The Instigator
socialpinko
Pro (for)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
larztheloser
Con (against)
Winning
17 Points

The modal ontological argument is sound

Do you like this debate?NoYes+4
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
larztheloser
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/5/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,261 times Debate No: 28927
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (4)
Votes (4)

 

socialpinko

Pro

This is for R1 of SPinko's ELO Tournament. The resolution will cover the soundness of the modal ontological argument. Pro will defend while Con will seek to refute.

Modal ontological argument-

(P1) It is possible that God exists.
(P2) God is not a contingent being, i.e., either it is not possible that God exists, or it is necessary that God exists.
(C1) Hence, it is necessary that God exists.
(C2) Hence, God exists.


God for all intensive purposes is defined as a being which is necessarily existent i.e., exists in all possible worlds. While other characteristics are generally ascribed to God (transcendentalism, moral excellence, omnipotence, etc.), this debate will only deal with necessary existence since all other characteristics are irrelevant to this specific proof.

Sound- An argument is sound if it is both valid and all of its premises are true. An argument is valid if its premises logically necessitate its conclusion

===Rules===

1. Drops will count as concessions.
2. Semantic or abusive arguments will not be counted.
3. New arguments brought in the last round will not be counted.
4. R1 is for acceptance/clarification. Argumentation begins in R2.
5. Primary BoP to affirm is on Pro.
larztheloser

Con

I accept.

I'd like to thank my opponent for giving up his time to both host and compete in this ELO tournament. It's a great honor to face him in the first round of the tournament. It'll also be interesting to do a philosophical topic again - I'm a bit of a fan of ontological arguments as some of my previous debates will demonstrate. My opponent has stated the argument quite well, and since they don't clash with my argument I'm going to agree with them all. The rules also all sound reasonable. With that in mind, I wish my opponent very good luck and look forward to hearing why the argument is sound.
Debate Round No. 1
socialpinko

Pro

(P1) It is possible that God exists.

God qua a necessarily existent being doesn't contain any apparent contradictions. Therefore, under modal logical, such a being exists in some possible world. Possible worlds are used to express modal claims[1] like contingency, possibility, impossibility, and necessity. Objects (or worlds) that are possible are said to exist in a possible world.


(P2) God is not a contingent being.

This is true analytically from the definition of God.


(C1) Hence, it is necessary that God exists.

If God can exist in some possible world than he exist in all worlds. A being which exists necessarily can't be said to exist in only some worlds since it entails contradiction; a being can't exist contingently and necessarily at the same time.


(C2) Hence, God exists.

The argument itself appears intuitively valid. Therefore, if the premises (and C1) are true, then the conclusion follows necessarily.


==I apologize to Con for not being able to post a more comprehensive argument. The premises are themselves mostly self-explanatory and the soundness of the arguments is intuitive. I'll be able to post more specific analysis in conjunction with Con's counter.==


===Sources===


[1] http://plato.stanford.edu... (Sec. 2)
larztheloser

Con

It isn't enough, in this debate, to merely proclaim an argument is intuitive and therefore must be correct. My intuition happens to say that there is no God, but that has no more bearing on reality than the delusions of an individual with multiple personality disorder. As the burden of proof is on my opponent, and his personal intuition is not a proof, it follows that my opponent has already failed to meet his burden.

Let me make a very similar argument that is intuitively false. It is possible that I have one million rubies. I have exploited every available opportunity to become a ruby millionaire (not that I've had many in my life to date). Therefore, either it is not possible for me to be a ruby millionaire, or it is necessary that I am a ruby millionaire. Therefore, it is necessary that I am a ruby millionaire. And therefore, given my opponent's argument - the one million rubies that I must so obviously possess are equivalent to God.

My aim in this debate will be to show why this logic must fail. Here's at least 6 distinct logical errors I can immediately see committed by the argument.

1. The problem of definition

The modal ontological case begins with the assertion that God is defined as a being that is a necessarily existent being. The very thing that the argument seeks to prove - that God must exist - is therefore implicit in the very premise that God is a being that must necessarily exist. Framing it as a "necessarily existent being that might not exist" is self-contradictory and thus the proof is in fact tautological if this definition is accepted.

2. The argument is self-refuting

The only way in modal logic for God to be necessary is for it to be not possible that God does not exist (take note of the double negative there). The conclusion therefore rejects the first premise of the argument. The problem with that is that if the first premise is rejected, then the alternative of the second premise that it excludes must logically be accepted as possible (as my opponent put it, that "it is not possible that God exists"). If it is possible that God's existence is impossible, then the conclusion cannot be true. Therefore, the conclusion is self-refuting.

3. Problem of certainty

"Possibility" represents an unknown state, while "necessity" represents a known state (or at least that's how it is in modal logic). The problem with the conclusion is that it rejects that element of the second premise that claims it is not possible for God to exist, merely because in the first premise we claimed we did not know whether God exists or not - failing to discriminate between two distinct types of possibility. Claiming the possibility of the existence of God does not logically deny the impossibility of the existence of God.

4. Non sequiter

Specifically, that a necessary being cannot be contingent. No element of necessity in modal logic necessitates non-contingency. For example, consider the phrase "It is necessary that you brush your teeth provided that you do not forget". There is a possibility that you will brush your teeth (just as there is a possibility that God exists), the necessity of brushing your teeth (just as God has been defined as having a necessity of existence for some reason), and a perfectly valid contingency. My opponent's logic as it stands cannot defeat the proposition, for instance, that "God exists, but only if it's Tuesday".

5. The argument is circular

The claim that God is [insert any given attribute here] - as in God is not contingent or God is necessarily existent - requires first that God "is" at all. However, at this point the argument has not proven that God "is" at all yet, but rather only that God "might be". Thus the premises only make sense if you have already accepted the conclusion - but the whole point of the argument is for the premises to prove the conclusion, not the conclusion to prove the premises. It can therefore be only rationally concluded that the premises contain no useful evidence that is not in the conclusion, and therefore must be rejected.

6. God lies outside of logic

If we start from the premise that we don't know whether God exists or not, how can we know that any given proof of existence actually works for God, such that it allows us to actually reach our conclusion "God exists"? The standard answer here would be that the proof is logical according to the principles of modal logic. But how do we know that there is not an exception in those principles when we deal with God specifically? The standard answer would again be that the principles can be induced from reality. However, there are no necessarily existent beings that are a part of our reality (no, I'm not a ruby millionaire for those wondering). Therefore, the existence of God cannot be logically deduced.

... but even if all of the above is true, what kind of a God is that? Take the concept of "time", for example. It may well be that time must exist in every possible world, and that therefore time is not contingent. It would be deceptive, however, to fail to distinguish "time" from "God", if for no other reason that I do not believe anyone reading this debate actually would believe me if I claimed that a mere dimension is God. The word "God" denotes a far more specific concept that the argument generalizes to the extent that almost anything, from a horde of millions of rubies to a vaguely-understood metaphysical phenomenon, can be proven with the formula my opponent provided.

That's not intuitive. That's not logical.

The argument is negated.
Debate Round No. 2
socialpinko

Pro

socialpinko forfeited this round.
larztheloser

Con

My opponent has forfeited. Since he has therefore dropped every single one of my arguments from last round, by his rule, he has also conceded them. Pro has failed to adequately defend the paradox, and has made zero attempt to refute any of the six clear logical errors it commits. By his definition of "sound" therefore, the argument does not hold and therefore Pro cannot meet their burden.

I hate winning on technicalities, though, so I invite my opponent to actually post something (preferably a counter-argument) in the final round.
Debate Round No. 3
socialpinko

Pro

I've been defeated by mine own sword unfortunately. Yes, according to the rules I used to frame this debate, drops count as concessions. Therefore by my forfeit I have effectively conceded this debate. Vote Con. And good luck to Larz in the next round.
larztheloser

Con

I'd like to thank my opponent for this debate, for setting an interesting topic, and for graciously conceding. This has been an interesting challenge and I hope to face him again in the future.
Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by larztheloser 1 year ago
larztheloser
Sounds good.
Posted by socialpinko 1 year ago
socialpinko
"5. Primary BoP to affirm is on Pro."

How's that?
Posted by socialpinko 1 year ago
socialpinko
Tbh I C/P'd from my lasy debate. I'll change it.
Posted by larztheloser 1 year ago
larztheloser
"BoP is shared between Pro and Con"

I still maintain this is technically impossible. Please explain to me what exactly you mean by this.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by 1Devilsadvocate 1 year ago
1Devilsadvocate
socialpinkolarztheloserTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:23 
Reasons for voting decision: F.F.
Vote Placed by Zaradi 1 year ago
Zaradi
socialpinkolarztheloserTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Lolfail
Vote Placed by TUF 1 year ago
TUF
socialpinkolarztheloserTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:16 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro admits defeat, to con honorably.
Vote Placed by thett3 1 year ago
thett3
socialpinkolarztheloserTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: " Therefore by my forfeit I have effectively conceded this debate. Vote Con." Well, thats that