of reality that is logically coherent. [2]
But what is not possible?
Things that are contradictory are not possible - square circles, married bachelors, anything that is logically incoherent.
Such things exist in no possible world - there is no world where these things exist. [3]
But why is a Maximally Great Being Possible?
Well, because the concept is logically coherent. There is no logical contradiction between a being that is All-Loving, All-Powerful and All-Knowing. We can conceive of a world where such a being exists with there being no logical contradictions. Furthermore, we can bring in other arguments for God's existence - such as Cosmological, Axiological, or Fine-Tuning arguments. [4] But that is for another debate!
So, we can conclude that the first 2 premises are correct; that the concept of a maximally Great Being Existing is possible - and that if it is possible, then a Maximally Great Being exists in some possible reality.

OBJECTION #2
This brings us to the crucial part of the argument - the jump from 'some possible world', to 'every possible world'. I have already defined what a Maximally great being is; it is something that exists, and has all great-making properties.
So what this means is that a Maximally Great Being is one that has necessary existence; as necessary existence is a great-making property. So if it exists in one world (some possible world), then it exists in all of them. [5]
Contingent beings - unicorns for example, or as my opponent says, apples - only exist in some possible world(s). There is no jump, as they are not maximally great and therefore do not have necessary existence.
So when Con asks "At what point does the potential for a "maximally great being" to exist, become a certainty on the virtue of it being possible?", the answer is that it is revealed within the nature of a Maximally Great Being - such a being is one which possesses necessary existence. When it exists in one possible world, by definition, it exists in every possible world.
It should be worth nothing that we can't just apply 'Maximal Greatness' to anything, like the famous comparison to a Maximally Great island. Because it is simply not possible for such an entity to be Maxinally Great, as it is by definition a contingent, physical being. [6]

OBJECTION #3
Con concludes that the rest of the premises therefore do not follow. However, as I hope I have shown and explained, premises 1-3 are entirely sound and so the rest of the argument 4-7 therefore follow.

CONCLUSION
I think that maybe it would have been beneficial to give a few definitions at the beginning of the debate. Nevertheless, Con has raised some important questions. But, I have responded to them and shown why and how they are insufficient in showing the unsoundness of the Modal Ontological argument. I look forward to the next round.

God Bless

Sources:
[1] http://plato.stanford.edu...
[2] Ibid
[3] Ibid
[4] http://www.reasonablefaith.org...
[5] http://www.reasonablefaith.org...
[6] http://www.reasonablefaith.org...
whatledge

Con

MAXIMAL GREATNESS
``
"Con asks for a definition of 'Maximal Greatness'. And I would simply describe such a being as All-Powerful, All-Knowing and All-Good. There are a number of 'sub-properties' that this being therefore has, which comes under the umbrella of the 3 main properties. These would include examples such as infinite creativity, all-loving, and most importantly, necessity in it's existence. Con then asks whether a maximally great being points towards a consciousness. And I would say so, yes; I personally think that to be a decision-making agent is greater than to not be.
A 'Great' property is a property that is greater to have than not. It is the highest standard of goodness. (but not as in morally "good")"
``
RESPONSE
I thank Pro for elaborating on this, and I will begin by pointing out some problems in his definitions, as they seem a bit arbitrary. For instance, the three omni-characteristics of God apart from not being necessary at all, is at best an imagination that is arbitrarily pushed upon the origin of the universe in some personified metaphor. There is absolutely no reason to believe that a conscious supernatural force created any sort of existence, and indeed, Pro's syllogism in no way establishes that axiom. Instead, it simply assumes that the "maximally great being" must exist because it is "possible" given our own infinite ignorance. I just remind Pro that we cannot use our own ignorance as positive proof of something being possible. For instance, anything beyond the physical sphere of our universe, we have no comprehension of, unless we pander to the imagination of hell and heaven. Simply said, it is just as likely, if not more likely, that an unconscious force "created" or originated the world. I say this given the incongruity of reality and the tri-omni virtues of God; the problem of evil, the Euthyphro Dilemma, the problem of free will and omniscience, etc. all of these factors make God an even more likely a candidate of fiction than any real reflection of reality or nature.

``
"'Being' is anything that is in existence.
So, a 'Maximally great being' is something that is in existence (or potentially in existence), possessing all great-making properties."
``
RESPONSE
I would argue, however, that an unconscious creator of the universe is in no way inferior to a conscious one. The "greatness" is entirely relative, as I see the general view of "God" to be pretty petty, in the sense that he is a tyrant that created slaves to worship him at the threat of eternal suffering. But of course, this only emphasizes the differing opinions of "greatness."

``
"While we are on definitions, a 'possible world' is possible description of reality [1] - but I assume you knew that."
"Well just about everything we can conceive of is possible. That Romney will win the 2016 election, that the letter 'Q' never existed, or that unicorns exist. These things are logically coherent - and therefore possible.
If these things are possible, then they exist in some possible world. That is, some conception of reality that is logically coherent. [2]"
``
RESPONSE
Yes, but your definition solves none of the contradictions and fallacies in the syllogism. Certainly, nothing has to be the way it is, and we can conceive of things being different, but the potential or possibility does not equate to reality, and your syllogism fails to show how it would. I can just as well conceive of a world without humans and religion, a world without god or satan, my conceptions, however, have no bearing on reality. Just as well, we can assume that Romney won the election in some alternative universe, but that doesn't mean that that universe exists, and your syllogism does not establish why it necessarily exists on the virtue of it being possible. This is like saying, because everyone has the potential to win the lottery, there is a world where everyone has won the lottery. But why? Just because it is possible, it must exist?

``
"But what is not possible?
Things that are contradictory are not possible - square circles, married bachelors, anything that is logically incoherent.
Such things exist in no possible world - there is no world where these things exist. [3]"
``
RESPONSE
But I feel as if this is all pandering to the limits of our own universe, failing to realize that other universes (given that they exist) can have their own laws of physics and their own standards of existence completely incomparable to our own. The problem with your argument is that you assume you know what is impossible or illogical based on the physics of our own universe, when we are discussing "possible worlds" that essentially has no limits beyond our imagination. "Maximally great being" becomes problematic in this sense as well, as the "maximal" may vary depending on the varying universes. We come back to the problem of relativity.

``
But why is a Maximally Great Being Possible?
Well, because the concept is logically coherent. There is no logical contradiction between a being that is All-Loving, All-Powerful and All-Knowing. We can conceive of a world where such a being exists with there being no logical contradictions. Furthermore, we can bring in other arguments for God's existence - such as Cosmological, Axiological, or Fine-Tuning arguments. [4] But that is for another debate!
So, we can conclude that the first 2 premises are correct; that the concept of a maximally Great Being Existing is possible - and that if it is possible, then a Maximally Great Being exists in some possible reality.
``
RESPONSE
This seems a bit lazy of a justification. There are many contradictions such as the Epicurean paradox (problem of evil) which is older than Christ, Euthyphro Dilemma (also older than Christ), along with the general problems of predestination based on omniscience. The other arguments for the existence of "God" also are questionable, but indeed, they are not the focus of the debate. The syllogism as it stands is unsound.

``
"This brings us to the crucial part of the argument - the jump from 'some possible world', to 'every possible world'. I have already defined what a Maximally great being is; it is something that exists, and has all great-making properties. So what this means is that a Maximally Great Being is one that has necessary existence; as necessary existence is a great-making property. So if it exists in one world (some possible world), then it exists in all of them. [5] Contingent beings - unicorns for example, or as my opponent says, apples - only exist in some possible world(s). There is no jump, as they are not maximally great and therefore do not have necessary existence. So when Con asks "At what point does the potential for a "maximally great being" to exist, become a certainty on the virtue of it being possible?", the answer is that it is revealed within the nature of a Maximally Great Being - such a being is one which possesses necessary existence. When it exists in one possible world, by definition, it exists in every possible world. It should be worth nothing that we can't just apply 'Maximal Greatness' to anything, like the famous comparison to a Maximally Great island. Because it is simply not possible for such an entity to be Maxinally Great, as it is by definition a contingent, physical being. [6]"
``
RESPONSE
But this argument is arbitrary at best (refer to previous arguments as well). "Maximally Great Being" is entirely a subjective interpretation or perception fabricated by human beings. "Greatness" does not actually exist on an objective standard beyond mathematical truths. You assert that a maximally great being must exist by necessity, and yet, a Buddhist or Daoist may argue the greatest virtue of existence is emptiness and that emptiness is the essence of existence. All your standards of greatness and "max" are limited to your imagination and preference instead of reality and objectivity. Essentially, what you are arguing is that there is something that originates each possible world (given that they exist), and then you arbitrarily give this originator characteristics that YOU value and think are great, such as all-love, all-knowing, and all-powerful. But even if these characteristics were objective, they are circular in reason, because basically the argument is stating that the maximally great being must exist because it must exist to be maximally great, which is basically like saying the apple must exist because it must exist to be an apple (as apples necessarily must exist in order to be apples). In short, this sort of argument is just sophism and does not actually produce any "sound logic."

I believe the resolution remains negated.

I look forward to Pro"s response.
Debate Round No. 2
Nzrsaa

Pro

Thanks for your response.
I'll respond to each point you make.

MAXIMAL GREATNESS
"There is absolutely no reason to believe that a conscious supernatural force created any sort of existence, and indeed, Pro's syllogism in no way establishes that axiom"
The argument at no point attempts to prove that such a being created any sort of existence. It merely establishes to existence of such a being.

"Instead, it simply assumes that the "maximally great being" must exist because it is "possible" given our own infinite ignorance. I just remind Pro that we cannot use our own ignorance as positive proof of something being possible"
No, we are not using ignorance. We are using logic and reason. That is the whole point of the argument, and indeed all of philosophy. If there is no logical contradiction in the concept of a Maximally Great Being, then it's existence is possible - it's as simple as that. We have a concept of a Maximally Great Being; that is, a being which is All-Powerful, All-Good and All-Knowing. This includes all great-making properties, but If there are other great-making properties, then the being has them. This does not require knowledge outside of our scope and indeed it does not use them. [1]

"I say this given the incongruity of reality and the tri-omni virtues of God; the problem of evil, the Euthyphro Dilemma, the problem of free will and omniscience, etc."
Con also mentions these later in the debate, so I will respond to them then.

"I would argue, however, that an unconscious creator of the universe is in no way inferior to a conscious one"
Sure, but it is not necessary for the argument to succeed at all. If to be unconscious is more great than conscious, then it makes no difference to the Maximal Greatness of the being. I would stress, however, that a being that is unconscious cannot also be All-Knowing.

"I see the general view of "God" to be pretty petty, in the sense that he is a tyrant that created slaves to worship him at the threat of eternal suffering"
Well this is merely an insulting, inaccurate depiction of any sort of Theology there is. God is not a 'tyrant'. He created Free creatures, able to make their own choices. This is the exact opposite to a tyrant. In this same way, we aren't slaves. God doesn't threaten us with eternal suffering, he rewards us with eternal life. We can chose which path to take.

OBJECTION #1
"but the potential or possibility does not equate to reality, and your syllogism fails to show how it would"
No, absolutely not. But that is not what I argued. I argued that because a maximally great being is just that - maximally great - possibility DOES equate to reality. The transition is revealed within the nature of the being itself. If such a being exists in even one, single possible world then, because it is MAXIMALLY GREAT, will exist in EVERY possible world. So that is why, if a Maximally Great Being exists in some possible world, it transverses into reality. [2]

"I can just as well conceive of a world without humans and religion, a world without god or satan, my conceptions, however, have no bearing on reality. Just as well, we can assume that Romney won the election in some alternative universe, but that doesn't mean that that universe exists"
Absolutely, you are right on every account. These are possible worlds, most certainly. But these worlds are contingent; that is to say, they are not necessary. if they exist in one possible world, they don't necessarily exist in every possible world. But a Maximally Great Being is different to these contingent realities. Because as I have already explained, necessary existence is more great than contingent existence. So therefore, a Maximally Great Being will have necessary existence. [3]

"But why? Just because it is possible, it must exist"
No! This is only the case for necessary beings or concepts.

"But I feel as if this is all pandering to the limits of our own universe"
No, I would be quite confident in saying that in any possible world, there cannot be a square circle. These are entirely illogical concepts. No law of physics can refute the fact that a square cannot be a circle, and vice-versa.
This is exactly what the argument is trying to get across! That logical truths ARE universal. This is entirely uncontroversial; there is no possible world where there are no logical truths.
So when Con says that ""maximal" may vary depending on the varying universes", this is just not true - maximal greatness is a logical truth.
I would also like to point out to Con that 'universe' is not an entirely accurate world to use, as it implies a physical, space-time reality - but in the argument, we us 'worlds' to convey a logical reality. [4]

"There are many contradictions such as the Epicurean paradox (problem of evil) which is older than Christ, Euthyphro Dilemma (also older than Christ), along with the general problems of predestination based on omniscience"
I will respond to each of Con's points.
With the problem of evil, I would say that it is trivially easy to show to be redundant. If a maximally being exists, then it has justification for the evil that occurs. To give an example - if a tsunami were to kill 200,000 people. This sounds inherently evil. But it is entirely plausible to suggest that this tsunami prevented famine from overpopulation in 300 years, that would have killed 2 million people were it not to happen. In which case, the evil is justified. We don't know what the benefits of one piece of suffering may be - and so we cannot label it to be 'evil'. It is likely that it is to be for the greater good. [5]
With the Euthyphro Dilemma, again, is easy to show redundant - Things are good because they are rooted within the nature of God. [6]
With predestination, all God's foreknowledge means is that God knows what we will freely do in any set of circumstances. It doesn't by any stretch that we don't have free-will just because God knows what we will freely do. [7]
Just a quick not, Christianity has nothing to do with this debate, so when Con puts in brackets 'older than Christ', it is not at all relevant to the debate.

OBJECTION #2
"Maximally Great Being" is entirely a subjective interpretation or perception fabricated by human beings"
" "Greatness" does not actually exist on an objective standard beyond mathematical truths"
As I have already said, great-making properties are necessary truths - for if they were not, then they would not be great. For example, how could not being able to do anything, be more great than being able to do everything? Merely because one person thinks them to be true, and another false, does not make them any more or less great - greatness is a standard, not an opinion. So whatever the standard of great is, the being is 'it'. In this way therefore, greatness IS objective - even if what we previously conceived to be great was not great - it doesn't have much to do with the soundness of the argument. [3]

"But even if these characteristics were objective, they are circular in reason"
Not at all. What the Modal Ontological Argument shows is that by the sheer possibility of a maximally great being existing, then it must, by definition exist. This is not circular; it arrives at the conclusion through a number of premises (2-7), that show this transition. And so when you say "the argument is stating that the maximally great being must exist because it must exist to be maximally grea", that is not at all what the argument is stating - rather, it is saying that because it is POSSIBLE that such a being exists, then it must exist [3]

CONCLUSION
I think that on a number of occasions, Con gets confused with what 'possible world' means. I doesn't mean some sort of parallel universe, that ACTUALLY exists. It just means a coherent form of reality. I say this because I'm not quite sure if Con completely understood the concept. But, I may be wrong.
Nevertheless, I have shown how indeed, the argument is sound, and how Con's objections fail. So, the motion carries
I look forward to the final round.

God Bless

Sources
[1] http://www.reasonablefaith.org...
[2] http://plato.stanford.edu...
[3] http://mind.ucsd.edu...
[4] Ibid
[5] http://www.reasonablefaith.org...
[6] http://www.reasonablefaith.org...
[7] http://www.reasonablefaith.org...
whatledge

Con

MAXIMAL GREATNESS
"The argument at no point attempts to prove that such a being created""
//
RESPONSE
~But that"s the focal point and what this whole argument is leading up to, that God created the universe. But that"s beside the point, as the syllogism does not establish the existence of "said" being, because it simply assumes it must exist on the virtue of it being "the greatest thing possible."~
-

"No, we are not using ignorance. We are using logic and reason""
//
RESPONSE
~But at what point have you used logic and reason to demonstrate why the concept of a maximally great being must be what you arbitrarily label? You say the greatest possible thing must exist, but who decides what is "great?" We have no standards of measurement other than opinions. As I have stated, some cultures/philosophies value emptiness and view it as the essence/greatness of existence.
-

"Sure, but it is not necessary for the argument to succeed at all""
//
RESPONSE
But my point is that the argument becomes pointless, because you fail to prove what is great to begin with, and in what way it is maximally great. Furthermore, if that "greatest being" is unconscious, it destroys your resolution, as your whole point is to prove that "God" exists, which you gave a few characteristics to in round 2.
-

"Well this is merely an insulting, inaccurate depiction of any sort of Theology there is""
//
RESPONSE
Well not to offend you, but I am looking at it like how I would look at any other narcissistic obsessive behavior. I think if you create a creature(s) and "offer" it the choice to worship you or "choose" to go to hell" Well, I suppose everyone has their own definition of blackmail.
-

OBJECTION #1
"No, absolutely not. But that is not what I argued"
//
RESPONSE
I fail to see how any of this follows. First of all, I believe I have established that greatness is relative beyond a mathematical observation. Secondly, even if granted that we can make up our own standard of "greatness," just because something has the potential to exist, does not mean it necessarily must. We can build a castle in the moon and put Disney Land inside it, but I just don"t see how the potential must be translated to existence. You say it must be so, because "it is maximally great," but what if to be maximally great is to simply not exist at all? The problem is that you arbitrarily list the characteristics of what is "maximally great" without any objective standards. Simply said, if "maximally great being" is ultimately relative, the syllogism means nothing.

-
Absolutely, you are right on every account. These are possible worlds, most certainly"
//
RESPONSE
But if in fact, "other worlds" exist, we have no reason to believe that those worlds are subjected to the same limits and standards of our own world. If you are suggesting that there are merely multi-verses or some parallel universes, well then you must prove that such worlds exist, before they are relevant for discussion. As it stands, this is not a logical argument; as it is basing all of its logic on suppositions that have not been proven to be true either reasonably or evidently.
-

"No! This is only the case for necessary beings or concepts."
//
RESPONSE
But that"s the thing, who are we to decide what is necessary and what is not, especially in a "possible" world that we know nothing of? Also you have not established how necessity equates to greatness, or indeed, how existence is even a necessity. Nothing has to exist by a necessity. I could just as well conceive a world without anything.
-

"No, I would be quite confident in saying that in any possible world, there cannot be a square circle"
//
RESPONSE
Certainly there are logical truths in a universe ruled by logic and physics, but if there are "other worlds," we have no reason to believe that they have the same logic or physics that binds our own universe, if in fact, these worlds even exist. That said anything beyond the sphere of the "physical universe" is up for interpretation. In a world of chaos, things can literally pop into and out of existence, and anything can happen defying all logic, rules, physics, etc. And in fact, this world of "chaos" may be what originated our own universe. But I digress. My main point is that, you arbitrarily limit the world of other worlds based on the logic of this one, applying universal rules (That only applies to THIS universe) to supposed, possible, imaginary world that may or may not exist.
-

//
"With the problem of evil, I would say that it is trivially easy to show to be redundant""
//
RESPONSE
Your answer does not solve anything, as the conditions of the tsunami and how much people it kills is all within the intent and control of God. How does an all-loving God justify creating a world full of suffering, when it is in his power to create a world without it? Your argument makes no sense, since God is justifying the circumstances he himself is liable for. There wouldn"t be overpopulation or tsunami without God allowing it to happen in the first place. Not to mention, where is the justice for 200,000 people killed off by God to prevent overpopulation? Your refutation is problematic, at best, and solves none of the problems of evil.
-

"With the Euthyphro Dilemma, again, is easy to show redundant - Things are good because they are rooted within the nature of God. [6]"
//
RESPONSE
That is just another way of saying God is good because it is good to be God. And if all creation is within the nature of God (a product of him), then EVERYTHING must be good, and evil must not exist. The argument fails.
-

"With predestination, all God's foreknowledge means is that God knows what we will freely do in any set of circumstances. It doesn't by any stretch that we don't have free-will just because God knows what we will freely do. [7]"
//
RESPONSE
If god is the initial condition for existence, and he has foreknowledge of all knowledge, then all creation is bound by his knowledge, not BECAUSE he knows, but because he KNEW the consequences of everything before anything even existed. Again, Pro"s argument fails.
-

"Just a quick not, Christianity has nothing to do with this debate, so when Con puts in brackets 'older than Christ', it is not at all relevant to the debate."
//
RESPONSE
Certainly, it does not, I was merely pointing out that these problems have existed for a long time, and we can"t ignore these arguments especially in debating the characteristics of God. Also the God of Christianity (or some other mainstream "JudeoChristian-like" God) is evidently the standards of your "Maximally great being" so I think it is relevant in that sense.
-

"OBJECTION #2
"As I have already said, great-making properties are necessary truths - for if they were not, then they would not be great""
//
RESPONSE
I disagree, because basically the argument is STATING that it is greater to exist than not to exist, therefore your WHOLE syllogism is revolving around the relativity of greatness. You argue that greatness is a standard, but based upon WHAT standard are we measuring this? You essentially say that if you can do more, you are greater. This is true in a mathematical sense 1 < 2, but nothing more. Daoists believe that emptiness is the essence of existence, and in fact, everything is empty and just an illusion. Your greatness is just YOU stating that it is great on the virtue of your beliefs. There is NO logical or reasonable imperative to humor your standards as universal.
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"Not at all. What the Modal Ontological Argument shows is that by the sheer possibility of a maximally great being existing, then it must, by definition exist""
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RESPONSE
But you arbitrarily define what "by definition" must exist. The burden goes back to Pro to provide a sufficient amount of confidence or reason as to why we must accept these definitions, mainly what makes something great in the abstract, which I maintain is relative, or at best, something we can never measure objectively. Therefore, all of these premises are unsound to begin with, as the premises are reliant on arbitrary definitions that have not been proven to be true or even reasonable. It would be different if "greatness" was given an objective standard, but instead I was given a statement that "greatness" implies existence because it would not be great if it did not exist.
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"I think that on a number of occasions, Con gets confused with what 'possible world' means. I doesn't mean some sort of parallel universe, that ACTUALLY exists. It just means a coherent form of reality. I say this because I'm not quite sure if Con completely understood the concept."
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RESPONSE
If a possible world is just a coherent form of reality, then it is simply the extent of the imagination, for anything may be deemed coherent when you have creative control over the rules/definitions.

CONCLUSION

First and foremost, thanks to Nzrsaa for the debate. I also thank the readers for their interest. That said I believe I have consistently pointed out the flaws in Pro"s syllogism, and have, therefore, refuted the resolution.

Thanks again for the debate.
Debate Round No. 3
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by TUF 3 years ago
TUF
Lol Iamanatheistandthisiswhy said: "I would also suggest that the debaters in future debates use italics or bold to differentiate between opponents and their views as both arguments were difficult to read due to editing"

I didn't even read his RFD before saying that myself haha.
Posted by TUF 3 years ago
TUF
Lol Iamanatheistandthisiswhy said: "I would also suggest that the debaters in future debates use italics or bold to differentiate between opponents and their views as both arguments were difficult to read due to editing"

I didn't even read his RFD before saying that myself haha.
Posted by TUF 3 years ago
TUF
Con"s response here is what wins him the debate:

But you arbitrarily define what "by definition" must exist. The burden goes back to Pro to provide a sufficient amount of confidence or reason as to why we must accept these definitions, mainly what makes something great in the abstract, which I maintain is relative, or at best, something we can never measure objectively.

This isn"t saying that that I believe the ontological argument to be falsified, just that the debater, I feel, did not give a valid enough argument to verify the credibility of the argument. The questions posed by Con were still very relevant at the end of this debate, as they were in the beginning.

This was a great debate guys, keep up the good work. I loved the philosophy here, and hope to see more enthralling debates like this in the future.
Posted by TUF 3 years ago
TUF
RFD:

Tips for Pro: Start the debate off with a little more clarity. If the debate is philosophical as this one is, clarify meanings, add definitions, etc. One tip for both debaters would be in responding to each other. I generally don"t like it when users quote each other in such a way, because it can be confusing and is unnecessary. However, if you are going to do it, please bold or italicize the quoted text to make it clear and distinct. I had a slight problem with this reading con"s round 2, but it got slightly better in round 3. The response portion told me when you began, but not where you ended, and in cases where you didn"t include quotations, it became vexing. It is not too big of an issue, just something that could have been done a bit better. I am noticed very few spelling mistakes, but I did notice a couple grammar mistakes from pro. Nothing big enough to give points over though, because they were isolated incidents and I could clearly understand him. Conduct was fine. I was a little confused about the small little debate about God"s behavior in this debate about his existence. That part was unnecessary, but was fed by both debaters. Here is why I am giving the arguments to Con. At the end of the debate, I don"t think Pro ever specifically answered the link in part 5 of the ontological argument, which is specifically where this debate mattered. This is what pro said:

If such a being exists in even one, single possible world then, because it is MAXIMALLY GREAT, will exist in EVERY possible world. So that is why, if a Maximally Great Being exists in some possible world, it transverses into reality.

Again I can get on board with the arguments made about possible realms and realities, but this response did not properly give back up the statement in the last line of this blurp.
Posted by TUF 3 years ago
TUF
This is where lines start getting blurry; Here we were talking about the realms of possibility being infinite in different dimensions, and now we are limiting those possibilities (such as physical properties) to our own dimensional definitions.
Posted by TUF 3 years ago
TUF
Thoughts on the debate:

I agree with the comment that the burden should be on the pro to prove why it is sound, however, Con didn"t seem to be against this so it has no bearing on the debate. I don"t initially have any objections to the Con"s responses in his R1. He raised perfectly valid questions in which the answers were necessary to complete the debate. Again, this is why I think the initial arguments (BOP) should have been on the pro. I didn"t find the "definitions" clarified by the Pro as very helpful either. Were they definitional for the exclusion of the debate, or were they a set premise to reality? Is this hypothetical only? If not, then there is an open gap between linking descriptions like "all loving" to being "maximally great" and then contradicting it by saying "good" isn"t in a moral sense. The whole thing was slightly confusing, and starting off the debate, it would have been very helpful again if more clarification could have been given. In reading Pro"s rebuttal in R2, I think he was too one dimensional in his assessment of what Con had said in R1. To be more specific, the part of the debate where Con had asked for the connection between possibility and reality. Line 5 of the ontological argument, specifically, was not clarified as asked by Con.

"Just as well, we can assume that Romney won the election in some alternative universe, but that doesn't mean that that universe exists"

You can see where this debate falls more to the theory of relativity, which deters the true purpose of this debate of the existence of a god, to being null/pointless.

I found a conflict also in this: Because it is simply not possible for such an entity to be Maxinally Great, as it is by definition a contingent, physical being.
Posted by whatledge 3 years ago
whatledge
xxWesxx

Pretty much true, but there is reason to debate in the sense that there is something to be taught/learned. The point of discussing what is possible is to discuss what "possible" even means in a chaotic environment, where our laws of physics do not apply. We have no conception of what is "possible" beyond our own universe, which is pretty much my point in refuting his attempt to bring in "some possible worlds," which is essentially meaningless.
Posted by xxWesxx 3 years ago
xxWesxx
This is a poorly attempted debate of the ontological argument, as both of you have failed to discuss what possible even means. No, anything we can conceive of is most certainly not possible. It is not possible to roll a 7 with a 6 sided dice, and no amount of rolls, or 'worlds' can change that. You have failed to demonstrate premise one, it is possible for a maximally great being to exist, as even remotely true. The entire argument is nothing more than a failed attempt to demonstrate that premise one is possible, by arguing that it is possible because it is possible. Since you cannot demonstrate premise one, then all arguments, both for, and against this argument, are unsound, and a waste. Circular reasoning fallacy. There is no debate here. Con wins by default from the get go, as the premise of this argument is utterly illogical.
Posted by Nzrsaa 3 years ago
Nzrsaa
Maybe. But I think that considering the premises are relatively uncontrovercial, it should be up to the objector to show why they are false.
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
This is retarded. The burden of proof should be on you to prove it is sound lol
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by janetsanders733 3 years ago
janetsanders733
NzrsaawhatledgeTied
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: Good job to both debaters. However, Pro showed how God must exist in all possible worlds. He also had more sources than Con, and he gave good examples to show things are contradictions like square-circles, or married bachelors which Con seemed to think were analogous to God, but they weren't. This was a pretty tough debate to vote on, but I think it was worth it.
Vote Placed by TUF 3 years ago
TUF
NzrsaawhatledgeTied
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by iamanatheistandthisiswhy 3 years ago
iamanatheistandthisiswhy
NzrsaawhatledgeTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I think both debaters exhibited good behavior and as such conduct points are split. Spelling and Grammar is tied, I would also suggest that the debaters in future debates use italics or bold to differentiate between opponents and their views as both arguments were difficult to read due to editing. With respect to arguments I awarded Con the win as Con used philosophical concepts to show that the philosophical ontological argument is absurd. I think Pro could only win this debate, by defining words before the debate begun and had to be accepted by the opponent. Unfortunately, Pro did not do this and as such loses the debate.
Vote Placed by kbub 3 years ago
kbub
NzrsaawhatledgeTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Gosh, this was a brilliant debate round. I hope I do it justice. Pro did an amazing job defending the Modal Ontological Argument, one of the best I've seen. Unfortunately I'm going to have to side with Con on the relativity of greatness, including its relevance for existence. Since greatness is something constructed by people, it would seem that its definition cannot be used as a tool to prove God. I find this argument convincing, and it is vital to the ontelogical argument. Parallel worlds goes to Pro, and Con I think does possibly misrepresent them based on Pros arguments. Nevertheless, Con wins on greatness being relative. Thanks for the great debates! Ya'll make DDO look good XD