The Instigator
Microsuck
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
FourTrouble
Con (against)
Winning
13 Points

The Ontological Argument is a Failure

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Post Voting Period
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after 4 votes the winner is...
FourTrouble
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/14/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,089 times Debate No: 21151
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (9)
Votes (4)

 

Microsuck

Pro

Resolved: The ontological argument fails to prove the existence of God.

Ontological argument:

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

For the purposes of this debate, the term "God" will be defined broadly as to include the general attributes (ie: omnipotence, omniscience) commonly associated with Judeo-Christian monotheism.

Clarification

This debate is not about the existence of God; rather, this debate focuses on the ontological argument.

Rules

1) Round structure

1. Con's opening arguments.
2. Rebuttals
3. Rebuttals.
4. Rebuttals.
5. Closing arguments; no arguments from con.

2) No forfeiting

3) Plagarism is an automatic forfeit.

4) Trolling will get you blocked.

Good luck

:-)
FourTrouble

Con

I'd like to thank my opponent for this opportunity to defend the Ontological Argument. This is my first attempt doing so, and the debate should prove both exciting and educational.

Pro defines "God" broadly. This definition includes the following: God is the greatest being that we can fathom. As such, no being greater than God is imaginable or conceivable.

Given that definition of God, if the Ontological Argument is correct, then God exists.

The Ontological Argument presented by my opponent basically boils down to the following:

1) We cannot imagine a greater being than God because nothing greater can possibly be conceived.
2) If God does not exist, then something greater can be conceived.
3) Therefore, God must exist.

The logic is relatively simple, and if the two premises are accepted, the conclusion necessarily follows. Because both premises are true -- the first one is an obvious a priori truth, the second is based on the argument that existence is greater than non-existence -- therefore, the conclusion is true.

The Ontological Argument proves that God exists. The resolution is negated.
Debate Round No. 1
Microsuck

Pro

I. Introduction

I'd like to thank FourTrouble for accepting this debate and for his defense of the ontological argument. The Ontological Argument has never been very popular amongst debaters (for good reason). I will attempt to prove that the OI proves absolutely nothing.

==Rebuttals==

Con's argument boils down to the following:

1) We cannot imagine a greater being than God because nothing greater can possibly be conceived.

There is a flaw in this very first premise. If God exists only as an idea in the mind, then all this means is that we can indeed imagine something that is greater than the idea of God in the mind -- not greater than a God who actually exists. This first premise commits the fallacy of equivocation; namely, you cannot define something into existence. Specifically, you rely on two separate meanings of the word "God" they are:
  1. A god who exists in reality; and
  2. A god who exists only in the mind.

Apparently, you have switched between the two definitions that suits him.

2) If God does not exist, then something greater can be conceived.

Yes; however, "the greatest possible being that can be imagined" is not God who exists only as an idea in the mind--therefore, there is no contradiction. Apparently, as I already mentioned, you only create a contradiction using the equivocation fallacy.

3) Therefore, God must exist.

The logic is relatively simple, and if the two premises are accepted, the conclusion necessarily follows. Because both premises are true -- the first one is an obvious a priori truth, the second is based on the argument that existence is greater than non-existence -- therefore, the conclusion is true.

The Ontological Argument proves that God exists. The resolution is negated.

Epic fail!

The fallacies that I am attempting to show makes it a bit clearer if we more broadly define each "God" that is defined by the onto-illogical argument
  1. God 1: A god who exists.
  2. God 2: A God who exists as an idea in the mind.


Therefore, the argument goes like this:

  1. Nothing greater than God-1 can be imagined
  2. God-2 exists.
  3. God-1 is greater than God-2
  4. If God-1 does not exist then we can imagine something greater than God-2 (i.e., God-1)
  5. But we cannot imagine something that is greater than God-1
  6. Therefore God-1 exists


We see the fallacy being committed.

Finally, to quote Keith Augustine:

"The mere concept of what God is does not entail his existence. While we may conceive of God as having the property of being all-powerful (say), existing is not a property of a thing at all. (More specifically, existence is not a perfection.) So the second premise is false. God's existence concerns whether our concept of God corresponds to anything real, and pure reason cannot tell us that (unless the concept of God is self-contradictory, in which case God cannot exist). We can show that the classic ontological argument fails by keeping the erroneous second premise and replacing the first one with: "Utopia is the most perfect ('the greatest') society conceivable." The parallel conclusion that Utopia (or "the greatest car," or whatever) must exist is clearly false. Only observation could determine that such things exist." [2]


Remember: One cannot define a being into existence.

Once again, I affirm this resolution. Vote pro.

==Reference==

http://skeptico.blogs.com...;

2. http://www.infidels.org...;

FourTrouble

Con

Introduction

My opponent claims I commit a “fallacy of equivocation,” and also, that defining a being into existence is impossible.

First, note that simply claiming we cannot define a being into existence is a claim without any support. It is the whimsy of my opponent, and unless my opponent can prove that claim through a formal proof, then we have no reason to take it seriously.

Second, to show that the ontological argument does not commit this supposed fallacy of equivocation, and that it does prove God’s existence, I will not turn to a modern reformulation of the ontological argument in modal logic, which offers us a formal proof of God's existence as well as refuting Pro's claims that I commit an equivocation fallacy.


Godel's Ontological Argument

I will be using a somewhat simplified version of Pruss’s version of Godel’s argument, which employs third-order modal logic and a property abstraction operator. I simplify it for the sake of this debate, and will try my best to translate the formal proof for my opponent and our readers.

The basic primitive notion in Godel’s argument is positive property. Formally, we can say that A(x) is a positive property iff necessarily, for all y, if y have A(x), then having A(x) in no way detracts from the greatness of y, and if y has ~A(x), then having ~A(x) does in some way detract from some respect of greatness of y.

Basically, this means that a property is positive if it in no way detracts from the greatness of the entity that has the property, but its negation does detract from some respect of the greatness of the possessor. Necessary existence, essential omnipotence, essential omniscience, and essential perfect goodness, are positive properties.

The following three formal axioms follow:Axiom A1: If A is positive, then ~A is not positive.
Axiom A2: If A is positive and A entails B, then B is positive.
Axiom A3: If S is a set of properties that are all positive, and set S entails A, then A is a positive property.

(Also, keep in mind that axioms in modal logic are taken to be necessary truths)


The correctness of A1 is obvious. A2 follows. If a property does not detract from the greatness of an entity, then anything it entails does not detract from it either. If a property is shown to detract from the greatness of an entity, then any property that entails that property also detracts from that entity’s greatness. Hence if ~A detracts from greatness, and A entails B, then ~B detracts from greatness, since ~B entails ~A by contraposition. This yields Axiom A2. Axiom A3 applies this same logic, but through the notion of a set of properties. This could be done by defining a set S to contain B and A. Given A1 and A2, A3 follows. We can then expand the quantity of properties within the set, so that the set is not necessarily finite.

Given A1, A2, and A3, we can prove the following lemma:

Lemma L1: If S is a set of properties that are all positive, then it is possible that there is an object that possesses all of the properties in set S.

Here is the proof. Suppose A is one of the positive properties in set S, and that S/A is the set of properties that is obtained by removing A from S. Now, suppose it is not possible that an object possesses all of the properties in S, then, it follows necessarily that any object possessing all the properties in S/A must possess the property ~A. This is a contradiction. Why? Because S/A is a set of properties all of which are positive, A is positive, and yet S/A entails ~A, which A1 demonstrates is not positive.

Given L1, it follows that an object possesses all the properties in set S, and therefore, that there is a necessarily existent, essentially omnipotent, essentially omniscient, and essentially perfectly good being. We define this object, per Round 1, as God.

Thus, through a modal form of the ontological argument, we prove the necessary existence of God. The resolution is negated.

Also, note that at no point in this formal proof have I equivocated between different meanings of the word God. The argument is based on the primitive notion of positive property, not on two different meanings of the word God.
Debate Round No. 2
Microsuck

Pro

I want to thank my partner for his very interesting reply. You'll remember my contention that the OA commits the fallacy of equiovcation and secondly, one cannot define a being into existince; therefore, the OA does not prove that a Judeo-Christian type god exists. In order to respond to these problems, my partner states the following: (1) To prove that one cannot define a being into existence; and (2) my partner used a modern formulation of the ontological argument known as "Godel's Ontological Argument." Unfortunately, as we will see, the GOA commits the same fallacy.

==Defense of my case==

1) One cannot define a being into existence

In order to prove this point, I will substitute "God" for being "X"
  1. If X exists by definition, X exists.
  2. X exists by definition.
  3. Therefore, X exists.
The fallacy committed here is the fallacy from circular reasoning. Circular reasoning is a fallacy in which the proposition is proved to be true implicitly or explicitly in one of the premises. [1] In this case, the proposition is proven by premise 1. Now, let's substitute for other stuff:
  1. If the flying spaghettii monster exists by definition, it exists.
  2. The FSM exists by definition
  3. Therefore, the FSM exists.
So, we begin to see that we can make anything exists by defining it into existence. As mentioned earlier, this is circular reasoning.

==Refutations==

My partner has used the GOA as his sole defense of the ontological argument. As I will attempt to show, the GOA proves absolutely nothing. Please correct me if I am wrong, but this is what you argue [2]:

Definition 1: x is God-like if and only if x has as essential properties those and only those properties which are positive

Definition 2: A is an essence of x if and only if for every property B, x has B necessarily if and only if A entails B

Definition 3: x necessarily exists if and only if every essence of x is necessarily exemplified
Axiom 1: If a property is positive, then its negation is not positive.

Axiom 2: Any property entailed by—i.e., strictly implied by—a positive property is positive

Axiom 3: The property of being God-like is positive

Axiom 4: If a property is positive, then it is necessarily positive

Axiom 5: Necessary existence is positive

Axiom 6: For any property P, if P is positive, then being necessarily P is positive.

Theorem 1: If a property is positive, then it is consistent, i.e., possibly exemplified.

Corollary 1: The property of being God-like is consistent.

Theorem 2: If something is God-like, then the property of being God-like is an essence of that thing.

Theorem 3: Necessarily, the property of being God-like is exemplified.

The major problem with this argument is that it is (once again) circular reasoning and has parodies which are logically valid using this syllogism. Likewise, another major problem comes with the fact that it still is circular reasoning.

Definition 1: x is God-like if and only if x has as essential properties those and only those properties which are positive

Here is the problem with this definition, the standard definition for "God" has negatives in it. For example, to say that God is "all-knowing" or omniscient is the same as saying that there is nothing that God does not know. To say that God is omnipresent is to say that there is nowhere where God is not. Therefore, we can change the positive definitions of God into negative definitions.

Definition 2: A is an essence of x if and only if for every property B, x has B necessarily if and only if A entails B

Yet again, defining stuff into existence.

Definition 3: x necessarily exists if and only if every essence of x is necessarily exemplified

Here is where you are defining stuff into existence. Once again, circular reasoning is shown. What basis do you say "X" necessarily exists?

Axiom 1: If a property is positive, then its negation is not positive.

As we saw with my examples, for every positive property, we can change it into a negative property. For example, the Christian God is defined as
almighty, eternal, holy, immortal, immense, immutable, incomprehensible, ineffable, infinite, invisible, just, loving, merciful, most high, most wise, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, patient, perfect, provident, supreme, true. [3]


We call this a "negative theology", namely, that God's nature can never be fully comprehended by mortal finite beings. For example, immutable means that God does not change; infinite means that God has no limits; invisible means that GOd cannot be seen etc. [4]
Therefore, one can say that I concede this axiom.

Axiom 2: Any property entailed by—i.e., strictly implied by—a positive property is positive

The problem is that God is not strictly implied by a positive property as we have just seen. This is called negative theology.

Axiom 3: The property of being God-like is positive

Or negative if we take the negative theology viewpoint as already proven.

Axiom 4: If a property is positive, then it is necessarily positive

False.

The rest of the argument collapses from here.

Theorem 3: Necessarily, the property of being God-like is exemplified.

This is a case of circular reasoning once again. One cannot define a being into existence; likewise, God has negative properties as well as positive properties.

Conclusion
  1. God has both negative and positive properties.
  2. The argument commits circular reasoning by definine God into existence.
  3. God does not necessarily exist by definition

Vote affirmative!

==Sources==

1. http://en.wikipedia.org...

2. I have organized his wording from http://plato.stanford.edu...;

3. Quoted http://webspace.webring.com...;

4. Ibid
FourTrouble

Con

Introduction

I must admit, I'm somewhat perplexed by Pro’s argument, as it completely disregards my Prussian Godelian argument. Pro simply does not respond to the argument I made. Instead, Pro attempst to refute Godel's original argument, whereas I was using a revised argument that is not susceptible to the same kinds of refutations.


Regardless, Pro concludes that “God has both negative and positive properties,” “The argument commits circular reasoning by defining God into existence,” and therefore, “God does not necessarily exist by definition.” Each of Pro's conclusions is false.

God has both negative and positive properties?

If by negative and positive propertes, Pro means that God is both "infinite" and "not finite," then yes, I agree with Pro. Thing is, Pro has completely misunderstood Godel's notion of a "positive property," and as a result, commits the fallacy of equivocation, the same fallacy Pro accuses me of commiting.

The "positive property" is a technical term. I defined it in Round 2, as a property that does not take away from the greatness of its possessor, but whose negation does take away from the greatness of its possessor.

Necessary existence is a positive property: it does not take away from the greatness of its possessor, but its negation does take away from the greatness of its possessor.


Pro conflates "positive property" with the definitions of "positive" and "negative" as they are usually used. The property, "not finite," is arguably a "positive property," even though it is a "negative." Furthermore, "finite" is not a "positive property" even though it is a "positive."

We can thus see how Pro equivocates between two senses of the word "positive" to derive his predetermined conclusion that my argument is flawed. Of course, Pro ends up committing the same fallacy that Pro accuses me of in Round 2.

Another important point: the negation of a "positive property" is not a “negative property.” A Godelian “negative property” is not defined. If you use the usual meaning of "negative," as Pro does, I can assure Pro and readers that it has nothing to do with the "negation of a positive property."

Point is, a positive property can be expressed in a negative form, and the negation of a positive property can be expressed in a positive form. The two senses of the word "positive" are distinct.

As for the concept of “negative theology,” that is a concept that probably comes from Hegel’s conception of God as the “negation of negation,” or in other words, in an endless dialectical process of reasoning (which takes contradictions and negations in systems of thought and synthesizes them to form new systems of thought).

Pro’s understanding of negative theology is fundamentally tied to the post-structuralist concept of differance, as it was developed by Derrida. According to Derrida, we can never arrive at an origin (defined as God) in a process of signification because meaning is always negatively different and deferred from itself. The process of deferred negation through time is what we call deconstruction, and negative theology thus locates God not in an impossible "origin," but in this endless movement of negative differences working (or deconstructing) themselves out.


There are a few important points here: one, that negative theology does not foreclose the possibility of ontological arguments proving God's existence. Two, because negative theology is predicated on a post-structuralist understanding of being and language as intimately intertwined, it forces us to seriously consider the possibility that things can be defined into existence, not because it is a possibility, but because things only exist through their definitions (this is the implication of no origin).

Most importantly, that negative theology has nothing to do with Godelian arguments, the "positive property," or the equivocation Pro commits between "negative property" and "negation of the positive property." It is entirely irrelevant to this debate, except as a way to explain how being is defined into existence.

Defining a being into existence

Pro claims we cannot define a being into existence because it employs circular reasoning. I dunno about that. What I can say with 100% certainty is that the ontological argument does NOT commit a logical fallacy.

In the ontological argument, we use modal logic to deduce God’s existence. It might use circular reasoning, I don't know, but its besides the point: if the premises are sound, then the conclusion is sound.

To get clearer on how Pro goes wrong, take a look at Pro's example:

1. If X exists by definition, X exists.
2. X exists by definition.
3. Therefore, X exists.

According to Pro, this argument commits a logical fallacy. Consider though, that Pro's example has absolutely nothing to do with my Godelian argument. Pro attempts to refute the classic ontological argument of Hartshorne or Plantinga. And furthermore, Pro's refutation does not work.

We can see this if we look at the formal proof. We take the modal axiom, “if possibly x, then necessarily possibly x,” as given. We also take:

> to be "strict implication"
v to be "or"
n(x) to be "necessarily true"
X to be “God exists”

1. X > n(X) -- we define God as necessarily existing; God cannot exist contingently

2. ~n(~X) -- God is possible, not impossible

3. n(X) > X -- the modal axiom

4. n(X) v ~n(X) -- principle of excluded middle

5. ~n(X) > n(~n(X)) -- apply Becker's postulate, which holds that modal status is always necessary, to ~n(X)

6. n(X) v n(~n(X)) -- 4,5, substitution

7. n(~n(X)) > n(~X) -- 1, modal modus tollens, which holds that if the consequent of a conditional is necessarily false, then its antecedent is necessarily false.

8. n(X) v n(~X) -- 6,7, substitution

9. n(X) -- 8,2, disjunctive syllogism

10. X -- 9,3, modus ponens, which is a basic syllogism: if 3, and given 9, 10.


This is basically Hartshorne's and Plantinga's version of the ontological argument, and it uses the conditional existence of God to prove that God's existence is necessary, not conditional. The argument commits no logical fallacies. Thus, if its premise, God possibly exists, is sound, so is its conclusion.

Pro states that this argument can be used to justify the existence of anything. Again, Pro's claim is false. The first premise, "that God cannot exist contingently," is the key here. We cannot say of anything else that it "cannot exist contingently," and therefore, only God can be proved using this version of the ontological argument.

What this shows, then, is that the argument does not “define a being into existence.” What it does is show that the conditional existence of a necessarily existing being, in formal logic, proves the necessary existence of that being. This is different from what Pro calls, “defining a being into existence.”

Godelian Argument

The argument I gave last round was a Godelian one. Unlike Hartshorne's or Plantinga’s argument, it does not begin with the conditional existence of God. Rather, it begins with the notion of "positive property." The notion itself generates, through higher-order logic, some object that has a set of all positive properties. Because necessary existence is a positive property, any object that has all the positive properties necessarily exists. We say that object is God, as it includes all the positive properties, perfect goodness, omniscience, etc.

I worked the argument out last Round in a very simplified form, so that Pro and readers would understand it.

Unfortunately, Pro did not address my version of the argument. Instead, Pro responds to Godel’s original argument, which differs in its axioms and definitions.

Furthermore, Pro completely misunderstands the argument, and therefore, Pro's objections do not work.

Pro equivocates, conflating the formal meaning of “positive” with the primitive notion of “positive property.” As a result, Pro's refutations and conclusions are flawed and false. The resolution remains negated.
Debate Round No. 3
Microsuck

Pro

Thank you for your reply. Let's jump right into the debate.

God has both negative and positive properties

My partner concedes that one can take a positive property and turn it into a negative property.

take away from the greatness of its possessor, but whose negation does take away from the greatness of its possessor. I failed to understand what the definition of "positive property" was; thank you for clarifying. However, now we must ask ourselves if God does have negative properties which takes away from his greatness; and the answer is yes. Let's take two of God's properties for an example:
  1. All-knowing
  2. Free will
According to the standard attributes of God, God is both all-knowing and has free will. However, this leads to a contradiction because if you know everything, then you cannot have a period of uncertainty. Consider this argument by Dan Barker [1]:

God is a being who allegedly has free will and is all-knowing.

In order to have free will, you must have more than one option, each of which is avoidable. This means that before you make a choice, there must be a state of uncertainty during a period of potential: you cannot know the future. Even if you think you can predict your decision, if you claim to have free will, you must admit the potential (if not the desire) to change your mind before the decision is final.

A being who knows everything can have no "state of uncertainty." It knows its choices in advance. This means that it has no potential to avoid its choices, and therefore lacks free will. Since a being that lacks free will is not a personal being, a personal being who knows everything cannot exist.

Therefore, God does not exist.

So, you see, the problem with God is that his attributes are self contradictory which takes away from his greatness. There is yet again another example: God cannot change the future because he already knows what the future is; therefore, praying is pointless because it is not going to affect anything.

Defining a being into existence

My partner concedes that the version of the OA I brought forth commits this fallacy of circular reasoning; however, he justifies the error by showing that the argument makes God a necessary being; yet under what circumstances do we make a being "necessary"? Why not take God and replace it with the Invisible Pink Unicorn?

Conclusion

  1. I have shown that the standard definition of God does contain properties which takes away with God's greatness.
  2. God's attributes are contradictory which often conflict with his greatness.
  3. Therefore, I believe that the OA is a failure.
Affirmed.


______________

Sources

1. http://ffrf.org...

FourTrouble

Con

Introduction

In this Round, Pro concedes the majority of his previous arguments (they were sufficiently refuted), and takes a new direction. Pro decides to stop refuting the OA directly, and instead makes general claims about God’s existence. Specifically, Pro argues that God’s attributes are contradictory, and therefore, that God cannot exist. Let me remind Pro and the reader that, per Pro’s terms in Round 1, “this debate is not about the existence of God; rather, this debate focuses on the ontological argument.” Pro’s argument is not even relevant to this debate. But let’s be generous and assume, for the sake of argument, that it is relevant to this debate.

God has positive and negative properties

Again, Pro makes the error of confusing “negative properties” with the “negation of positive properties.” The negative properties of God are positive properties expressed in a negative form. For example, "God is infinite" can be expressed negatively as "God is not finite," or "God is perfect" can be expressed as "God is not unperfect." Pro continues to equivocate by assuming God’s negative properties are the negation of positive properties. I've explained this in previous rounds already, they clearly are different categories. The negation of positive properties are properties that take away from the greatness of its possessor, and by the definition of God generated by the Godelian OA, God has no such properties.

God is self-contradictory?

Pro argues that God cannot have free-will and know the future at the same time. But Pro assumes that God can only do what is logically possible, and forgets that God is also omnipotent. This means God has the ability to do absolutely anything, including the logically impossible. If we accept the Godelian OA, we also accept God’s omnipotence, in which case it becomes clear that God has the ability to simultaneously know the future and change the future because God can defy logic as well. In fact, if God could not defy the rules of logic then it would mean that God was subject to rules outside his authority. The argument that God’s properties are contradictory is self-refuting. God is a logically coherent being.

Again, let’s be generous and assume, for the sake of argument, that God cannot defy logic. It’s not even clear that free-will and being all-knowing imply a contradiction. If God is all-knowing, it means that when God decides to change the future, God will simply know ahead of time of an intention to change the future. In that sense, the two do not imply a contradiction.

Furthermore, the idea that free-will requires a state-of-uncertainty (which is Pro’s entire argument) is suspect. Free-will is the ability to choose the best path, and then pursue that path. Free-will, then, is the freedom to follow the path you choose. God has decided on a future, a plan and a path, and God knows what this future is, but God still exercises his free-will in being able to choose this future and follow through with it. Again, there is no contradiction between free-will and omniscience.

God is free to choose a future, know what that future is, and follow through with it. That is free-will. And again, because God is omnipotent, God can defy logic. Point is, however you spin it, God is not logically contradictory. God is a fully coherent being, a being whose every property adds to his greatness, and who has no property that takes away from that greatness.

Defining a being into existence

Pro continues to claim that the OA commits the “fallacy of circular reasoning,” even after I demonstrated through a formal proof that the Hartshorne OA commits no such fallacy. Note, also, that Pro has completely dropped the Godelian OA, conceding that it does not commit circular reasoning. What we are talking about here is the Hartshorne OA.

Last round, I explained that whether the OA commited circular reasoning or not was irrelevant, if its premises were true. Circular reasoning is only fallacious when the premises are false. Then, I went on to show, through modal logic, that the Harshorne OA does not commit circular reasoning. Pro offered no refutations, no discussion of premises or logical soundness. Instead, Pro simply continues to push his claim that I commit circular reasoning, but offers no explanations as to how I or the OA do this.
Let me remind the reader, the Hartshorne shows that the premise, “God possibly exists,” leads, through a valid formal proof, to the conclusion that “God exists.” The argument is not circular because the premise differs from the conclusion.


I showed this last Round, but Pro seems to continue pushing the argument that it’s circular reasoning. I admit, I'm somewhat perplexed at Pro's decision to ignore my extensive formal proof refuting his claims. But let's be generous and assume Pro did not ignore it, Pro has simply recognized its validity.

Why not the Invisible Pink Unicorn?

Pro asks, “Why not take God and replace it with the Invisible Pink Unicorn?” I also addressed this question last Round, although my opponent has also ignored that argument. To repeat: we do not replace God with the “Invisible Pink Unicorn” because God is the ONLY being that is not contingent. Every other object is defined contingently, whereas God is necessary. Pro concedes God is necessary, and provides no argument to show the Invisible Pink Unicorn is necessary. This is because it is easy to think up a world in which it is logically impossible for the Invisible Pink Unicorn to exist. But it is not logically possible to say there is a world in which God does not possibly exist. God is logically possible in every world. Thus, God is not defined contingently. The OA argument holds, and avoids the parody of the Invisible Pink Unicorn.

Conclusion

Pro has barely touched on the logic of the Godelian OA, and I have completely refuted Pro’s claims about the Hartshorne version of the OA. In this past Round, Pro drops arguments against the OA to attack God's existence directly. I sense that Pro has realized the validity of the OA, and now proceeds to argue against its conclusion through other means -- arguing that God is logically contradictory. That is fine, I refute those arguments as well, and show that God is logically coherent. That said, I remind the reader that Pro’s terms expressly focused the debate on the OA, not on God’s existence. Hence, I urge voters to vote conduct against Pro for attempting to argue something that Pro’s terms forbid Pro to do.
Debate Round No. 4
Microsuck

Pro

=====> Introduction <======

I must say, you have been a formidable opponent throughout this debate. This round is for closing statements (see r.1)



=====> Closing Statements <======

The only thing I criticize my partner for doing is that he did not defend the ontological argument placed in round 1. In round 1, I defined the OI as followed:


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

Therefore, my partner needed to defend this formation of the ontological argument, which he did not; therefore, it is my opinion that he did not meet his burden of proof.

May the best arguments win.
FourTrouble

Con

Introduction

Let me remind Pro and the reader of the resolution: "The ontological argument fails to prove he existence of God." We see that it was Pro's burden to prove that the ontological argument fails to prove the existence of God. Burden of Proof was with Pro, as instigator of the debate. My burden was to refute Pro's arguments that the OA fails, and thereby negate the resolution. As Pro surely recognizes by dropping my arguments and refutations, I have fulfilled this burden.

I will address Pro's newest argument (that I did not address the relevant OA) in my closing statement. Before I do that, to
close the debate off I will go through and summarize the arguments made throughout the debate and show how I have systematically refuted Pro's arguments and negated the resolution.

Round 2

Pro argued that the OA equivocates between two different meanings of the word God.

I responded by showing that the OA uses modal logic, in which God is defined in only one way. It does not equivocate. I pushed this point with the example of a Godelian OA, the most sophisticated of the different versions of the OA. The Godelian argument generated the definition of God through the concept of positive property, and in doing so, The Godelian argument explicitly avoided the fallacy of equivocation. It did this because only one object (or meaning of the word) was generated and used by the argument itself.

Round 3

Pro argued that the OA defines a being into existence, and that the OA is fallacious because defining a being into existence uses circular reasoning. Pro also argued against the GOA, claiming that "God has both negative and positive properties," and therefore, "God does not necessarily exist by definition."

I responded by demonstrating that Pro had equivocated between two different understandings of the word negative and positive, and had completely misrepresented the GOA. I showed that stating God is "not finite" is simply expressing a "positive property" in negative form, and that "not finite" is NOT the "negation of positive property."

I also responded to Pro's claim that the OA uses circular reasoning. In Round 3, I explicitly addressed the OA that Pro offered in Round 1 and Round 3 (refuting Pro's closing statement...). I translated it into modal logic, and gave a formal proof. I explained every step in the poof, to show how we go from the definition of God, "If God, necessarily God," to the conditional statement of God's existence, "God is possible," to the conclusion that God necessarily exists. Finally, I showed that it is a simple modus ponens (standard syllogism) to demonstrate God's necessary existence implies God's existence.

Round 4

Pro drops all my previous arguments, recognizes that the logic of the OA itself is sound, and decides to refute its conclusion by arguing that God's existence is a logical impossibility because God is logically contradictory. Pro argues God cannot be all-knowing and have free-will at the same time. Pro also argues agaisnt the OA by saying we can substitute the "Invisibible Pink Unicorn" for "God" in the OA, and that the result would be the same.

I responded in three ways. First, I pointed out that God is also omnipotent, and therefore, God is not subject to the rules of logic because God can do absolutely anything, including the logically impossible. Second, I showed that Pro is wrong to suppose free-will and being all-knowing are mutually exclusive and contradictory. I showed that God can still make free choices without a state of uncertainty, and that free-will was about the freedom to choose the best option, and to follow that option through. God can be all-knowing, and in being all-knowing, make the best choice and follow through with it. Thus, I showed that God can be all-knowing and free-willed at the same time without contradiction. Finally, I pointed out that, per Pro's own terms in Round 1, arguing against God's existence was not relevant to this debate. Pro explicitly frames the debate as one focusing on the "ontological argument." Thus, I provide three refutations of God's logical incoherence, and demonstrate God is logically possible.

I also showed that the reason only God works in the OA is because God is the only being that is not defined contingently. This means that for the Invisible Pink Unicorn, and for pretty much everything else excep God, it is a logical impossibility that these objects exist in some logically possible world. God, and God alone, is a logical possibility in every logically possible world. Thus, God is the only being not defined contingently.

Round 5: Closing Statement

And here we are, in Round 5. In this Round, Pro drops all my previous arguments. Pro notes that the "only thing I critisize my partner for" is that I "did not defend the ontological argument placed in round 1."

I must say, this comes as a surprise to me. I thought I was addressing the OA the entire debate, as well as systematically refuting Pro's arguments against the OA. It is a surprise that Pro suddenly, in his closing statement, decides that I have not met my burden because I have not been arguing about the relevant OA.

Truth is, if Pro really thought I was defending an irrelevant ontological argument in Round 1, 2, and 3, Pro could have said something a lot earlier. Pro could have said the GOA was not relevant to this debate. Instead, Pro attempts (and as I have shown, fails in his attempts) to refute the GOA by misunderstanding it, and then claiming that God can have both positive properties and properties that negate positive properties. Pro clearly equivocates and is wrong, but that is beside the point. The point is that Pro engaged my arguments, the version of the OA, that I offered throughout the debate. In doing so, Pro admits those versions of the OA to as relevant to the debate.

But again, let's be generous and assume that Pro's argument is correct. Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that I did not defend the relevant OA offered in Round 1. If that is really the case, then what is it that I really did do in this debate? Well, I systematically refuted every single one of Pro's arguments. So, regardless of whether I defended the relevant OA or not, I nonetheless showed that Pro's arguments were false. As Con, that is enough to fulfill my burden. My burden was not to show the absolute correctness of the OA. My burden was to negate the resolution, which states: "The ontological argument fails to prove the existence of God." I refuted every argument made by Pro in this debate, and therefore, I refuted Pro's claims that the OA fails to prove God's existence. That, in and of itself, is enough to fulfill my burden and effectively negate Pro's arguments and the resolution. Note, also, that Pro did not state BoP was shared.

Finally, I want to make clear to readers that I did address the relevant OA for multiple reasons: 1) because Pro engaged the GOA and my arguments as if they were relevant until his closing statement, at which point it is too late to claim they are irrelevant; 2) more importantly, because I actually did addess the OA from Round 1 -- in Round 3. I clearly stated, in Round 3, that I was giving a formal proof of the OA offered by Pro, not the one I offered. And I provided an extensive formal proof for that OA, which is basically the Plantinga version of the OA offered in Round 1. Pro left that formal proof completely unrefuted, Pro did not even argue against its logic or its premises.

The resolution is negated. I urge a strong vote to Con.
Debate Round No. 5
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by Pulchritudinous 2 years ago
Pulchritudinous
This is completely hilarious!

Rule 2 - No forfeit.

Rule 3 - Plagiarism is an automatic forfeit.

HAHA
Posted by Beginner 3 years ago
Beginner
A theorem provided in mathematical form proving the existence of a being with all positive properties! Amazing. The ten little tenets in round 3 were tedious. I simply glazed over them after the first 2.

Since the construct is essentially mathematical, I would provide an argument running along the lines of:
In math, if a is b and b is c, then a is c. This doesn't work in real life. A man is a living thing, a tree is a living thing, a man is therefore a tree. Mathematical theorem's general application to descriptions in reality creates silly man = tree statements.
Posted by MikeyMike 4 years ago
MikeyMike
Just when u think you're smart... You read a debate on DDO that begs to differ...
Posted by FourTrouble 5 years ago
FourTrouble
@wiploc, technically, circular reasoning in and of itself does not refute the premises or conclusions of an argument. For example, if I say, "2+2=4 because 2+2=4," without a formal mathematical proof, that is circular reasoning, but it doesn't change the fact that 2+2=4 is actually true. Also, I myself don't think the OA works, the Plantinga OA violates set theory, which immediately leads to refutation. As for the Godelian argument, there are reasons to doubt it's validity, but as of yet, no one has figured out yet where its "proof" exactly goes wrong.
Posted by Zaradi 5 years ago
Zaradi
I would try to judge this, but no matter how much I try to grasp what this is saying, it's going over my head. I appologize.
Posted by Microsuck 5 years ago
Microsuck
Arguments will be up this evening.
Posted by FourTrouble 5 years ago
FourTrouble
Microsuck, did you read my explanation of what a "positive property" is?
Posted by Microsuck 5 years ago
Microsuck
When will you have your arguments up?
Posted by Microsuck 5 years ago
Microsuck
When will you have your arguments up?
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by popculturepooka 5 years ago
popculturepooka
MicrosuckFourTroubleTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Con argued his points better; he showed how Pro's "question-begging", "substitution", and "logical incoherence" arguments failed.
Vote Placed by SuburbiaSurvivor 5 years ago
SuburbiaSurvivor
MicrosuckFourTroubleTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro made repeated mistakes. Misunderstanding modal logic, etc. Con refuted all of Pro's arguments.
Vote Placed by KRFournier 5 years ago
KRFournier
MicrosuckFourTroubleTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Con's arguments were stellar. He clearly outlined Pro's errors to such an extent that Pro seemed to have his back against the wall. Pro loses conduct for his lame attempt at the end to win on a technicality that didn't exists.
Vote Placed by wiploc 5 years ago
wiploc
MicrosuckFourTroubleTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro dropped arguments, and introduced a new one in the final round. Con was good at addressing each point raised. I don't like Con's arguments (circular arguments are legitimate if the premises happen to be true?) but he still argued better.