The Instigator
Illegalcombatant
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
larztheloser
Pro (for)
Winning
3 Points

The Ontological argument for Gods existence

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
larztheloser
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/14/2011 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,820 times Debate No: 15923
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (10)
Votes (1)

 

Illegalcombatant

Con

PLEASE READ THIS BEFORE ACCEPTING DEBATE

4 Rounds
8,000 Character limit
72 Hours to respond
3 Month voting period

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PROBLEMS ?

If you have any problem with the debate please post in the comments section first so we can try to come to an agreement before starting.
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Round 4

Round 4 is the last round, no new arguments are to be made in round 4. Only rebuttals, counter arguments of the previous arguments, and summaries.

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BURDEN OF PROOF

Both sides of this debate have a burden to carry

I as the Con will seek to show that Pros ontological argument for Gods existence should be rejected.

My opponent as the Pro will seek to show that their ontological argument for the existence of God should be accepted.

Definition of God = Its existence is uncaused, morally good, all powerful, all knowing, personal, the prime/first mover

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What this debate is about

So, I would like to argue against an ontological argument. What is an ontological argument for the existence of God you may ask ? for those that are unfamiliar with ontological arguments.......

Ontological arguments are arguments, for the conclusion that God exists, from premises which are supposed to derive from some source other than observation of the world—e.g., from reason alone. In other words, ontological arguments are arguments from nothing but analytic, a priori and necessary premises to the conclusion that God exists [1]

Here is an example of an ontological argument. (Pro doesn't have to use this argument, it just presented as an example)

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.
Therefore, a maximally great being exists.

I will let Pro determine which ontological argument they want to argue for and defend, but I ask they post their ontological argument in the first round and that we stick to just one ontological argument of Pros choosing.

I look forward to Pros opening argument.

Sources

[1]http://plato.stanford.edu...
larztheloser

Pro

I'd like to say hi to my opponent, and thank him for starting this very important topic. I'm going to be running the easiest ontological argument ever. So easy is it, in fact, that it only has one premise. First, however, let me not define God. I say that God cannot be defined because God is perfect, and to define would be to limit God to that definition, which would impinge on God's perfection. My argument proves that a perfect being exists. From this it logically follows, under my definition, that God exists.

Here is the argument you've all been waiting for...
P1: It is impossible to be perfect and not exist
C: Therefore such a being must exist

This is taken from Descartes' fifth meditation: "Because I cannot conceive God unless as existing, it follows that existence is inseparable from him, and therefore that he really exists: not that this is brought about by my thought, or that it imposes any necessity on things, but, on the contrary, the necessity which lies in the thing itself, that is, the necessity of the existence of God, determines me to think in this way: for it is not in my power to conceive a God without existence, that is, a being supremely perfect, and yet devoid of an absolute perfection, as I am free to imagine a horse with or without wings."

I look forward to hearing why my opponent objects.
Debate Round No. 1
Illegalcombatant

Con

I thank Pro for their reply.

Seeing that their argument is short and too the point, I will make my objection short and too the point.

Pro says.... "P1: It is impossible to be perfect and not exist"

P1 claims that existence is necessary of something that is perfect. Even if this is granted, this in no way proves that something perfect actually exists, only IF something is perfect then it exists, and that is a very big IF now isn't it ?

You have to provide more than an "IF" argument to prove that perfection/God exists.

I look forward too pros reply.
larztheloser

Pro

First, sorry for writing "objects" and not "objections." Second, I'd like to thank my opponent for his excellent quick rebuttal.

My opponent's two contentions may be summarized as follows:

1. Existence may not be necessary of something that is perfect
2. Only proves IF something is perfect then it exists

In order to prove that existence is a quality of perfection, I need to show that something is better when it exists. To do that, I claim that something that does not exist does not have any value, and therefore cannot be perfect. I use the term "value" here quite liberally, as anything other than existence that makes something better. In other words, I claim that God's ability to be perfect is predicated upon God's existence. Let me give a short demonstration. You say God is omnipotent, of infinite power. Yet what power has that which does not exist? It is therefore necessary, if one is omnipotent, to exist. The same could be said for all qualities of perfection. Worth is acquired through existence, therefore without existence there is no worth. Perfection and existence go hand in hand.

On to the second argument. It's not a big "if," to ask whether God is perfect or not. I said God was a perfect entity. Your attributes that you ascribe to God in round one are the results of perfection, for instance, omniscience and omnipotence. Therefore I would have supposed you would have conceded the fact that God is perfect. The only question is whether this perfection is real or imagined. However, as my argument shows, it is impossible to be perfect and not real. Therefore this notion of a perfect being must be true. There is no "if" about it.

That would be all for this round. I again look forward to reading what my opponent has to say on these matters.
Debate Round No. 2
Illegalcombatant

Con

I thank Pro for their response.

I am going to agree that IF something is perfect then it actually exists so I can draw attention to what I consider the real substance of the argument.

Pro says "The only question is whether this perfection is real or imagined. However, as my argument shows, it is impossible to be perfect and not real. Therefore this notion of a perfect being must be true. There is no "if" about it."

Pro kinda gives the game away, he talks about the "notion" of a perfect being must be true. But the question isn't whether the notion of perfection exists (it does) the question is does it ACTUALLY exist.

The notion of perfection existing necessarily no more proves that perfection actually exists than does the notion of a flying spaghetti monster prove that an actual flying spaghetti monster exists.

Now maybe Pro is arguing that perfection exists, and god is perfect, and thus God being perfect exists, consider this argument....

1) Perfection exists
2) God is perfect
3) Therefore God exists

But by claiming God is perfect, what you are really saying....

1) Perfection exists = God exists
2) God is perfect
3) Therefore God exists

Perfection exists is just another way of saying God exists.

In order to try and prove that God exists, your argument already assumes that God exists (albeit in disguise as perfection existing) this is question begging.

"Begging the question (or petitio principii, "assuming the initial point") is a type of logical fallacy in which the proposition to be proven is assumed implicitly or explicitly in the premise" [1]

I look forward to Pros response.

Sources

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

I look forward to pros response.
larztheloser

Pro

OK, so now my opponent's rebuttals are these:

1) My arguments only prove the notion of God
2) The same thing could be applied to the flying spaghetti monster
3) My argument presupposes God

First, let me say that if a notion about existence is true, then it follows that it actually exists, as otherwise it is a false notion. In fact, let us assume that God only is a notion. We conceive of God as perfect. Therefore our conception exists - not just as a notion (because otherwise it wouldn't be perfect) but in reality. We cannot say God does not exist if we say God is perfect, because that would be a logical contradiction. So my argument actually proves God, not just as a notion or conception, but as reality.

Second, I did not say that the notion of God proves God exists. I said that because God is perfect God must exist. However, this cannot be likewise applied to the flying spaghetti monster, which is not perfect. I know this because it is made of spaghetti and it's a monster - both limitations. Perfection and limitation are also, for obvious reasons, exclusive.

Third, the argument my opponent spent the most time on. My opponent argues that the presupposition that perfection exists is an implicit assumption of the conclusion that God exists. In fact, that isn't a presupposition of my case at all. Let me write out my case in logical steps like you did.

God has quality Perfect
Everything Perfect must Exist
Therefore God must Exist

I did not presuppose the first line of reasoning because you conceded it before the argument even began. You said in round one that God had various qualities which could only be true of a perfect being. Even if this were not true, line one of working does not say perfection exists. It says that God has a quality. The second line I did not presuppose because it can be logically demonstrated. I in fact did this in round two, and you said you agreed to that analysis at the start of this round. While you might say this line is equivalent to saying God exists, that is only true when read together with my other premise. If I was begging the question, then my conclusion would be stated in one of my premises. In fact, while it follows from my premises when put together, it is not in and of itself written in the premises. It does require a logical connection to be made, as is true of all logical arguments. That isn't begging the question at all.

I am still looking forward, this time to my opponent's last-minute rebuttals and summary statement.
Debate Round No. 3
Illegalcombatant

Con

I thank Pro for their reply.

Pro says "In fact, let us assume that God only is a notion. We conceive of God as perfect. Therefore our conception exists - not just as a notion (because otherwise it wouldn't be perfect) but in reality."

Congrats you have proved that the conception of God exists, just like the conception of the invisible pink unicorn exists.......your conception of God being perfect doesn't actually PROVE that God is perfect or even if perfection actually exists outside of your own mind/ideas/NOTIONS

Pro makes this argument here......

1) Let us assume that God only is a notion
2) We conceive of God as perfect.
3) Therefore our conception exists
4) Therefore our conception exists - not just as a notion (because otherwise it wouldn't be perfect) but in reality.


Step 4 is a non sequitur. The conception of God being perfect doesn't prove that your other conception of God only existing as a concept is false.

Its possible that you have a conception of God and or perfection existing, while at the same time that God does not actually exist. There is another option, its not that the concept of God only existing as a notion is wrong, it that the idea of perfection and or God actually existing is wrong.
Its only a contradiction because you have assumed that your conception of God being perfect and thus exists is true, thus the concept of God only existing as a concept and not actuality is false.
1) Let us assume that blah blah blah only is a notion
2) We conceive of blah blah blah as perfect.
3) Therefore our conception exists
4) Therefore our conception exists - not just as a notion (because otherwise it wouldn't be perfect) but in reality.

Pro then goes on to say "We cannot say God does not exist if we say God is perfect, because that would be a logical contradiction. So my argument actually proves God, not just as a notion or conception, but as reality.

Some one making contradictory claims doesn't prove that perfection or God exists. Maybe that person shouldn't be going around saying that God is perfect in the first place, that will clear up that contradiction right there.

Pro says "Second, I did not say that the notion of God proves God exists. I said that because God is perfect God must exist. "

Like I said, you have assumed that perfection actually exists, then equated God with that perfect existence, thus you have already assumed God/perfection exists in order to prove that God exists.

Pro says "I did not presuppose the first line of reasoning because you conceded it before the argument even began. You said in round one that God had various qualities which could only be true of a perfect being."

Pro equates a definition of God as a proof of that Gods existence. Did I mention that X by definition is perfect ? And of course if X is defined as perfect then this PROVES X exists !!!

Pro presents a new argument where they say........

"God has quality Perfect
Everything Perfect must Exist
Therefore God must Exist"

God has quality perfect ? cool prove it without assuming perfection and or God exists. And no just repeating the definition of that thing is not a proof of that things existence.

How do we know that God exists ?

1) God by definition exists (cause God is perfect, and you have to exist to be perfect)
2) Does God exist ?
3) See premise 1
4) Therefore God exists

How do we know God is perfect ?

1) God by definition is perfect
2) Something that is perfect has to exist
3) How do we know that God is perfect ?
4) See Premise 1
5) Therefore God exists

How do we know that perfection exists ?

1) Perfection by definition is a type of existence
2) Therefore perfection exists

Pros ontological argument has been shown to be fallacious, as such it should be rejected.

I remind Pro that no new arguments are to be presented in round 4 as per the rules.

I ask a vote for the Con.

I thank Pro for participating in this debate.
larztheloser

Pro

Excellent. Now to conclude the debate.

In his last round, pro concentrates on three key contentions, two of which are totally new (and as such, under his own rules, he forfeits, but I'm going to argue them anyway). Note also that my opponent has dropped about half of his arguments by now.

1) My arguments only prove the notion of God
2) What if we're wrong about God being perfect (NEW!)
3) Perfection might not exist (NEW!)

ARGUMENT 1


My opponent extends his case under point one in two ways - first by applying it to the Invisible Pink Unicorn, and then by saying "The conception of God being perfect doesn't prove that your other conception of God (only existing as a concept) is false." The Invisible Pink Unicorn is, like the flying spaghetti monster, not perfect, and therefore this argument cannot apply to it. He does a similar thing later with what he terms "blah blah blah." If blah blah blah is perfect, then it is the same as God.

Secondly, yes it does prove it! If the God I had a conception of was perfect, it exists beyond the conception. If it were not perfect, it would not be God. My argument therefore proves that the perfect God both my opponent and I concieve cannot be merely a mental phenomenon. If you're following my opponent's reasoning, there is a missing step 3.5 - if something exists, it is not merely a notion. I said this in round three. Therefore there is no non-sequiter.

ARGUMENT 2

Simply put, you told me to provide an ontological argument for why a being you describe as perfect exists. I have proven that the being you describe exists. It was never my burden of proof to prove perfection exists, because you said it does in round one. My burden of proof is to show why a perfect being exists, as you established in round one:

God = "Its existence is uncaused, morally good, all powerful, all knowing, personal, the prime/first mover" <- all attributes that could only be true of a PERFECT entity, as I have shown

"My opponent as the Pro will seek to show that their ontological argument for the existence of God [perfect entity] should be accepted."

ARGUMENT 3


Let us assume God is not perfect (as perfection does not exist), but omnipotent (which it has to be because you said God was). How is God then not perfect? Of course if one is omnipotent one has value (an argument I made last round), and since the God you conceive of has infinite value, it must have more value than your conception allows, meaning it must exist beyond your conception, as otherwise the value would be finite. It is impossible for your conception to be omnipotent but not perfect.

I would like readers to note that the previous two (new) arguments are blaming me for accepting his definitions. Yes, I am taking for granted that God is perfect, and using that to show God is real. The only reason why I'm doing that, however, is because your definition of God was equivalent to perfect, and you haven't engaged with that point.

SUMMARY


In this debate, my opponent has offered six distinct arguments (two from the last round). His burden of proof was to show that any one of these destroys my argument. Three of them he has dropped by the final round, so clearly they didn't destroy my argument. Two of them are new arguments in round four, and amount to nothing more than an attack on his own definitions. The remaining argument he has been reiterating through all three rounds of engagement, without really responding to my counter-arguments. I have shown that since we have a conception of a perfect entity, the entity we conceive of exists. Otherwise we would not have a conception of a perfect entity, for what is perfect must exist.

Since my opponent has failed in all these respects, please vote pro.
Debate Round No. 4
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by larztheloser 5 years ago
larztheloser
Well, OK, I'll send you a challenge even though you are the one "challenging" my case
Posted by Illegalcombatant 5 years ago
Illegalcombatant
I call you chicken sir........CLUCK CLUCK
Posted by larztheloser 5 years ago
larztheloser
There is no point in me challenging you, because I would just run the same arguments. If you have a new piece of rebuttal to offer, you should be challenging me on the topic "The Descartes Ontological is flawed".

Damn older people, always assuming that us young kids are rich enough to afford iPods.
Posted by Illegalcombatant 5 years ago
Illegalcombatant
If you still want to argue this larz, issue me a debate challenge and use the same argument of....

P1: It is impossible to be perfect and not exist
C: Therefore such a being must exist

So do ya feel lucky punk ? Will do ya ?........what its a dirty harry reference.......you don't know dirty harry ? ...........damm kids, with their Ipods and rap music.
Posted by larztheloser 5 years ago
larztheloser
"You based this on a definition of God"... no didn't, I based it on a premise. You accepted that, like, one comment ago! Stop contradicting yourself!

Again, you can't blame me for using your definition to reach my conclusion. If you wanted to argue against some alternative view of God, that did not include the element of perfection, perhaps you should have defined God.

Thanks for the day wish, it's night here so I'll save it up for tomorrow (-; - likewise to you!
Posted by Illegalcombatant 5 years ago
Illegalcombatant
We went over this in the debate. You assumed that something perfect actually exists. You based this on a definition of God, but definitions aren't proof of existence. You assumed perfection exists in order to prove that perfection (read God ) exists, so yes you jumped to the conclusion by definition.

Have a nice day.
Posted by larztheloser 5 years ago
larztheloser
Counter-arguments are allowed, but a counter-argument is a response to an argument I've made. In this debate, my ontological case does not count as one of my arguments, because it is the motion. My arguments for the motion are what you can counter-argue. I counter-argued the arguments you raised against the motion.

As to the premise, seeing as you argued against it and say you noticed it, I guess you can't say I'm jumping to the conclusion from the definition.
Posted by Illegalcombatant 5 years ago
Illegalcombatant
Counter arguments too previous arguments given were allowed. I think you are aware of this since you argued some counter arguments of your own......or should we just say your forfeited by your own standard of what counts as a new argument ?

You mean this premise larz "P1: It is impossible to be perfect and not exist"

You mean the very first thing I argued against ? No, I didn't notice this what so ever. I mean if I had I would of made some argument based on how this assumes perfection actually exists.
Posted by larztheloser 5 years ago
larztheloser
I sure wouldn't. New lines of attack (which you offered two of) were not allowed. I also did not jump to the conclusion based on a definition. If you check round one you'll note that there was a premise in my argument too.
Posted by Illegalcombatant 5 years ago
Illegalcombatant
"I would like readers to note that the previous two (new) arguments are blaming me for accepting his definitions."

I hope your not serious, I didn't blame you for accepting the definition, I blame you for equating a definition as proof of that thing that has being defined actually exists.

Round 4 is the last round, no new arguments are to be made in round 4. Only rebuttals, counter arguments of the previous arguments, and summaries.

You forgot to mention counter arguments to previous arguments are allowed. Thats ok, I am here to remind you, we wouldn't want the voter to get mis lead now would we ?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
IllegalcombatantlarztheloserTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Con you can not attack the definition of perfection as it is just that a definition. The only rebuttal is to attack existence as a emergent property.