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The Ontological Argument for God

GeoLaureate8
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6/25/2010 11:13:33 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
I laughed at first upon hearing it, but upon further explanation, it began to make a bit more sense (but still utterly absurd and laughable).

Old Version

God is the greatest conceivable being. To be the greatest conceivable being, he must, by definition be existent. If he's non-existent, he's not the greatest conceivable being. It would be a contradiction in terms to declare God does not exist because you would be claiming that an existent being does not exist.

However, Immanual Kant refuted it and said that you can have 100 coins, or you cannot have 100 coins. Either way, whether they exist or not, 100 coins maintains it's value of 100 coins.

Hume said "Whatever we conceive as existent, we can also conceive as non-existent. There is no being, therefore, whose non-existence implies a contradiction. Consequently there is no being, whose existence is demonstrable."

Reformed Version

It is the same argument, but instead asserts necessary existence as opposed to contingent existence.

The problem is that existence is not a property, but an affirmation.
This whole argument basically defines God into existence, which of course fails.

Thoughts?
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
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"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."
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Mr_Jack_Nixon
Posts: 53
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6/25/2010 11:42:48 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Actually, just today I found this argument on the internet and I had the same reaction as you. It seemed ridiculous, but not so much after I examined it. The whole theory seems to undermine humans ability to think about future events. I really don't agree with the assertion that one can't base a thought on some future possibility. In other words, we can conceive a perfect being *if* it exists. Obviously we can take that mental leap and conceive a perfect god that exists, regardless of whether it exists or not.

Geo - Can you tell me about this 'new' version, more specifically,what necessitates a perfect being existing?
popculturepooka
Posts: 7,924
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6/25/2010 11:48:24 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 6/25/2010 11:13:33 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
I laughed at first upon hearing it, but upon further explanation, it began to make a bit more sense (but still utterly absurd and laughable).


Old Version

God is the greatest conceivable being. To be the greatest conceivable being, he must, by definition be existent. If he's non-existent, he's not the greatest conceivable being. It would be a contradiction in terms to declare God does not exist because you would be claiming that an existent being does not exist.

However, Immanual Kant refuted it and said that you can have 100 coins, or you cannot have 100 coins. Either way, whether they exist or not, 100 coins maintains it's value of 100 coins.

Hume said "Whatever we conceive as existent, we can also conceive as non-existent. There is no being, therefore, whose non-existence implies a contradiction. Consequently there is no being, whose existence is demonstrable."

Reformed Version

It is the same argument, but instead asserts necessary existence as opposed to contingent existence.

The problem is that existence is not a property, but an affirmation.
This whole argument basically defines God into existence, which of course fails.


Thoughts?

The ontological argument(s) never asserted contingent existence.

And, no, the argument doesn't define God into existence.
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Cerebral_Narcissist
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6/25/2010 11:49:47 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Though it's good of you to humour it, the whole argument, old and reformed, is intellectually bankrupt.
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GeoLaureate8
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6/25/2010 11:58:08 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 6/25/2010 11:48:24 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
The ontological argument(s) never asserted contingent existence.

So what is the difference between the old and the reformed version?

And, no, the argument doesn't define God into existence.

How not? It defines God as a being who is necessarily existent, correct?
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
-- Murray Rothbard

"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."
-- Frederic Bastiat
GeoLaureate8
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6/25/2010 11:59:55 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 6/25/2010 11:49:47 PM, Cerebral_Narcissist wrote:
Though it's good of you to humour it

Yes, hearing Alvin Plantinga explain was rather convincing and made me think twice, that's for sure.
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
-- Murray Rothbard

"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."
-- Frederic Bastiat
popculturepooka
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6/26/2010 12:10:04 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 6/25/2010 11:58:08 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
At 6/25/2010 11:48:24 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
The ontological argument(s) never asserted contingent existence.

So what is the difference between the old and the reformed version?


New versions use explicit modal terms (like contingency and necessary).

Anslem's version didn't have much to do with contingent existence so much as it had to do with "existence in understanding" (i.e. in the mind; the abstract) and "existence in reality". He thought existence in reality was greater that existence in understanding and since God is the greatest possible being then he would have to exist in reality. That obviously didn't work.

And, no, the argument doesn't define God into existence.

How not? It defines God as a being who is necessarily existent, correct?

Yes, but that doesn't mean he has to exist it just means if he exists he can't possibly not exist (i.e. contingent existence). That also means if God doesn't exist that he means he can't possibly exist at all. So, it doesn't define God into existence into existence as that premise allows for God's non-existence as well.
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Veridas
Posts: 733
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6/26/2010 1:02:00 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 6/25/2010 11:13:33 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
I laughed at first upon hearing it, but upon further explanation, it began to make a bit more sense (but still utterly absurd and laughable).


Old Version

God is the greatest conceivable being. To be the greatest conceivable being, he must, by definition be existent. If he's non-existent, he's not the greatest conceivable being. It would be a contradiction in terms to declare God does not exist because you would be claiming that an existent being does not exist.

However, Immanual Kant refuted it and said that you can have 100 coins, or you cannot have 100 coins. Either way, whether they exist or not, 100 coins maintains it's value of 100 coins.

Hume said "Whatever we conceive as existent, we can also conceive as non-existent. There is no being, therefore, whose non-existence implies a contradiction. Consequently there is no being, whose existence is demonstrable."

Reformed Version

It is the same argument, but instead asserts necessary existence as opposed to contingent existence.

The problem is that existence is not a property, but an affirmation.
This whole argument basically defines God into existence, which of course fails.


Thoughts?

Theists aren't exactly known for making convincing arguments, if it isn't a fallacy or just outright incorrect, odds are it's because it relies on philosophy or something, and philosophy doesn't determine the existence of as-yet unaffirmed third parties whether they're atoms or deities.
What fresh dickery is the internet up to today?
wjmelements
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6/26/2010 1:26:22 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
A non-existent being that is still omnipotent and omniscient seems more impressive than one that exists.
in the blink of an eye you finally see the light
Kinesis
Posts: 3,667
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6/26/2010 1:59:48 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
I can usually grasp the basics of a theistic argument after reading it a couple of times and looking up some key definitions, but the ontological argument baffles me.
ravenwaen
Posts: 96
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6/26/2010 3:02:28 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 6/26/2010 1:59:48 AM, Kinesis wrote:
I can usually grasp the basics of a theistic argument after reading it a couple of times and looking up some key definitions, but the ontological argument baffles me.

Same. I can't tell whether it's a stupid argument or I'm just failing at understanding it. Probably both.

Anyway, I refuse to deal with it in informal debate. It's intellectually dishonest for theists to use that as their justification for believing in God because, most likely, they believed in God long before they were ever introduced to the ontological argument.
popculturepooka
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6/26/2010 9:23:29 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 6/26/2010 3:02:28 AM, ravenwaen wrote:
At 6/26/2010 1:59:48 AM, Kinesis wrote:
I can usually grasp the basics of a theistic argument after reading it a couple of times and looking up some key definitions, but the ontological argument baffles me.

Same. I can't tell whether it's a stupid argument or I'm just failing at understanding it. Probably both.

Anyway, I refuse to deal with it in informal debate. It's intellectually dishonest for theists to use that as their justification for believing in God because, most likely, they believed in God long before they were ever introduced to the ontological argument.

So let me get this straight. We can only use the initial reasons we have for believing something in a discussion? Well, guess that means we have to throw new scientific findings out the window. Find/come up with any better arguments for your position? Nope, we have to throw those out the window, too.

How is it intellectually dishonest? Do you apply this to every matter or just to theists?
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Kinesis
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6/26/2010 11:13:54 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 6/26/2010 9:23:29 AM, popculturepooka wrote:
So let me get this straight. We can only use the initial reasons we have for believing something in a discussion?

That isn't what he said.
popculturepooka
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6/26/2010 11:30:06 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 6/26/2010 11:13:54 AM, Kinesis wrote:
At 6/26/2010 9:23:29 AM, popculturepooka wrote:
So let me get this straight. We can only use the initial reasons we have for believing something in a discussion?

That isn't what he said.

It clearly is an implication.

It's like saying it's intellectually dishonest to use scientific evidence to justify why you believe the earth is round when most likely they believed the earth was round long before they were every introduced to the scientific evidence.

Apparently you can only use your initial reasons and not incorporate anything new otherwise you are intellectually dishonest.
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popculturepooka
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6/26/2010 11:31:25 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 6/26/2010 11:30:06 AM, popculturepooka wrote:
At 6/26/2010 11:13:54 AM, Kinesis wrote:
At 6/26/2010 9:23:29 AM, popculturepooka wrote:
So let me get this straight. We can only use the initial reasons we have for believing something in a discussion?

That isn't what he said.

It clearly is an implication.

It's like saying it's intellectually dishonest to use scientific evidence to justify why you believe the earth is round when most likely you believed the earth was round long before you were ever introduced to the scientific evidence.

Apparently you can only use your initial reasons and not incorporate anything new otherwise you are intellectually dishonest.
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Kinesis
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6/26/2010 12:28:10 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 6/26/2010 11:31:25 AM, popculturepooka wrote:
It clearly is an implication.

It's like saying it's intellectually dishonest to use scientific evidence to justify why you believe the earth is round when most likely you believed the earth was round long before you were ever introduced to the scientific evidence.

Apparently you can only use your initial reasons and not incorporate anything new otherwise you are intellectually dishonest.

Well...it would be incorrect to say that, at the very least. You're obviously right that initial reasons aren't the only thing you can put on the table.
Veridas
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6/26/2010 2:45:26 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 6/26/2010 1:26:22 AM, wjmelements wrote:
A non-existent being that is still omnipotent and omniscient seems more impressive than one that exists.

Typical theist logic right there, if it doesn't exist, by definition it can't be omnipotent or omniscient. At best is can exist only in the mind, since things that exist in reality can also exist in the mind, but things in the mind do not necessarily exist in reality, god exists only in the mind until proven otherwise. If god exists in the mind but not in reality, god does not exist, but that doesn't matter because if a nonexistent entity is more impressive in any definition than an existant deity, then by your own logic, god does not exist.

Take that sucker up with your priest.
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Kinesis
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6/26/2010 2:57:35 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 6/26/2010 1:26:22 AM, wjmelements wrote:
A non-existent being that is still omnipotent and omniscient seems more impressive than one that exists.

Yes, because that's clearly logically possible.
ravenwaen
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6/26/2010 5:58:38 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 6/26/2010 9:23:29 AM, popculturepooka wrote:
So let me get this straight. We can only use the initial reasons we have for believing something in a discussion? Well, guess that means we have to throw new scientific findings out the window. Find/come up with any better arguments for your position? Nope, we have to throw those out the window, too.

How is it intellectually dishonest? Do you apply this to every matter or just to theists?

To answer the question "What is your justification for believing in God?" as "the ontological argument" is dishonest because you would believe in God even if you had never heard of that argument, or even if that argument was disproven.

This isn't as much about 'Does God exist?' as it is about 'Why do YOU believe in God?' The latter is an important question in informal discussion.
Yvette
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6/26/2010 6:13:53 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Pooka, Raven's point is that no one believes in a god because of things like the ontological argument or other logical arguments. No one. It is a pointless sham of an attempt to make belief in a god look rational.

It's coming to a conclusion and then looking for evidence forming an argument to support it. It's intellectually dishonest, as raven said, and in the realm of science it's laughable at best.

No one's saying you can't use it in a debate. It's just that it's dishonest and a poor reflection on any theist using it. If a non-theist were to use it playing devil's advocate, or if someone who believed in a god thanks to that argument used it, it would not be so dishonest.

For example, the reason someone might accept evolution is because they see a large amount of evidence behind it. All of the evidence contributes to their accepting the theory. Thus it is not dishonest for them to use it. But if someone accepts evolution because their priest told them to, and they use the evidence to argue for evolution, it's just as dishonest as theists using the ontological argument.

To compare, rude conduct is allowed, but it sure counts against you.
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Kinesis
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6/27/2010 12:50:34 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 6/26/2010 4:32:30 PM, TheSkeptic wrote:
lol, ontological argument. lol, Platinga's modal version. I'll happily debate it with anyone :)

'lol'? I was under the impression most philosophers agreed with Plantinga' ontological argument. They just take it as proof God really was logically incoherent after all.
GeoLaureate8
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6/27/2010 1:39:57 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 6/26/2010 6:13:53 PM, Yvette wrote:
Pooka, Raven's point is that no one believes in a god because of things like the ontological argument or other logical arguments. No one. It is a pointless sham of an attempt to make belief in a god look rational.

It's coming to a conclusion and then looking for evidence forming an argument to support it. It's intellectually dishonest, as raven said, and in the realm of science it's laughable at best.

No one's saying you can't use it in a debate. It's just that it's dishonest and a poor reflection on any theist using it. If a non-theist were to use it playing devil's advocate, or if someone who believed in a god thanks to that argument used it, it would not be so dishonest.

For example, the reason someone might accept evolution is because they see a large amount of evidence behind it. All of the evidence contributes to their accepting the theory. Thus it is not dishonest for them to use it. But if someone accepts evolution because their priest told them to, and they use the evidence to argue for evolution, it's just as dishonest as theists using the ontological argument.

To compare, rude conduct is allowed, but it sure counts against you.

I await to see PCP's response to this. Yvette has made some excellent counter-points here.
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
-- Murray Rothbard

"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."
-- Frederic Bastiat
TheSkeptic
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6/27/2010 2:32:24 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 6/26/2010 6:13:53 PM, Yvette wrote:
Pooka, Raven's point is that no one believes in a god because of things like the ontological argument or other logical arguments. No one. It is a pointless sham of an attempt to make belief in a god look rational.

It's coming to a conclusion and then looking for evidence forming an argument to support it. It's intellectually dishonest, as raven said, and in the realm of science it's laughable at best.

No one's saying you can't use it in a debate. It's just that it's dishonest and a poor reflection on any theist using it. If a non-theist were to use it playing devil's advocate, or if someone who believed in a god thanks to that argument used it, it would not be so dishonest.

For example, the reason someone might accept evolution is because they see a large amount of evidence behind it. All of the evidence contributes to their accepting the theory. Thus it is not dishonest for them to use it. But if someone accepts evolution because their priest told them to, and they use the evidence to argue for evolution, it's just as dishonest as theists using the ontological argument.

To compare, rude conduct is allowed, but it sure counts against you.

The origin of why someone believes in X is distinct from the argument in favor of X -- it doesn't matter if the theist approaches apologetic with an incredibly biased and favored side. If they conjure an argument, as a philosophical opponent it's your duty to demonstrate it's flaws or admit defeat.

Further, atheists and others alike can be accused of bias as well - just not manifested perhaps in the same manner (via priests) or intensity (who knows :P).
TheSkeptic
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6/27/2010 2:33:47 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 6/27/2010 12:50:34 AM, Kinesis wrote:
At 6/26/2010 4:32:30 PM, TheSkeptic wrote:
lol, ontological argument. lol, Platinga's modal version. I'll happily debate it with anyone :)

'lol'? I was under the impression most philosophers agreed with Plantinga' ontological argument. They just take it as proof God really was logically incoherent after all.

o.O You're probably referring to Plantinga's refutation of the logical argument from evil against the existence of God.
Kinesis
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6/27/2010 4:12:06 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 6/27/2010 2:33:47 AM, TheSkeptic wrote:
At 6/27/2010 12:50:34 AM, Kinesis wrote:
At 6/26/2010 4:32:30 PM, TheSkeptic wrote:
lol, ontological argument. lol, Platinga's modal version. I'll happily debate it with anyone :)

'lol'? I was under the impression most philosophers agreed with Plantinga' ontological argument. They just take it as proof God really was logically incoherent after all.

o.O You're probably referring to Plantinga's refutation of the logical argument from evil against the existence of God.

Meh, maybe I'm wrong. I've definitely read that Plantinga's argument is valid, and that it just reinforced the view that God is an incoherent concept before though. I'm not confusing it with anything else.
popculturepooka
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6/27/2010 9:18:28 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 6/26/2010 6:13:53 PM, Yvette wrote:
Pooka, Raven's point is that no one believes in a god because of things like the ontological argument or other logical arguments. No one. It is a pointless sham of an attempt to make belief in a god look rational.

It's coming to a conclusion and then looking for evidence forming an argument to support it. It's intellectually dishonest, as raven said, and in the realm of science it's laughable at best.

No one's saying you can't use it in a debate. It's just that it's dishonest and a poor reflection on any theist using it. If a non-theist were to use it playing devil's advocate, or if someone who believed in a god thanks to that argument used it, it would not be so dishonest.

For example, the reason someone might accept evolution is because they see a large amount of evidence behind it. All of the evidence contributes to their accepting the theory. Thus it is not dishonest for them to use it. But if someone accepts evolution because their priest told them to, and they use the evidence to argue for evolution, it's just as dishonest as theists using the ontological argument.

To compare, rude conduct is allowed, but it sure counts against you.

Good points, I'll get to this in a bit.
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tkubok
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6/27/2010 9:55:07 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 6/26/2010 6:13:53 PM, Yvette wrote:
Pooka, Raven's point is that no one believes in a god because of things like the ontological argument or other logical arguments. No one. It is a pointless sham of an attempt to make belief in a god look rational.

It's coming to a conclusion and then looking for evidence forming an argument to support it. It's intellectually dishonest, as raven said, and in the realm of science it's laughable at best.

No one's saying you can't use it in a debate. It's just that it's dishonest and a poor reflection on any theist using it. If a non-theist were to use it playing devil's advocate, or if someone who believed in a god thanks to that argument used it, it would not be so dishonest.

For example, the reason someone might accept evolution is because they see a large amount of evidence behind it. All of the evidence contributes to their accepting the theory. Thus it is not dishonest for them to use it. But if someone accepts evolution because their priest told them to, and they use the evidence to argue for evolution, it's just as dishonest as theists using the ontological argument.

To compare, rude conduct is allowed, but it sure counts against you.

I sorta disagree with you and raven. And heres why.

These ontological arguments for the existance of God arent merely here to convince atheists into theists, but also exist to bolster the faith of those who already believe. From an outside observer, people like Lee Strobel and Josh Mcdowell have amazingly poor, laughable arguments. Yet, to the choir they are preaching to, these arguments not only make sense to them, but they are also convinced that if they were atheist and someone were to make this argument to them, that they would in turn convert because they believe that these arguments are that good.

Kirk Cameron is a great example. When you hear his reasons for converting, its a whole "what if im wrong" pascals wager bull. But i am thoroughly convinced that his mind is so vapid and empty that if the ontological argument was presented instead of Pascals wager, he wouldve latched onto that one and still wouldve become a believer. This is why im sorta in a disagreement with you two, because idiots are idiots, and whether its a hit to the head or a hammer to the knee, theyll still end up in the same hospital for whatever stupid antic they fell into.
FREEDO
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6/27/2010 10:45:52 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
Lol, defining something as existing doesn't make it exist. If it doesn't exist it just makes your definition wrong.
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