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The Ontological Argument is Circular

F-16_Fighting_Falcon
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10/28/2011 2:02:35 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
The Ontological Argument seems pretty popular at DDO. I want to take a shot at refuting it, and would love some feedback from the other members. I don't know if my refutation is accurate or not but I want to see what you guys think of it.

The Ontological Argument defines god as a being that must necessarily exist.

By necessary, it means that if it exists in one possible world, it exists in all possible worlds.

It then proceeds to prove that a necessary being exists in all possible worlds.

This basically is the same thing going around in a circular fashion. So the only thing the ontological argument proves is that if there is a being that if it exists in one possible world, then it exists in all possible worlds, and if such a being exists, then it exists. It is simply re-iterating itself using different words. What has really proven?
Kinesis
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10/28/2011 2:24:29 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
I think you're confusing validity with circularity. It's a simple fact that the premises of an argument are logically equivalent to its conclusion. What makes an argument circular is that the only reason to accept the premises is that you already agree that the conclusion is true. If the premises are agreed upon, the conclusion follows.

I think circular arguments are underestimated in any case. There is not a more obviously sound argument than "Bananas are tasty, therefore bananas are tasty".
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
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10/28/2011 3:37:55 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
But it is in the definition where the problem lies. If you simply define god as something that exists in all possible worlds, then of course you would get the result that god exists in all possible worlds.
popculturepooka
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10/28/2011 4:20:15 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 10/28/2011 3:37:55 PM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
But it is in the definition where the problem lies. If you simply define god as something that exists in all possible worlds, then of course you would get the result that god exists in all possible worlds.

That doesn't follow. Do you grant God possibly exists?
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F-16_Fighting_Falcon
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10/28/2011 4:24:31 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 10/28/2011 4:20:15 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
At 10/28/2011 3:37:55 PM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
But it is in the definition where the problem lies. If you simply define god as something that exists in all possible worlds, then of course you would get the result that god exists in all possible worlds.

That doesn't follow. Do you grant God possibly exists?

Well, depends on how you define god. How would you define god?
RFH
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10/30/2011 12:52:38 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 10/28/2011 2:02:35 PM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
The Ontological Argument defines god as a being that must necessarily exist.

By necessary, it means that if it exists in one possible world, it exists in all possible worlds.

"Alvin Plantinga famously defends a version of the ontological argument that makes use of the notion of possible worlds[.]"
Plantinga's ontological argument at http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com....

Anselm's version of the argument goes something like this:
"1. God is that than which nothing greater can be conceived.
2. What cannot be thought not to exist is greater than that which can be thought not to exist.
3. So if that than which no greater can be conceived could be thought not to exist, then there could conceivably be something greater still.
4. But it is absurd to say that that there could conceivably be something greater than that than which no greater can be conceived.
5. So that than which no greater can be conceived cannot be thought not to exist.
6. So God cannot be thought not to exist.
7. So God exists.

You cannot properly understand this argument unless you read it in the context of the Platonic-Augustinian tradition that forms its background." Anselm's ontological argument at http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com.... (Emphasis added.)

Both arguments are more compelling than they might appear at first glance.
izbo10
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10/31/2011 3:04:52 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 10/30/2011 12:52:38 PM, RFH wrote:
At 10/28/2011 2:02:35 PM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
The Ontological Argument defines god as a being that must necessarily exist.

By necessary, it means that if it exists in one possible world, it exists in all possible worlds.

"Alvin Plantinga famously defends a version of the ontological argument that makes use of the notion of possible worlds[.]"
Plantinga's ontological argument at http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com....

Anselm's version of the argument goes something like this:
"1. God is that than which nothing greater can be conceived.
2. What cannot be thought not to exist is greater than that which can be thought not to exist.
3. So if that than which no greater can be conceived could be thought not to exist, then there could conceivably be something greater still.
4. But it is absurd to say that that there could conceivably be something greater than that than which no greater can be conceived.
5. So that than which no greater can be conceived cannot be thought not to exist.
6. So God cannot be thought not to exist.
7. So God exists.

You cannot properly understand this argument unless you read it in the context of the Platonic-Augustinian tradition that forms its background." Anselm's ontological argument at http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com.... (Emphasis added.)

Both arguments are more compelling than they might appear at first glance.

As I reference in my debate and in my thread, this is easily defeated using Plantingas own defined term No Maximality- a state of being in which no maximally great being exists.

If a maximally great being must exist in all possible universes then there are only two possible sets of universes:M= maxmally great being NM= No maximality.

(M,M,M,M...)
(NM,NM,NM....)

Therefore if it is possible that M exists ,it is impossible for a NM to exist.

though, if it is possible for a NM to exist it is impossible for M to exist.

Which is possible becomes the question and we are at best left at 50/50.
DDO's marketing strategy has certainly paid off just not sure I agree with the target market: http://tinypic.com...
It's amazing to me that you still have yet to grasp the difference between believing something, not believing something, and having no belief at all -JCMT
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RFH
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10/31/2011 7:00:38 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 10/31/2011 3:04:52 PM, izbo10 wrote:
At 10/30/2011 12:52:38 PM, RFH wrote:
At 10/28/2011 2:02:35 PM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
The Ontological Argument defines god as a being that must necessarily exist.

By necessary, it means that if it exists in one possible world, it exists in all possible worlds.

"Alvin Plantinga famously defends a version of the ontological argument that makes use of the notion of possible worlds[.]"
Plantinga's ontological argument at http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com....

Anselm's version of the argument goes something like this:
"1. God is that than which nothing greater can be conceived.
2. What cannot be thought not to exist is greater than that which can be thought not to exist.
3. So if that than which no greater can be conceived could be thought not to exist, then there could conceivably be something greater still.
4. But it is absurd to say that that there could conceivably be something greater than that than which no greater can be conceived.
5. So that than which no greater can be conceived cannot be thought not to exist.
6. So God cannot be thought not to exist.
7. So God exists.

You cannot properly understand this argument unless you read it in the context of the Platonic-Augustinian tradition that forms its background." Anselm's ontological argument at http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com.... (Emphasis added.)

Both arguments are more compelling than they might appear at first glance.

As I reference in my debate and in my thread, this is easily defeated using Plantingas own defined term No Maximality- a state of being in which no maximally great being exists.


If a maximally great being must exist in all possible universes then there are only two possible sets of universes:M= maxmally great being NM= No maximality.

(M,M,M,M...)
(NM,NM,NM....)


Therefore if it is possible that M exists ,it is impossible for a NM to exist.

though, if it is possible for a NM to exist it is impossible for M to exist.

Which is possible becomes the question and we are at best left at 50/50.

Yes, Plantinga's argument was only to show that belief in a god wasn't irrational.

But Anselm's ontological argument is a different story. Neither of these are great arguments for theism, of course. For that we would look to the Five Ways of Aquinas.
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
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10/31/2011 7:07:36 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 10/31/2011 3:04:52 PM, izbo10 wrote:

As I reference in my debate and in my thread, this is easily defeated using Plantingas own defined term No Maximality- a state of being in which no maximally great being exists.


If a maximally great being must exist in all possible universes then there are only two possible sets of universes:M= maxmally great being NM= No maximality.

(M,M,M,M...)
(NM,NM,NM....)


Therefore if it is possible that M exists ,it is impossible for a NM to exist.

though, if it is possible for a NM to exist it is impossible for M to exist.

Which is possible becomes the question and we are at best left at 50/50.

That is definitely a valid refutation. What do you think of mine? (Saying that it is circular). I believe there are multiple ways to refute it.
JustCallMeTarzan
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10/31/2011 7:53:38 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
The ontological argument only holds water if you accept the first premise - that god is properly defined. There's no real reason to suppose that god is a maximally great being - just that he would appear to be greater than us mere humans. And why suppose he is omnibenevolent?

Second, regardless of how many Christians put forward the ontological argument, they cannot escape the fact that the OA cannot possibly refer to the judeo-christian concept of "god' unless they are somehow willing to assert that they can read the Old Testament, yet not conceive of a greater being than that god.

Third, there's no real reason to suppose that possible existence in every possible world entails necessary existence in every possible world. The best one could do is say that it's almost a certainty from a statistical standpoint that a maximally great being exists in at least one world - but even then, to assert necessity is to beg the question.

Fourth, there's no real reason to suppose that maximal greatness entails necessary existence. Even if there WERE, this would beg the question. It's possible that there simply are no maximally great beings. Existence cannot legitimately be transformed into a predicate, and then used to prove existence... The FSM has the maximally great property of existing, therefore it exists. Whoop-de-doo.

Fifth, all the other problems aside, there is absolutely no reason to suppose that even if the OA shows that there is a god, that it is any specific god.

And last but not least, the idea of the OA ignores the possibility that the maximally great concept of god may be logically (or otherwise) contradictory - e.g. is god omnipotent, but unable to act in an immoral way? Or is god omniscient with respect to future events?

Expounding on the last objection above... Let's suppose that God IS in fact omniscient with respect to future events. That means that he knows your actions before you make them, and thus there is no real free will - there is only agency free will (which, as we all know, is just a compatibalist cop-out). But it would seem then that if God is the creator, which he would have to be in order to be maximally great, then I can conceive of a being that is greater - namely one that let us have free will, but is not omniscient with respect to future events. Also, not giving us free will may run afoul of the maximal benevolence standard.

So let's suppose it's not logically possible to be omniscient with respect to future events, and we do in fact have free will. But free will leads to atrocities being committed. And I can envision a greater being that gave us free will, but also gave us the natural inclination to never do evil. If this is not free will, then you must by analogy acknowledge that God is not omnipotent if he is also omnibenevolent.

Lots of thorny problems...
izbo10
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10/31/2011 8:19:20 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 10/31/2011 7:53:38 PM, JustCallMeTarzan wrote:
The ontological argument only holds water if you accept the first premise - that god is properly defined. There's no real reason to suppose that god is a maximally great being - just that he would appear to be greater than us mere humans. And why suppose he is omnibenevolent?

Second, regardless of how many Christians put forward the ontological argument, they cannot escape the fact that the OA cannot possibly refer to the judeo-christian concept of "god' unless they are somehow willing to assert that they can read the Old Testament, yet not conceive of a greater being than that god.

Third, there's no real reason to suppose that possible existence in every possible world entails necessary existence in every possible world. The best one could do is say that it's almost a certainty from a statistical standpoint that a maximally great being exists in at least one world - but even then, to assert necessity is to beg the question.

Fourth, there's no real reason to suppose that maximal greatness entails necessary existence. Even if there WERE, this would beg the question. It's possible that there simply are no maximally great beings. Existence cannot legitimately be transformed into a predicate, and then used to prove existence... The FSM has the maximally great property of existing, therefore it exists. Whoop-de-doo.

Fifth, all the other problems aside, there is absolutely no reason to suppose that even if the OA shows that there is a god, that it is any specific god.

And last but not least, the idea of the OA ignores the possibility that the maximally great concept of god may be logically (or otherwise) contradictory - e.g. is god omnipotent, but unable to act in an immoral way? Or is god omniscient with respect to future events?

Expounding on the last objection above... Let's suppose that God IS in fact omniscient with respect to future events. That means that he knows your actions before you make them, and thus there is no real free will - there is only agency free will (which, as we all know, is just a compatibalist cop-out). But it would seem then that if God is the creator, which he would have to be in order to be maximally great, then I can conceive of a being that is greater - namely one that let us have free will, but is not omniscient with respect to future events. Also, not giving us free will may run afoul of the maximal benevolence standard.

So let's suppose it's not logically possible to be omniscient with respect to future events, and we do in fact have free will. But free will leads to atrocities being committed. And I can envision a greater being that gave us free will, but also gave us the natural inclination to never do evil. If this is not free will, then you must by analogy acknowledge that God is not omnipotent if he is also omnibenevolent.

Lots of thorny problems...

I agree with most of this, but 3 I do see their reasoning. A maximally great being would be greater if it existed in all possible universes, therefore if it exists it would exist in all possible universes. Now the reason most Theologians have given up on the omni god and gone to a maximally great being is to avoid the paradoxes and contradictions, I wonder whether existence in every possible universe doesn't create a problem that a maximally great being couldn't get past, so that premise is iffy to me, but I understand the reasoning behind it. Just not sure if the reasoning is good.
DDO's marketing strategy has certainly paid off just not sure I agree with the target market: http://tinypic.com...
It's amazing to me that you still have yet to grasp the difference between believing something, not believing something, and having no belief at all -JCMT
To respect religion, is to disrespect the Truth!

If this board was a room and you all were the light bulbs, I'm bringing a flashlight.
izbo10
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10/31/2011 8:21:08 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 10/31/2011 7:07:36 PM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
At 10/31/2011 3:04:52 PM, izbo10 wrote:

As I reference in my debate and in my thread, this is easily defeated using Plantingas own defined term No Maximality- a state of being in which no maximally great being exists.


If a maximally great being must exist in all possible universes then there are only two possible sets of universes:M= maxmally great being NM= No maximality.

(M,M,M,M...)
(NM,NM,NM....)


Therefore if it is possible that M exists ,it is impossible for a NM to exist.

though, if it is possible for a NM to exist it is impossible for M to exist.

Which is possible becomes the question and we are at best left at 50/50.

That is definitely a valid refutation. What do you think of mine? (Saying that it is circular). I believe there are multiple ways to refute it.

I don't know if circular is the word you are looking for, but it definitely feels like it almost begs the question by attempting to define god into existence.
DDO's marketing strategy has certainly paid off just not sure I agree with the target market: http://tinypic.com...
It's amazing to me that you still have yet to grasp the difference between believing something, not believing something, and having no belief at all -JCMT
To respect religion, is to disrespect the Truth!

If this board was a room and you all were the light bulbs, I'm bringing a flashlight.
JustCallMeTarzan
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11/1/2011 12:51:37 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 10/31/2011 8:19:20 PM, izbo10 wrote:
At 10/31/2011 7:53:38 PM, JustCallMeTarzan wrote:
The ontological argument only holds water if you accept the first premise - that god is properly defined. There's no real reason to suppose that god is a maximally great being - just that he would appear to be greater than us mere humans. And why suppose he is omnibenevolent?

Second, regardless of how many Christians put forward the ontological argument, they cannot escape the fact that the OA cannot possibly refer to the judeo-christian concept of "god' unless they are somehow willing to assert that they can read the Old Testament, yet not conceive of a greater being than that god.

Third, there's no real reason to suppose that possible existence in every possible world entails necessary existence in every possible world. The best one could do is say that it's almost a certainty from a statistical standpoint that a maximally great being exists in at least one world - but even then, to assert necessity is to beg the question.

Fourth, there's no real reason to suppose that maximal greatness entails necessary existence. Even if there WERE, this would beg the question. It's possible that there simply are no maximally great beings. Existence cannot legitimately be transformed into a predicate, and then used to prove existence... The FSM has the maximally great property of existing, therefore it exists. Whoop-de-doo.

Fifth, all the other problems aside, there is absolutely no reason to suppose that even if the OA shows that there is a god, that it is any specific god.

And last but not least, the idea of the OA ignores the possibility that the maximally great concept of god may be logically (or otherwise) contradictory - e.g. is god omnipotent, but unable to act in an immoral way? Or is god omniscient with respect to future events?

Expounding on the last objection above... Let's suppose that God IS in fact omniscient with respect to future events. That means that he knows your actions before you make them, and thus there is no real free will - there is only agency free will (which, as we all know, is just a compatibalist cop-out). But it would seem then that if God is the creator, which he would have to be in order to be maximally great, then I can conceive of a being that is greater - namely one that let us have free will, but is not omniscient with respect to future events. Also, not giving us free will may run afoul of the maximal benevolence standard.

So let's suppose it's not logically possible to be omniscient with respect to future events, and we do in fact have free will. But free will leads to atrocities being committed. And I can envision a greater being that gave us free will, but also gave us the natural inclination to never do evil. If this is not free will, then you must by analogy acknowledge that God is not omnipotent if he is also omnibenevolent.

Lots of thorny problems...

I agree with most of this, but 3 I do see their reasoning. A maximally great being would be greater if it existed in all possible universes, therefore if it exists it would exist in all possible universes. Now the reason most Theologians have given up on the omni god and gone to a maximally great being is to avoid the paradoxes and contradictions, I wonder whether existence in every possible universe doesn't create a problem that a maximally great being couldn't get past, so that premise is iffy to me, but I understand the reasoning behind it. Just not sure if the reasoning is good.

Yes, but the fourth point above bars that particular argument.... So putting aside the "existence is part of maximal" notion, there's no real reason to suppose that possibility implies necessity. Theists get around this with Axiom S5, which states that if possibly necessarily P, then necessarily P. But this really isn't convincing either, because we'd first have to accept that necessary existence is a predicate of the maximal being - if it is not, then it's just "possibly P" not "possibly necessarily P."
RFH
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11/1/2011 8:41:40 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 10/31/2011 7:07:36 PM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
That is definitely a valid refutation.

No, it isn't. The goal of Plantinga's ontological argument is only to show that belief in a god is rational. By showing that there is (at least) a 50-50 chance, he has done that. The argument succeeds.

At 10/31/2011 7:07:36 PM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
What do you think of mine? (Saying that it is circular). I believe there are multiple ways to refute it.

Assuming that you're referring to Plantinga's version, this refutation also fails. He argues that there is a being that is maximally great. He then argues that maximal greatness entails all the qualities that God would have. I think you're conflating Plantinga's version of the ontological argument with Anselm's.
RFH
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11/1/2011 8:48:58 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 10/31/2011 7:53:38 PM, JustCallMeTarzan wrote:
The ontological argument only holds water if you accept the first premise - that god is properly defined. There's no real reason to suppose that god is a maximally great being - just that he would appear to be greater than us mere humans. And why suppose he is omnibenevolent?

It's well accepted among philosophers of religion that a god would have to be omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent, etc.
RFH
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11/1/2011 9:04:28 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
Edward Feser wrote:

[I]t is simply implausible to suppose that, other things being equal, the key premises of Plantinga's argument and its "no-maximality" rival are on an epistemic par. To see why, consider the following parallel claims:

U: There is a possible world containing unicorns.

NU: "No-unicornality," the property of there being no unicorns in any possible world, is possibly exemplified.

Are U and NU on an epistemic par? Surely not. NU is really nothing more than a denial of U. But U is extremely plausible, at least if we accept the whole "possible worlds" way of talking about these things in the first place. It essentially amounts to the uncontroversial claim that there is no contradiction entailed by our concept of a unicorn. And the burden of proof is surely on someone who denies this to show that there is a contradiction. It would be no good for him to say "Well, even after carefully analyzing the concept of a unicorn I can't point to any contradiction, but for all we know there might be one anyway, so NU is just as plausible a claim as U." It is obviously not just as plausible, for a failed attempt to discover a contradiction in some concept itself provides at least some actual evidence to think the concept describes a real possibility, while to make the mere assertion that there might nevertheless be a contradiction is not to provide evidence of anything. The mere suggestion that NU might be true thus in no way stalemates the defender of U. All other things being equal, we should accept U and reject NU, until such time as the defender of NU gives us actual reason to believe it.

See "Plantinga's ontological argument" at http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com...
izbo10
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11/1/2011 11:56:13 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/1/2011 8:41:40 AM, RFH wrote:
At 10/31/2011 7:07:36 PM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
That is definitely a valid refutation.

No, it isn't. The goal of Plantinga's ontological argument is only to show that belief in a god is rational. By showing that there is (at least) a 50-50 chance, he has done that. The argument succeeds.

At 10/31/2011 7:07:36 PM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
What do you think of mine? (Saying that it is circular). I believe there are multiple ways to refute it.

Assuming that you're referring to Plantinga's version, this refutation also fails. He argues that there is a being that is maximally great. He then argues that maximal greatness entails all the qualities that God would have. I think you're conflating Plantinga's version of the ontological argument with Anselm's.

What we are refuting is not that it is rational, but that it proves gods existence. Plantinga forgets in his attempt to prove rationality, that withholding belief is an option. Therefore it is not rational at all. Secondly, the no maximality is less restrictive hence actually more likely.
DDO's marketing strategy has certainly paid off just not sure I agree with the target market: http://tinypic.com...
It's amazing to me that you still have yet to grasp the difference between believing something, not believing something, and having no belief at all -JCMT
To respect religion, is to disrespect the Truth!

If this board was a room and you all were the light bulbs, I'm bringing a flashlight.
headphonegut
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11/1/2011 2:10:56 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 10/28/2011 2:24:29 PM, Kinesis wrote:
I think you're confusing validity with circularity. It's a simple fact that the premises of an argument are logically equivalent to its conclusion. What makes an argument circular is that the only reason to accept the premises is that you already agree that the conclusion is true. If the premises are agreed upon, the conclusion follows.

I think circular arguments are underestimated in any case. There is not a more obviously sound argument than "Bananas are tasty, therefore bananas are tasty".

lol Hilarious I would sig the bottom part, but I think Oreele's argument is more hilarious
crying to soldiers coming home to their dogs why do I torment myself with these videos?
RFH
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11/1/2011 2:23:15 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/1/2011 11:56:13 AM, izbo10 wrote:
At 11/1/2011 8:41:40 AM, RFH wrote:
At 10/31/2011 7:07:36 PM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
That is definitely a valid refutation.

No, it isn't. The goal of Plantinga's ontological argument is only to show that belief in a god is rational. By showing that there is (at least) a 50-50 chance, he has done that. The argument succeeds.

At 10/31/2011 7:07:36 PM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
What do you think of mine? (Saying that it is circular). I believe there are multiple ways to refute it.

Assuming that you're referring to Plantinga's version, this refutation also fails. He argues that there is a being that is maximally great. He then argues that maximal greatness entails all the qualities that God would have. I think you're conflating Plantinga's version of the ontological argument with Anselm's.

What we are refuting is not that it is rational, but that it proves gods existence. Plantinga forgets in his attempt to prove rationality, that withholding belief is an option. Therefore it is not rational at all. Secondly, the no maximality is less restrictive hence actually more likely.

Actually no maximality is more restrictive (and hence less likely) because it entails that there is something contradictory about our concept of God. So, it could be argued that Plantinga's ontological argument shows not only that belief in God is rational, but also that it is more rational than disbelief.

Since Plantinga didn't claim that his argument proved God's existence, you're wasting time trying to prove that his argument doesn't prove God's existence.

Of course, that's only Plantinga's version of the argument.
izbo10
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11/1/2011 4:28:37 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/1/2011 2:23:15 PM, RFH wrote:
At 11/1/2011 11:56:13 AM, izbo10 wrote:
At 11/1/2011 8:41:40 AM, RFH wrote:
At 10/31/2011 7:07:36 PM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
That is definitely a valid refutation.

No, it isn't. The goal of Plantinga's ontological argument is only to show that belief in a god is rational. By showing that there is (at least) a 50-50 chance, he has done that. The argument succeeds.

At 10/31/2011 7:07:36 PM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
What do you think of mine? (Saying that it is circular). I believe there are multiple ways to refute it.

Assuming that you're referring to Plantinga's version, this refutation also fails. He argues that there is a being that is maximally great. He then argues that maximal greatness entails all the qualities that God would have. I think you're conflating Plantinga's version of the ontological argument with Anselm's.

What we are refuting is not that it is rational, but that it proves gods existence. Plantinga forgets in his attempt to prove rationality, that withholding belief is an option. Therefore it is not rational at all. Secondly, the no maximality is less restrictive hence actually more likely.

Actually no maximality is more restrictive (and hence less likely) because it entails that there is something contradictory about our concept of God. So, it could be argued that Plantinga's ontological argument shows not only that belief in God is rational, but also that it is more rational than disbelief.

Since Plantinga didn't claim that his argument proved God's existence, you're wasting time trying to prove that his argument doesn't prove God's existence.

Of course, that's only Plantinga's version of the argument.

the problem is ignorant christians aren't aware of anything beyond Plantinga's argument, they don't realize that he did posit the no maximality argument in his writings. Christians for some reason thinks it proves god. That is why we attack it. It is irrelevant to me what Plantinga thought of the argument, other then to use it against christians, when the person who I am discussing the argument with thinks it proves god.
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JustCallMeTarzan
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11/1/2011 4:54:34 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/1/2011 8:48:58 AM, RFH wrote:
At 10/31/2011 7:53:38 PM, JustCallMeTarzan wrote:
The ontological argument only holds water if you accept the first premise - that god is properly defined. There's no real reason to suppose that god is a maximally great being - just that he would appear to be greater than us mere humans. And why suppose he is omnibenevolent?

It's well accepted among philosophers of religion that a god would have to be omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent, etc.

Not that this is "well accepted" by any means, but the root of the problem is reference, not definition. Why are those qualities determinative of maximal qualities?? Why is there any reason to suppose that this is the correct model for God when (so-called) revealed theology leads us to a radically different conclusion?
Stephen_Hawkins
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11/1/2011 5:07:27 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
The only premise of the entire argument involved in definition is that God is ultimate actuality, or maximally great. Not existent in a physical manifestation, nor any other characteristics. And I agree with the argument as an atheist: The idea of a deity will probably exist in every single society, in every single universe.
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RFH
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11/1/2011 7:40:22 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/1/2011 4:28:37 PM, izbo10 wrote:
the problem is ignorant christians aren't aware of anything beyond Plantinga's argument, they don't realize that he did posit the no maximality argument in his writings. Christians for some reason thinks it proves god. That is why we attack it. It is irrelevant to me what Plantinga thought of the argument, other then to use it against christians, when the person who I am discussing the argument with thinks it proves god.

Sounds like a waste of time.

At 11/1/2011 4:54:34 PM, JustCallMeTarzan wrote:
At 11/1/2011 8:48:58 AM, RFH wrote:
At 10/31/2011 7:53:38 PM, JustCallMeTarzan wrote:
Not that this is "well accepted" by any means, but the root of the problem is reference, not definition. Why are those qualities determinative of maximal qualities?? Why is there any reason to suppose that this is the correct model for God when (so-called) revealed theology leads us to a radically different conclusion?

There may be a God who has nothing to do with revealed theology. Or, if there is such a God as the one revealed in the Bible (or some other religious text), perhaps we need to adjust our understanding of the text.

Anyway my point was only to show that the argument is not circular.

At 11/1/2011 5:07:27 PM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
The only premise of the entire argument involved in definition is that God is ultimate actuality, or maximally great. Not existent in a physical manifestation, nor any other characteristics. And I agree with the argument as an atheist: The idea of a deity will probably exist in every single society, in every single universe.

Actually the first premise goes something like this:

There is a possible world W in which there exists a being with maximal greatness.

And the last premise goes something like this:

So there is in the actual world an omniscient, omnipotent, and morally perfect being.

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wiploc
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11/3/2011 10:21:29 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 10/31/2011 7:07:36 PM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
That is definitely a valid refutation. What do you think of mine? (Saying that it is circular). I believe there are multiple ways to refute it.

I don't think it's circular. It goes from A to B to C, not from A to B to A.

Admittedly, it gets from A to B by cheating, but that's not circularity.
JustCallMeTarzan
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11/3/2011 8:45:33 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/3/2011 10:21:29 AM, wiploc wrote:
At 10/31/2011 7:07:36 PM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
That is definitely a valid refutation. What do you think of mine? (Saying that it is circular). I believe there are multiple ways to refute it.

I don't think it's circular. It goes from A to B to C, not from A to B to A.

Admittedly, it gets from A to B by cheating, but that's not circularity.

It could perhaps be circular in one regard. If we agree that the first premise is something like :

There is a possible world, W, in which there exists a maximally great being.

And the argument goes on normally to the end: therefore this being exists, and is god... then yes, it's circular in that the first premise's validity depends on the being actually existing in one possible world. But the obvious immediate defense to this objection is that the real conclusion is that god exists in THIS world.
wiploc
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11/4/2011 12:44:28 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/1/2011 5:07:27 PM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
The only premise of the entire argument involved in definition is that God is ultimate actuality, or maximally great. Not existent in a physical manifestation, nor any other characteristics. And I agree with the argument as an atheist: The idea of a deity will probably exist in every single society, in every single universe.

We know that there are possible worlds without the concept of a deity, because a possible world is any world that doesn't contradict itself, and there is no inherent contradiction in a world without the concept of deity.
bluesteel
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11/4/2011 1:54:01 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
I think there are three main critiques of the Ontological argument. I'm always interested to hear how theists respond to these critiques though. I like reading PCP's debates so I can mess with the atheists when I feel like it.

1) It's a tautology.

A tautology is an argument in which the conclusion just restates a premise. The most common form is defining something in a certain way to force a given conclusion. Defining God as a "necessarily existent being" merely DEFINES him into existence. The more sophisticated Ontological Arguments are a few degrees removed from a simple tautology, but remain tautological.

Saying "God is a necessarily existent being," "God exists in all possible world," and "God exists" are all logically equivalent statements. The conclusion matches the definition of God.

2) The Ontological Argument can also be used in reverse. God is a necessarily existent being. Possibly he DOES NOT exist. Therefore, he does not exist. (izbo already said this one)

(note: I've confused myself. I think this second argument invalidates the first objection. Both objections cannot be valid since a tautology always holds true.)

3) If you define "God" as an omninefarious being rather than an omnibenevolent being, the Ontological Argument is still valid. So the argument leads to the conclusion that an omnipotent, omniscient, and maximally evil being exists.

Scary stuff.
You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into - Jonathan Swift (paraphrase)
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
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11/4/2011 3:12:27 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Bluesteel, I think I wasn't able to articulate my argument correctly. When I meant that it was "circular," I was trying to say that it was a tautology. It is the same thing. always knew that the second refutation was valid. I wanted to see if the first one was valid as well. "Circular" was a poor choice of words, but I meant that it was a tautology. The flaw, I believe lies in its definition.
bluesteel
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11/4/2011 3:22:40 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/4/2011 3:12:27 PM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
Bluesteel, I think I wasn't able to articulate my argument correctly. When I meant that it was "circular," I was trying to say that it was a tautology. It is the same thing. always knew that the second refutation was valid. I wanted to see if the first one was valid as well. "Circular" was a poor choice of words, but I meant that it was a tautology. The flaw, I believe lies in its definition.

But that's interesting because, as I pointed out, izbo's objection and yours cannot both be true. A tautology always holds true. Yet izbo's proof leads to the conclusion that "God does not exist." So the tautology holds false in that case and is therefore not a tautology.

You could use this in a debate as a "double bind" though. Either it's a tautology OR the arguments that God exists and does not exist are equally valid under the Ontological Argument.
You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into - Jonathan Swift (paraphrase)