The Instigator
Gooby
Pro (for)
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The Contender
Typhlochactas
Con (against)
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The modal ontological argument is not sound

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/12/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,189 times Debate No: 32412
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (2)
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Gooby

Pro

As my first debate, I would like to debate the argument which I have most interest in: The modal ontological argument. It is my position that the modal ontological argument is not sound.
My apologies if my English isn’t very good, it's not not my native language.

A few important definitions:
- A possible world: A world without any logical contradictions.
- God: A maximally great being. This means that it contains all great making properties to maximum value.
- A necessary being: A being which if it exists in one possible world, exists in every possible world.
- A sound argument: An argument in which all premises are true and the conclusion follows from the premises.

Rounds:
1) Acceptance, clarifying/explaining the argument and showing why it is sound
2) Rebuttals/arguments
3) Rebuttals/arguments
4) Rebuttals/conclusion

Rules:
1) No trolling, no semantics, ...
2) Burden of Proof is shared: Pro has to show that the modal ontological argument is not sound, while Con has to show that the modal ontological argument is sound.
3) No new arguments in the last round
4) No forfeits
5) This debate is not about the modal ontological argument being reasonably true, or reasonably false. It’s about it being actually true, or actually false.
6) No other arguments for the existence of God allowed. This debate focuses solely on the modal ontological argument as presented here:

P(1): It is possible that God (a maximally great being) exists.
P(2): If it is possible that God exists, then God exists in some possible worlds.
P(3): If God exists in some possible worlds, then God exists in all possible worlds.
P(4): If God exists in all possible worlds, then God exists in the actual world.
P(5): If God exists in the actual world, then God exists.
C(1): Therefore, God (a maximally great being) exists.

Good luck and have fun!
Typhlochactas

Con

Ave!

Pre-Debate Notes
The modal ontological argument is an interesting and peculiar argument for the existence of god. The complexity of the argument makes it harder to comprehend, and because of this, the MOA is dismissed by most people. Even I admit that the argument seems absurd at first glance. In fact, when I was an atheist, I considered it the most stupid argument for the existence of god. However, my study of the argument now leads me to the conclusion that it is logically valid and sound.

It's important to remember that the modal ontological argument is different from the ontological argument. The latter was created by Anselm of Cantebury in 1078. The former is a revision of this argument created by philosopher Alvin Plantinga. The logic of these two arguments is very different, so criticisms of Anselm's argument won't be relevant to my case. [1]

Finally, we should note that the modal ontological argument isn't an argument for any particular religion. It's not an argument for the existence of the Judeo-Christian god or the god of Islam. The conclusion of the argument simply states that a maximally great being exists. Pro should not object to this argument with statements like 'That doesn't prove Christianity!' or 'That can be used to prove any monotheistic god!'. The MOA affirms the existence of, at the very least, a deistic conception of god. It doesn't ever try to show that this god is the Christian or Islamic one. [2]

Vocabulary
Contingent being--a being that exists in some possible worlds
Impossible being--a being that exists in no possible worlds
Maximally Great Being--a being that has all great-making properties to their maximal extent.
Necessary being--a being that exists in all possible worlds
Possible world--any logically possible state of affairs

Abbreviations
MOA--Modal Ontological Argument
PW--Possible World
MGB--Maximally Great Being
NB--Necessary Being
IB--Impossible Being
CB--Contingent Being

Alvin Plantinga's Modal Ontological Argument
P1: It is possible that a maximally great being exists.
P2: If it is possible that a maximally great being exists, then a maximally great being exists in some possible world.
P3: If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world.
P4: If a maximally great being exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world.
P5: If a maximally great being exists in the actual world, then a maximally great being exists.
C: Therefore, a maximally great being exists.

P1
In order for a being to be logically impossible, it has to have two traits that contradict each other. An example of this would be a being that is maximally omnipotent and maximally impotent at the same time. This being is logically impossible, so it's placed in the impossible being category.

A maximally great being is not like that being, however. A maximally great being has no traits that make it an impossible being. The German philosopher Gottfried Leibniz argued that since we cannot analyze perfection, there is no way to prove that all perfections cannot exist in one being to their maximal extent [4]. Because of this, it is logically possible that a maximally great being exists. [5]

P2
This follows logically from P1.

P3
I have established that there are three types of beings. Impossible beings, contingent beings, and necessary beings. My reasoning for P1 shows that a MGB is logically possible, so it cannot be an impossible being. This leaves us with two options: the MGB is a contingent being or a necessary being.

A MGB has all great-making properties to their maximal extent. It's great to be a necessary being than a contingent being. It logically follows that a MGB would have to be a necessary being in order to be maximally great.

Both IB and CB have been eliminated as viable options. Therefore, the MGB must be a necessary being that exists in all possible worlds. Therefore, there is warrant for thinking that P3 is true.

P4
The actual world is a possible world. Otherwise, it wouldn't exist.

P5
Follows logically.

P6
Follows logically.

Conclusion
There is only way to disprove the MOA. Pro must show that a MGB has logically contradictory traits that make it an impossible being. This should be a tough task, considering the reasons I gave as to why a MGB is logically possible. So, let's wait to see what Pro will come up with.

Sources
[1] http://plato.stanford.edu...
[2] Simply read the conclusion of the argument.
[3] http://www.debate.org...
[4] http://plato.stanford.edu...
[5] http://plato.stanford.edu...
[6] http://en.wikipedia.org...

Vale!
Debate Round No. 1
Gooby

Pro

First of all, I want to thank my opponent for accepting this debate. I agree with him that modal ontological argument is most interesting indeed!

In this debate, I will present 3 objections to the modal ontological argument. Each of these objections, show that the modal ontological argument is not sound.

1. Counter-argument
First, I will give a counter-argument which shows that either premise 1 or premise 3 of the modal ontological argument is not true. The argument goes as follows:

P(1): A possible world is a world without any logical contradictions.
P(2): A world without God (a maximally great being) is a world without logical contradictions.
P(3): There is a possible world in which God does not exist.
P(4): If there is a possible world in which God does not exist, then God does not exist in every
possible world.
C(1): God does not exist in every possible world.
C(2): The modal ontological argument is not sound.

Justifications:
Premise 1: Definition of a possible world.


Premise 2: We can imagine a world where a maximally great being does not exist. This is similar to premise 1 of the modal ontological argument: “It is possible that God exists”. In this premise we simply say the opposite: “It is possible that God does not exist”. Both premises are equally likely to be true, since they are both assumptions. Or in other words: We have no reason to accept one over the other.

Premise 3: Follows from premise 2.

Premise 4: Follows from premise 3.

Conclusion 1: Follows from premise 4.

Conclusion 2: The ontological argument states that God exists in every possible world. If this counter-argument is sound however, then I have shown that there is at least one possible world in which God does not exist. Therefore, either this argument is not sound, or the ontological argument is not sound. I have provided sufficient justification that this argument is sound and therefore it follows that the ontological argument is not sound.

2. Parody arguments
If the logic of the modal ontological argument is valid, then this logic can be used to show that an infinite amount of things exist.

A few examples:

A maximally great demon [1]:
A maximally great demon is a being which contains all evil making properties to maximum value.
P(1): It is possible that a maximally great demon exists.
P(2): If it is possible that a maximally great demon exists, then a maximally great demon exists
in some possible worlds.
P(3): If a maximally great demon exists in some possible worlds, then a maximally great demon
exists in all possible worlds.
P(4): If a maximally great demon exists in all possible worlds, then a maximally great demon
exists in the actual world.
P(5): If a maximally great demon exists is the actual world, then a maximally great demon
exists.
C(1): A maximally great demon exists.

Justification:
Premise 1: We are equally justified to accept this premise as we are to accept premise 1 from the modal ontological argument.
Premise 2: Follows from P1.
Premise 3: Surely, a being which is evil in all worlds, is more evil than a being which is evil in only a couple possible worlds. Therefore, it follows from the definition of the maximally great demon, that it exists in all possible worlds.
Premise 4: Follows from P3.
Premise 5: Follows from P4.
Conclusion 1: Follows from P5.

Any abnormal toothpick:
I chose toothpicks as an example, but you can choose pretty much anything.

You can give the toothpick any properties you want it to have, as long as the definition is logically valid, and contains the following part: “if this toothpick exists in at least one possible world, then it exists in every possible world”.
For example, the metal toothpick: A toothpick with 5 blue dots, 1 red dot, which is made out of metal and if this toothpick exists in at least one possible world, then it exists in every possible world.


P(1): It is possible that the metal toothpick exists.
P(2): If it is possible that the metal toothpick exists, then it exists in some possible worlds.
P(3): If the metal toothpick exists in some possible worlds, then it exists in every possible world.
P(4): If the metal toothpick exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world.
P(5): If the metal toothpick exists in the actual world, then it exists.
C(1): The metal toothpick exists!

Justification:
Premise 1: The metal toothpick doesn't have anything contradictory.
Premise 2: Follows from P1
Premise 3: Definition
Premise 4: Follows from P3
Premise 5: Follows from P4
Conclusion 1: Follows from P5

Because of the infinite amount of available parodies, we can conclude that the logic used in the modal ontological argument, is not sound.

3. Premise 1
The modal ontological argument uses axiom S5 of modal logic. There is nothing wrong with S5, if you use it properly and stick with it once you are using it. The problem with the modal ontological argument however, is that it starts with an assumption. If you grant the premise that any necessary being is possibly true, then that is the same as saying that it is actually true. So, using an assumption under S5 and going with it, is absurd (take a look at the parody examples). [1][2][3]

This may be a bit confusing, so I will elaborate.

“It is possible that God exists”.
This premise seems completely reasonable..., and it is! We have to make a distinction though, between being reasonable and being true. In everyday conversations we can say: “Sure, as far as I know, God might possibly exist”. But actually using premise 1, as something which is true, in a deductive argument using S5 modal logic, is completely absurd! If you can’t prove the first premise to be true, then you can’t prove the conclusion to be true! It’s as simple as that. This is also clearly shown in the parody arguments, which all start from a reasonably true premise.
This is the same reason why the Kalām cosmological argument doesn't convince me. It starts with a premise which is reasonably true, but not proven to be true. Therefore, the conclusion can’t be proven to be true either.

Let us look at a quote from the creator of the modal ontological argument himself: “Our verdict on these reformulated versions of St. Anselm's argument must be as follows. They cannot, perhaps, be said to prove or establish their conclusion. But since it is rational to accept their central premise, they do show that it is rational to accept that conclusion” [4]

My opponent says the following: "The German philosopher Gottfried Leibniz argued that since we cannot analyze perfection, there is no way to prove that all perfections cannot exist in one being to their maximal extent. Because of this, it is logically possible that a maximally great being exists."
I'm afraid however that this is an argument from ignorance. I don't have to prove that it cannot exist, you have to prove that it can exist.
The German philosopher concludes that since we can't prove that it doesn't exist, it follows that it is logically possible that it does exist. This logic is completely absurd and is, like I said above, a complete argument from ignorance. [5]

Now, lets look at the definition of a sound argument again: An argument in which all premises are true and the conclusion follows from the premises.
As I have shown above, premise 1 is only reasonably true and not proven to be completely true.
Therefore, by the definition of a sound argument, the modal ontological argument is not sound.

Conclusion:
Each of these objections clearly show that the modal ontological argument is not sound.

Sources
[1] http://counterapologist.blogspot.be...
[2] http://www.patheos.com...
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org...(modal_logic)
[4] http://plato.stanford.edu...
[5] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[6] https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com...
Typhlochactas

Con

Ave!

Pro’s Counter Argument
I won’t contest P1 of the argument, because there’s nothing wrong with Pro’s definition of a possible world. I also won’t content P4, C1, and C2, because they follow logically from P2 and P3. So, I’m going to take apart those two premises to debunk the argument.

P2 argues that there is a possible world where a MGB doesn’t exist. To justify this, Pro states that we can imagine a possible world where god does not exist. This argument confuses Anselm’s ontological argument with Plantinga’s ontological argument. It’s not enough to state that you can think of a PW where a MGB doesn’t exist. You have to show that there is some logical state of affairs that a MGB could not exist in. We aren’t given any reason to think there is a possible world where a MGB does not exist.

Pro seems to agree that P2 is an unjustified assumption when he states ‘’Both premises are equally likely to be true, since they are both assumptions.’’

However, it’s not just an assumption to say that a MGB exists in some possible world. There are very good reasons for thinking that is true, and I offered one reason in my last round. Gottfried Leibniz argued that because we can not analyze perfection, there is no way for us to argue that all perfections cannot exist in a being to their maximal extent. This allows a MGB to exist in at least one possible world.

Pro argued that Leibniz is making an argument from ignorance. An argument from ignorance is when you claim that because there is no evidence to contradict a premise, the premise must be true. However, that’s not what Leibniz was arguing. Leibniz argued that we have no epistemological justification for saying that a MGB cannot exist. Because of that, it’s more plausible for a MGB to be a possible rather than an impossible being. This is an argument that works against anybody who brings up two traits that a MGB could not have at once. Leibniz simply asks ‘’What justification do you have to say that these two things cannot exist in one being at once?’’. The answer is that there is no justification, because we do not understand perfection.

If Leibniz had argued ‘’It is impossible to show that a MGB cannot exist, therefore it does exist’’, then his argument would have been fallacious. Leibniz doesn’t make that argument. He makes the argument that because you can not demonstrate the impossibility of a MGB, it is at least possible that it exists. Please remember that important distinction. It’s not an argument for the existence of a MGB, it’s an argument for the possibility of a MGB.

Pro’s case seems to be a lot weaker now. I have showed that it is possible for a MGB to exist. Pro has yet to show that there is a possible world where a MGB doesn’t exist. It’s more plausible, therefore, that a MGB exists in some possible world. P2 is negated.

Maximally Great Physical Beings
Pro gives two parody arguments, one with demons, the other with a metal toothpick. They both follow the same logic, so I won’t waste space addressing both of them in different sections.

Remember, there are three categories of being. A contingent being that exists in some possible worlds, a necessary being that exists in all possible worlds, and an impossible being that exists in no possible worlds. A maximally great being has to be a necessary being in order to be maximally great. So, if it can be demonstrated that an angel and a demon must be contingent, it follows that they are not maximally great.

A metal toothpick is contingent, so it cannot be maximally great. Pro’s definition of the metal toothpick was a toothpick made out of metal. Metal doesn’t in all possible worlds. There is a possible world where metal doesn’t exist. The metal toothpick cannot exist in that possible world, because it’s made of metal, and metal doesn’t exist. It would be logically impossible for a metal toothpick to exist in a possible world that contains no metal. Therefore, there is a possible world where the existence of a metal toothpick is not logically possible. As a metal toothpick cannot exist in all possible worlds, it is contingent, or existing in some possible worlds but not all. It then logically follows that a metal toothpick cannot be maximally great.

A maximally great being must also have all great-making properties to their maximal extent. Great-making properties are things like goodness and perfection. A maximally evil demon would be the complete opposite. It would be maximally without good. It logically follows that the demon does not have all great making properties to their maximal extent. Therefore, it cannot be maximally great.

The parody arguments that Pro gives are based on a misunderstanding of what it means to be maximally great. I’ve demonstrated that the ontological argument cannot be used to show that a metal toothpick and demons also exist. The parody is a failure.

P1
Pro criticizes P1 of the argument and then refers us to the parodies he gave earlier. I’ve already shown why these parodies don’t mirror the logic of the ontological argument, so I won’t waste words addressing them again.

I agree with Pro that if you cannot demonstrate P1 to be true, you cannot demonstrate the conclusion to be true. That’s why I gave an argument for accepting P1 to be true. Pro responded to this by criticizing Leibinz, which I answered above.

Vale!
Debate Round No. 2
Gooby

Pro

Ahhhh, the debate is really heating up now... sweet!

Counter-argument rebuttal

Con seems to be disagreeing with P2 and P3. P2 and P3 state: “A world without God (a maximally great being) is a world without logical contradictions.” and “There is a possible world in which God does not exist.”

Cons says the following about them: “You have to show that there is some logical state of affairs that a MGB could not exist in.” I think con is confused about the definition of possible here. Anything is possible as long as it does not have any logical contradictions. A logical contradiction is the conjunction of a statement S and it's denial not-S. [1] A logical contradiction is when you say something like “a round square”. There not being a maximally great being, is not a logical contradiction. There could be a possible world where 1 being is omnipotent, while another is perfectly moral. So in that possible world, no maximally great being could exist, because 2 of the properties required, are in 2 different beings.

Parody arguments rebuttal
Metal toothpick
Con gave an argument for why my metal toothpick cannot exist in all possible worlds. He says: “Metal doesn’t exist in all possible worlds. There is a possible world where metal doesn’t exist. The metal toothpick cannot exist in that possible world, because it’s made of metal, and metal doesn’t exist. It would be logically impossible for a metal toothpick to exist in a possible world that contains no metal. Therefore, there is a possible world where the existence of a metal toothpick is not logically possible.”

Yep, and that is why it’s a parody argument! There is a possible world where metal does not exist, so the metal toothpick can’t exist in every possible world.

Now if you read my counter-argument from above again, you can see that it is the same objection, as this objection here. I also object to the premise that a MGB exists in every possible world by showing that there are possible worlds where it does not exist. And that is why these parody arguments are possible: they abuse the false logic used in the modal ontological argument. The only reason why con felt comfortable debunking this argument is because the argument used a thing (a toothpick) instead of a being (God for example). Because a thing is being used, the false logic was easy to spot.

Now let me give another parody which uses a being instead of a thing.
The “Lillian Cane Wraig”
= an invisible ghost, which if it exists in one possible world, exists in all possible worlds.

P(1): It is possible that Lillian Cane Wraig exists.
P(2): If it is possible that Lillian Cane Wraig exists, then Lillian Cane Wraig exists in some possible worlds.
P(3): If Lillian Cane Wraig exists in some possible worlds, then Lillian Cane Wraig exists in all possible worlds.
P(4): If Lillian Cane Wraig exists in all possible worlds, then Lillian Cane Wraig exists in the actual world.
P(5): If Lillian Cane Wraig exists in the actual world, then Lillian Cane Wraig exists.
C(1): Therefore, Lillian Cane Wraig exists.

Justification:
P(1): A reasonable assumption, like premise 1 from the MOA (I debunk the quote from Leibz further in my post, so they are, again, both assumptions).
P(3): Definition of Lillian Cane Wraig.

Great Demon
Con says: “A maximally great being must also have all great-making properties to their maximal extent. Great-making properties are things like goodness and perfection. A maximally evil demon would be the complete opposite. It would be maximally without good. It logically follows that the demon does not have all great making properties to their maximal extent. Therefore, it cannot be maximally great. The parody arguments that Pro gives are based on a misunderstanding of what it means to be maximally great. I’ve demonstrated that the ontological argument cannot be used to show that a metal toothpick and demons also exist. The parody is a failure.”
Yes, I agree with Con that a maximally great demon is not maximally great, that’s not what I was arguing (the name “maximally great demon” is just a name, not implying that it is a MGB). Con seems to think that the argument can only work for a maximally great being. This is not true actually. The only property a being has to have for the argument to work, is that it needs to be necessary(= if it exists in one world, then it exists in all possible worlds).

So, is a maximally great demon (a demon which contains all evil making properties to maximum value) a necessary being? Yes, it is! I explained why that is the case in my first post, so I will just quote it: “Surely, a being which is evil in all worlds, is more evil than a being which is evil in only a couple possible worlds. Therefore, it follows from the definition of the maximally great demon, that it exists in all possible worlds.”

While I’m at it, I will also present an argument for premise 1 of my maximally great demon parody.
The premise: It is possible that a maximally great demon exists.
Justification: Because we can not analyze maximal evilness, there is no way for us to argue that all evilness cannot exist in a being to their maximal extent. This allows a MGD(maximally great demon) to exist in at least one possible world.

Premise 1 rebuttal
The defense of Con is a quote from Gottfried Leibniz, which he formulates like this: “Because we can not analyze perfection, there is no way for us to argue that all perfections cannot exist in a being to their maximal extent. This allows a MGB to exist in at least one possible world.”

I argued that this is an argument from ignorance, which Con disputed. But lets look at it again, an argument from ignorance is when you claim that because there is no evidence to contradict a premise, the premise must be true.

So what is the premise here? The premise is: “It is possible that a MGB exists.”

What is the argument given? We can’t analyze perfection, therefore there is no way for us to argue that a MGB is an impossibility, therefore a MGB is possible. The argument says that since we can’t proof that a MGB is impossible, that it therefore follows that it is possible. This is the definition of an argument from ignorance. You can’t give a better example for an argument from ignorance than this one!

I also have another objection to the argument. “Because we can not analyze perfection, there is no way for us to argue that all perfections cannot exist in a being to their maximal extent. This allows a MGB to exist in at least one possible world.” Con states that we can’t analyze perfection. He has failed to give any justification for this.

I, myself, believe that we can find and analyze perfection. We can look at a chess position and find and analyze the perfect move. So when something has certain rules, like a chess game, it is possible to find and analyze the perfect move.
Our universe is governed by rules too. We call them the laws of nature. So why should it not be possible for us to find and analyze perfection then? I have no idea..

Now that I debunked Con’s argument, we are left with no justification for the first premise of the MOA.

Conclusion:
Counter-argument: I debunked Con’s criticism and also gave an argument which justifies my second premise. Thus, according to the conclusion of my argument which follows from my premises, the MOA is not sound. My opponent has to debunk my argument for premise 2 and 3, if he wants to show that this counter-argument is not sound (since he agreed with all other premises).

Parodies
: I dropped the toothpick parody, since the mistake was easily spotted.

I debunked the criticism that was given to the great demon parody and I also added another parody argument. Due to the many possible parody arguments, it follows that the MOA is not sound.

Premise 1
: I debunked con’s argument for why a MGB possibly exists. So, we are left with no reason to think that premise 1 is true. Therefore, the MOA is not sound.





[1]: http://www.csus.edu...

Typhlochactas

Con

Ave!

Counter-Argument Rebuttal

Premise three states that ‘’There is a possible world in which God does not exist.’’ In other words, ‘’There is a possible where world where a maximally great being does not exist’’. The logical conclusion is that a maximally great being doesn’t exist, because it would have to exist in all possible worlds in order to exist.

But look at the conclusion of the argument! ‘’God does not exist in every possible world.’’ The conclusion of Pro’s argument is contained in the premises of the argument. Premise 3 and the conclusion are the same exact statements. Therefore, Pro’s argument only begs the question, because it assumes the very same thing it is trying to prove. [1]

The same problem exists with premise two as well. It states ‘’P(2): A world without God (a maximally great being) is a world without logical contradictions.’’ This is the same thing as saying ‘’There is a possible world where god does not exist’’. So, it has the same problem that I mentioned above.

Pro uses this fallacious reasoning to justify the premises of his argument as well. In order to show that there is a possible world where a MGB does not exist, he says ‘’We can imagine a world where a maximally great being does not exist.’’ So, Pro’s argument is that a MGB does not exist in some possible world because a MGB does not exist in some possible world ?!

Thankfully, Pro starts to give us reasons for thinking that there is a possible world where a MGB doesn’t exist, instead of circular arguments. Pro says:

‘’There could be a possible world where 1 being is omnipotent, while another is perfectly moral. So in that possible world, no maximally great being could exist, because 2 of the properties required, are in 2 different beings. ‘’

The problem with this argument is that there is no reason to think that a being can’t posses omnipotence and maximal moral good at the same the time. You could have a being that is omnipotent, and a being that is perfectly moral, and they would both be two separate entities. However, it doesn’t logically follow that there does not exist a third entity which has all of those traits in the same being.

Metal Toothpick Parody
Pro admits at the end of his round that this was a failed parody, and dropped the argument.

Lillian Lane Craig Parody
I can easily use this parody to show the existence of a maximally great being. If Lillian Lane Craig’s existence in some possible world requires him to exist in all possible worlds (P3), then Lillian Lane Craig is the maximally great being! It would mean that Lillian Lane Craig is an objective feature of all reality, which is exactly the type of being that the MOA aims to prove.

Think about the traits that Lillian Lane Craig would have. Lillian Lane Craig would exist as an objective feature of all reality, per premise three. This means that Lillian Lane Craig is a necessary being that exists because of its own nature, and was not caused.

Lillian Lane Craig isn’t a physical being either. Physical beings are contingent, and LLC is a necessary being. Pro called LLC a ghost, which I interpret as saying that the being isn’t physical.

In conclusion, LLC is an objective feature of all reality, immaterial, causeless, and exists because of its own nature.

What does the MOA try to prove? A being that is an objective feature of all reality, immaterial, causeless, and exists because of its own nature.

I think the audience can piece this together.

Maximally Great Demon
Pro claims that the demon doesn’t have to be maximally great. I think that this is overtly false. In order to exist in all possible worlds, the demon would have to be maximally great. [2] By definition, there is no way for the demon to exist in all possible worlds without being maximally great.

I think the same logic I used on the Lillian Lane Craig parody can be exercised here as well.

Leibniz’s Argument
Pro continues to misunderstand the purpose of Leibniz’s argument. Leibniz didn’t argue that because you can’t show the impossibility of a MGB, then it must be possible for a MGB to exist. Leibniz argued that, for this reason, it is more plausible for a MGB to be possible than not possible. This means that we should consider it more likely for a MGB to be possible than impossible, because the latter of the two can never be justified. It’s a good reason to accept the positive MOA (it is possible that a MGB exists) over the negative MOA (it is not possible that a MGB exists).

Pro asks why we can’t analyze perfection. I think that this should be clear. We are imperfect human beings. Epistemologically, we have no way of saying that we understand what perfection would be.


Pro also gives reasons for why we can analyze perfection. Let’s look at his reasoning.

‘’We can look at a chess position and find and analyze the perfect move. So when something has certain rules, like a chess game, it is possible to find and analyze the perfect move.’’

Pro makes the fallacy of equivocation. The fallacy of equivocation is ‘’the misleading use of a term with more than one meaning or sense (by glossing over which meaning is intended at a particular time’’. The meaning of the word ‘perfection’ in Leibniz’s argument is having all great-making properties to their maximal extent. The meaning of the word ‘perfection’ in Pro’s example is a chess move that is most conducive to victory. These are two different uses of the word perfection that have very different meanings. Equivocating the two is fallacious.

I could imagine Pro and I have the following conversation.

Pro: Women shouldn’t worry about man-eating sharks.
Con: Why?
Pro: Because they only eat men. [3]

Vale!

Sources

[1] http://www.nizkor.org...
[2] http://www9.georgetown.edu...
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org...




Debate Round No. 3
Gooby

Pro

Gooby forfeited this round.
Typhlochactas

Con

End debate.
Debate Round No. 4
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Gooby 3 years ago
Gooby
Dang, had some real life issues and had no time :( Oh well.
Posted by Smithereens 3 years ago
Smithereens
http://www.debate.org...
http://www.debate.org...
you are new to the site, have some resources to work with.
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