Thursday, July 29, 2010

Answering Miller's "Right post" on Modal Argument

Photobucket


Before I get started on this I need to make a caveat. Tillich was against the OA because he felt it contradicted the concept of the God as being itself, and instead sought to prove the existence of a greatest being which is contrary to the concept of God as being itself. He also imposed or at least said things taken by some to be imply a version of the OA that could be re-formulated. I have not had a chance to talk about this on my blog yet. I don't think I have time to present the ins and outs of it here. But it is important to understand that in some sense I agree with Miller and with opponents of the modal argument but in other ways I disagree with them.
This is the post Miller linked to that said his more sophisticated understanding of and refutation of the Modal argument.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Modal ontological argument, revisited
Let's revisit the modal ontological arguments for God. Though I have covered these arguments and variations at length, and have not changed my opinion about them, I didn't necessarily cover them in the clearest manner possible. It's a tough balance, because for most people, symbolic logic is like math. Math = scary! Other readers understand the symbolic logic, but clearly have difficulties translating between the symbols and their underlying meaning. My goal is to explain it so both groups understand what I'm saying.


I do understand modal logic, in a way, but I don't claim to be an expert. I don't like using the symbols, not because I think they are wrong for I have several problems with it, both intellectual  and personal. The intellectual: I am a phenomenoloist so I don't like that sort hard cast logic, even though I do believe that it's right in matters that can be deduced. I don't like the perspective of trying to make that the major or only form of learning. Personal: I  have dyslexia so the shift about of many symbols is hard for me becuase it tends to wind up in my little fevered brain switching the symbols on me. The same is true of letters in reading of course, but reading English is raiser and I'm more use to it.

Miller:
Modal ontological argument, reviewed

Definition: If God exists, then God necessarily exists.
Premise: It is possible that God exists.
[Insert mess of logical reasoning here]
Conclusion: God exists.
Meta:I think the premise is what you call "definition" and the second line is either a minor premise or corollary.No matter.

Miller:

I omitted the mess of logical reasoning because I don't want to scare away my readers. Unfortunately, this makes it difficult to convey the amount of respect the logical arguments deserve. Richard Dawkins and other atheists often seem to think it's all a bunch of high-sounding gibberish. And perhaps it is. But that particular gibberish is absolutely solid, as solid as 2+2=4.
Meta: I appreciate that.


There are basically two reasonable objections to the argument. Either we must object to the premise, or object to the definition.

Objection to the premise

To explain the problem with the premise, I must distinguish between two kinds of possibility.

Epistemological possibility: For all we know, God exists.
Modal possibility: Among the set of "possible worlds", there exists a world in which God exists.

Meta:Problem: Plantinga's possible worlds argument (for God) asserts that God must exist in all worlds or none. You seem to imply here that the epistemological possibility is "God may exist in some world." While that is an epistemological possibility that possibility is demonstrated false by the argument Plantinga makes. Meanwhile the modal possibility is just as impossible. There cannot be a state of affairs such that God exists in one world only and not in all possible worlds. If it is possible that God exists in one possible world then God must exist in all possible worlds. That is a certainty if we define God as being itself.

Miller:
The conclusion of the proof follows only from modal possibility, not from epistemological possibility. However, the epistemological statement is the one that is intuitively true, while the modal statement could be true or false. Modal possibility is intended to be a translation from epistemological possibility to logic, but the translation is not perfect.


Meta:I think the assumption here is false for reasons stated above.

Miller:
In particular, the translation fails when we talk about the set of possible worlds itself.

Epistemological statement: For all we know, the universe is deterministic (ie there is only one possible world).
Modal translation: Among the set of "possible worlds", there exists a world in which it is true that there is only one possible world.
The epistemological statement is sensible, but if we naively copy it as a modal statement, it's a mess. The first statement only says that the universe may be deterministic, while the second statement can be used to prove that the universe must be deterministic. Clearly, we need to be careful with our translations when discussing determinism.

Meta:If I'm right about what you are trying to do then you are totally wrong. If I understand you correctly, that you are trying to supposes that the argument for God is based upon moving the possibility of God from epistemology to modality, that then you argue the impossibility of the move and that creates the impossible the "no such thing as God merely possible" clause can't be transformed from one to the other. If that's what you are doing you making several mistakes.

(1) Just because "for all we know God might exist" is an epistemolgoical statment that does not mean that the existence of God is only a epistemolgical possibility that is excluded in some way form the modal realm.

(2) the possibility of determinism is not a negation of God; God can create deterministic universes and thus God can exist in deterministic universes.

(3) There is also the possibility that determinism is impossible.

Miller:
Similar to determinism, the existence of God also says something about the set of possible worlds. If God exists, then s/he exists in all possible worlds. If an object does not exist in all possible worlds, then we cannot call it God. So we need to be careful with our translations when discussing God too.
Meta:That would seem to contradict my previous assumption, that I'm wrong about what you are trying to say. But I'm leaving it in anyway just in case.

Miller:

Here is a much better translation to logic:

Epistemological statement: For all I know, God exists
Logical translation: God exists, or God does not exist.

The conclusion of the ontological argument does not follow from this proper translation.
Meta: you lost me on this. You seem to be creating a useless distinction between epistemology and logic where one need not be made. All logical truths are also epistemological problems, everything that exists epistemically also exists logcially.

Miller

Even proponents of the modal ontological argument must accept that there are problems with translation. If we take the statement, "For all I know, God doesn't exist" and naively translate it to modal logic, then we would conclude that God doesn't exist.
Meta: I think the translation bit is a useless gimmick. Belief in God is not confined to one type of thought and has to be "translated" into another. This is super metaphysics, I don't see any reason to make this sort of metaphysical assumption. Its' not as though some questions are intrinsically given to epistemology and barred from logic and vice verse. Its' totally a matter of the way you structure your sentences. Belief in God is as much at home in modal logic as anything. The statement "If God exists then God must exist necessarily" is a statement of modal logic. By calling it "definition" you have screened it off form the actual logic of the argument but it's as much a modal statement as anything.

In Baird's presentation of Hartshorne's argument he did not call it the definition.

Miller:
Alternate premise: Logical consistency

Some ontological arguments have a cleverer premise to replace the old one.

Old Premise: It is possible that God exists.
New Premise: There is no contradiction in the existence of God. In other words, God is "consistent."

The old premise logically follows from the new one. If you're familiar with symbolic logic, I hope you already knew this. If not, here is a simple proof.

Suppose that the old premise is false; it is not possible that God exists. The statement "If P, then Q" is always true if P is false. Likewise, the statement "If God exists, then Q" is always true, because God doesn't exist. It's true even if Q is a contradictory statement (ie "God is blue and not blue"). Therefore, the new premise is false; the existence of God implies a contradiction.
Meta: Truth by stipulation. you can't stipulate the non existence of God.

Miller:
The statement "If P, then Q" is always true if P is false.
this I do not understand. If P is false (and the premise is "if P then Q") then the false nature of P means Q is also false because Q depends upon P. This is true in modus ponens.


If the old premise is false, then the new premise is false. Equivalently, if the new premise is true, then the old premise is true.


not what what said. you said if P is false than if P :. Q would mean Q is true.

Miller:
But now we will run into another problem of translation. I will distinguish between two kinds of consistency.

Self-consistency: The object has no contradicting properties in its definition.
Logical consistency: The object implies no contradictions.

Proponents of the ontological argument often expect me to disprove the self-consistency of God. Perhaps they expect me to argue that God's omnipotence contradicts its omniscience, or something like that. But they fail to realize that I don't have to. The proof requires logical consistency, not self-consistency.

Self-consistency is not sufficient to establish logical consistency. For an object to be logically consistent, not only must its definition be properly formed, but the world must cooperate. (More precisely, the set of "possible worlds" must cooperate.) Suppose that the world does not cooperate, and the object does not exist. If the object does not exist, then the existence of the object implies a contradiction. Namely, it implies that the object both exists and does not exist. I didn't even have to look at the definition of the object.

Meta: There's a huge amount with this.

(1) you  make an arbitrary distinction between "self constancy and logical consistency." that would assume there some disemboweled concept "logic" floating around out there that has nothing to do with objects per se. You are really assuming that things in the world have to fit with the rules of femoral logic and those rules are arbitrary. The only real contradiction that would matter is self consistency. I don't necessarily play that out in terms of omniscience vs omnipotence, it could be any number of ways.

(2) The world "cooperating" is begging the question. you can't argue the world is not reflecting the truth of God because three dozen God arguments show that it does. You can't start by asserting there is no God any more than I can start by asserting that there is.

(3) The OA in and of itself argues that the greatest thought is about the greatest truth. The argument is supposed to reflect the truth of God and is itself a matter of the reality cooperating to show the truth of God.

Miller:
Of course, I don't know whether the world cooperates with the ontological proof or not. The proponents have no idea either, but think they do.

Meta we have a good hint in what I just said, the greatest idea is about the greatest truth.


Miller:
Philosophers ought to teach themselves some mathematics. In geometry, there is a famous axiom called the Parallel postulate. It is famous because many mathematicians thought they could prove it. Modern mathematicians know that it is impossible to prove, because there is no contradiction in assuming it false. Likewise, it is impossible to disprove. The Parallel postulate is self-consistent. The negation of the Parallel postulate is also self-consistent. But in any given geometrical system, only one can be true. Thus, only one can be logically consistent.

Meta: But that's argument from analogy. That proves nothing about the modal argument.


Objection to the Definition of God

Miller
Definition: If God exists, then God necessarily exists.

If we define a fork to be an object with a handle and prongs, then we can give the following statement: "If a fork exists, then it has prongs". If a fork does not exist, we can't even talk about "it", much less ascribe it properties. If an object does not have prongs, then it is not a fork. That is the rationale behind the definition.

Meta: I think I already dealt with this stuff before. First of all you are making a mistake by calling it a defintion.The statement is conditional, definitions are not conditional statements so it can't really be one. It's more like a first premise. But it's based upon the definition of God as necessary and not contingent. That definition is not open to debate. It is not defining God into existence and the assertion that it is is merely clutching at straws. It's a failure to understand this is a given, it's what we believe. It can no more be disputed or disproved  as a valid premise than the statement that I love my mother or that my name is Joe.It's a basic given, the fundamental of a belief system and the assumed construct of the God concept that we talk about. you have to deal with it what we believe on it's own terms of not seek to discuss it. You can't dictate or alter our belief system just becuase you don't like it's fundamental premise.

Now proving that God can't exist necessity would come under the heading of showing a contradiction in the concept of God. That would be valid if you could do it, so good luck with that. You can't just make the premise go away just because you don't like.


Miller:

How can you disagree with a definition? Can't we define any object we like? If the definition makes no sense, can't we just say that the object doesn't exist?
Meta: no because your objective is not founded upon it not making sense or you  would be able to prove a contrdication in God. You passed on that before, you can't show me one. This concept makes sense. Its not a contradition and it's not something something makes no sense I understand it perfectly, it makes sense to me, it makes sense to the believer.

Ah but here's a major major MAJOR sign post: big read sign here saying "THIS IS IMPORTANT>"

Atheist and theist live in two different worlds. The world I live in is totally different from the world tha Miller lives in. It doesn't make sense to him because his ideology has led him to embrace only constructs that eject this notion from reality. But because I have come to see the universe in terms of this construct, and I find it true becuase works and my understanding of the world works perfectly with it, the two fit hand in glove, but they do so only because I can see it. The ground shifted for me and it has not so shifted for Mr. Miller. That is no poor reflection on him, it's just the way it is..

What this means is the way he looks at the world the world doesn't cooperate with the argument and the concept of necessary God does not make sense. I suspect this is in large part because he thinks of God as a big man in the sky and when I say "eternal necessary being" he thinks "a being" rather than being itself. Of course that's problematic because he's not going to see it unless he wants to. IF I try to explain it he will probably say (he has already no doubt) "what the hell is being itself?" We will be back at square one because he doesn't see the world that way either.

So that's what's really stand between us, this view of things that will not allow one to understand the concept and will not allow the other to let go of it.


Miller:

I don't know about philosophy, but in mathematics, you can't just define any object you like. Consider the set of all sets that do not include themselves (like the male barber who shaves all men who do not shave themselves). Call this Russell's Set. In "naive" set theory, you are allowed to define any set you like, including Russell's set. But Russell's set leads to a paradox. Therefore, "naive" set theory is inconsistent.
Meta: Part of the problem here is you are thinking of it as an object. That what I mean when I say atheist are "thing bound." You are wrapped up in the surface level of things and it's a matter of empirical objects vs objects of thought in your head and that's just putting everything on the level of thing hood. Along comes God who is not a "who" and not  "he" and not an "it" but something beyond understanding and you go "wait, If I can't understanding I can't control it, so I can't accept somethign I can't control."

That's really what it's all about. belief vs skepticism is about being willing to let go of control and be controlled by the ultimate, vs trying to control the ultimate and reduce the unconditioned to an "it." This is what I'm talking about above where I sate the caveat.


Miller:
Naturally, mathematicians want a set theory that doesn't have paradoxes. So they formulated Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory, which has specific rules dictating what sets you are allowed to define. These rules do not allow us to define Russell's Set, and thus avoid its paradoxes.

Meta: So much the worse for mathematicians. Jesus said "unless you become as an undergraduate, you can't enter the graduate school of heaven."

Miller:
Is modal logic more like "naive" set theory, or like Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory? Can you define anything you like, or do you have to follow specific rules? I suspect it depends on your choice of axioms. It's a difficult question that I don't feel qualified to answer, which is why I prefer objections to the premise.
Meta: Remember I said the problem goes back to thinking of it as an object (God). If you think of God as an object that can be proved, (then of course that also means it can be controlled) you are reducing God from the ground of being to an object in being. Then you are trying to ask if we can define objects anyway but you already doing that. You are doing exactly what you castigate the MA for doing, reducing reality to an object that you can control and then trying to define it yourself.

Of course that's the necessary first step in the battle for control of the object.  If you are doing to seek to ban God from his own reality then you have to first take control of the concept of of God as an object, control is what all reductionists seek. Reduction = control.

At this rate the  MA might be wrong-headed so the argument has been beaten by its own need to be proven. Not beaten by being false but beaten by being something that requires proof, the mere fact that it can be proved makes it worse. That's such an absurdity.

It's far more logical to think about it in its proper terms, not as an object but as a belief, as a apprehension, something religious belief lights upon and grasps as a perception. It's not a definition at all. It shares with definitions that both are merely illumination, not controls. We have to understand God as the unconditioned then we know we  can't jack around definitions at all.

The argument is saved and put back together by the realization that it's proving a ratinoal warrant not a proof that can't be disputed. It 'not proving an object but a concept. What's proved about the concept is the prima facie nature of it as a reason for belief. That's the very aspect that definition argument was designed by atheists to mask.


Miller:
For what it's worth, Immanuel Kant's original objection to the ontological argument might fit in this category. Kant argued that existence is not a property that you can include in the definition of an object.

Meta: that argument is by the modal nature of the nature of the argument. The difference in modality and propositional understanding per se is the addition of the type of being that is discussed (weather contingent or necessary). That status (modal) adds new information and that means in that case existence is a property because the type of existence discussed changes the situation. If necessary I can find a half dozen experts who say this. I don't have the quotes anymore but I have documented this with a huge number of logicians in the past. If you want to take my word for it save us both a lot of time.


Miller:
Alternate definition: The greatest being

Many proponents of ontological arguments like to have it both ways. On the one hand, we are allowed to define God. On the other hand, we are not allowed to define "the unicorn which necessarily exists."
Meta: The greatest begin is not an option. I mean by that not according to a huge portion of Christian thought. Sure the unaware, the uneducated, those not in the know, those who don't read theology, those "not with it" (aka people who disagree with me--I speak tongue in cheek) will say that God is the greatest being; but the Tillichian background from which I am working argues that God is not "a being" at all. God is the ground of being, being itself, not a being. God is the basis upon which all things cohere, not another thing in creation alongside "things." The idea of a supreme being is what I mean when I say atheist are bound up in "thing hood."

Miller:


But to be fair, they're not exactly parallel. In most ontological arguments, God is not defined as "the deity which necessarily exists". Rather, God has a much more specific definition.

Definition: If God exists, then s/he is the greatest being conceivable.
Additional premise: We can conceive of a being as greater by conceiving it as necessarily existing.

Meta: Anselm said "God is that which noting greater than can be conceived." He did not say "the greatest being," although he may have said it somewhere but the famous formation doesn't refer to a being. Tillich's criticism of the OA is that it is aimed at production of proof of "a supreme being." The problem with that is God cannot be "a being" since God is the basis of all being, the ground, being itself. Of course atheists harp upon the "greatest" idea, but that's becuase they don't understand the being itself thing becasue they are too bound up in thing hood to understand the concept. I am not saying atheists are not smart enough to get it or that no atheists do understand it, but by and large they tend not to because it's alien to the way they think.

Miller:
I think that this new definition hurts the ontological argument. 

Meta: So did Paul Tillich, and of course what Tillich thinks I think. ;-)

Miller:
For one thing, we have a whole new premise. I don't have any particular problem with the premise, but it just seems so extraneous and unnecessary. I refuse to argue with the additional premise, because it seems like a tactic to draw attention away from the real flaws of the ontological argument. In my naive optimism, I expected this tactic from conspiracy theorists, not philosophers.
Meta: If I was of a mind to defend the premise of greatest conceivable being you could not get away with just saying that. But since its' antithetical to my theological outlook I am actually in agreement with you to some extent. This this is a good time to point out the importance of reading theology. The Dawkins "theology is stupid I don't have to know about it" is so self defeating. If you know theology you could beat anyone trying to argue this version of the OA but just showing that it's contradicted by some of the major theologians throughout history; in that those who agree that God is being itself disagree that God is "a being" so God can't be "the supreme being" because the "supreme being" is still "a being."

Miller:
And the new definition does not help in the slightest.

Let's say that Russell is the name of "the male barber who shaves all men who do not shave themselves. As I said before, in Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory, there are rules against defining Russell. If we are not allowed to define Russell, then obviously, we are also not allowed to define Russell's wife! Russell's wife may not have any self-referential paradoxes, but she requires the existence of Russell, who does have self-referential paradoxes.

Let's say we have a rule against defining necessarily existing beings. Obviously, we are also not allowed to define the wives of any of those beings. We are not allowed to make any definition which implies necessary existence. If we accept the additional premise, then the definition of God implies necessary existence. Therefore we are not allowed to construct the definition of God.


Meta: by the same token not arguing the supreme being thing means this argument doesn't apply to my view.

28 comments:

miller said...

Blogging etiquette says you should link me.

I will begin with what I consider to be the most important section, which is logical consistency vs self-consistency.

Miller: Suppose that the old premise is false; it is not possible that God exists. The statement "If P, then Q" is always true if P is false. Likewise, the statement "If God exists, then Q" is always true, because God doesn't exist. It's true even if Q is a contradictory statement (ie "God is blue and not blue"). Therefore, the new premise is false; the existence of God implies a contradiction.

Meta: Truth by stipulation. you can't stipulate the non existence of God.


Wow, you really misunderstood the point of that paragraph. The point was to explain why the ontological argument works so that I can later explain why it doesn’t. It’s a proof by contrapositive. “God is impossible” implies “God is inconsistent”. Therefore, “God is consistent” implies “God is possible”. If you already disagree at this point, then you are disagreeing with the ontological argument itself.

Meta: This I do not understand. If P is false (and the premise is "if P then Q") then the false nature of P means Q is also false because Q depends upon P. This is true in modus ponens.
Meta: not what what said. you said if P is false than if P :. Q would mean Q is true.

No, that’s not modus ponens, and no, that’s not what I said. I thought that since you use the ontological argument, you might be familiar with the basic logical steps used to go from consistency to possibility. But I guess you’re only used to looking at it from a higher level. That’s too bad, because understanding the basic steps helps a lot to understand why the argument fails. But moving on…

Meta: that would assume there some disemboweled concept "logic" floating around out there that has nothing to do with objects per se.

I think you are reading too much into the names. “Self-consistency” and “logical consistency” mean exactly what I say they do, and the names are just the names I gave them.

Meta: The only real contradiction that would matter is self consistency.

On the contrary. The only thing that matters is logical consistency, because that’s what’s necessary to prove possibility. I know that I’m simply asserting this fact without proof, but that’s because the proof is in the logic, and I’m not having much success explaining the logic to you. I’m happy to try again, if you are willing.

Meta: you can't argue the world is not reflecting the truth of God because three dozen God arguments show that it does.

Well we’re not considering those other three dozen arguments now, are we? I am reminded of an old comic: http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=1099

Meta: You can't start by asserting there is no God any more than I can start by asserting that there is.

Just because I say “Suppose there is no God” does not actually mean that I am making an assertion. I’m making a supposition, a common step in any mathematical proof. In this case, I am supposing “God does not exist (in any possible world)” and also supposing “God is self-consistent”. These two statements are not contradictory. And that means that self-consistency is insufficient to prove possibility.

Miller: [talking about geometry]

Meta: But that's argument from analogy. That proves nothing about the modal argument.


It’s not an analogy, it’s a demonstration that self-consistency is insufficient to prove logical consistency. If you can’t understand the raw logic behind the argument, then what do I have left but analogies and demonstrative examples? You can’t have it both ways, dismissing the logic because it’s too hard to understand, and dismissing examples because they’re not rigorous enough for you.

My responses to other parts of your post may come later.

miller said...

Your comment system is giving me a lot of trouble. I submitted a single comment earlier, but I'm not sure if it went through once, twice, or not at all. Let me know if it disappeared.

miller said...

I read the rest of your post, and it’s kind of surreal. Mathematics interspersed with theological musings. You know, you aren’t obligated to quote me in whole, just the parts that you respond to. Oh, I also feel compelled to mention that I was referring to a different Kantian argument from the one you thought, but that one’s my fault since I wasn’t specific about it.

It doesn't make sense to him because his ideology has led him to embrace only constructs that eject this notion from reality.

I find it really amusing that as soon as I say the phrase, “makes no sense”, you assume that I am saying God makes no sense to me. In context, I was not referring to God, nor was I saying that it made no sense to me.

Look, the way I see it, the ontological argument isn’t about God at all. It’s about a bunch of logical propositions and statements which are intended to prove proposition G. And most people think G is God. If that’s what they want to think, then hey, at least it makes math and logic exciting. I am all for making math and logic exciting. But if you think God is something entirely different, then knock yourself out. If you concede that the ontological argument fails to prove G, then I’m happy with that result.

IF I try to explain it he will probably say (he has already no doubt) "what the hell is being itself?"

If you don’t like that particular question, I’m happy to supply any number of other questions that an atheist might ask. For example, “Does being itself imply any conclusions?”

The argument is saved and put back together by the realization that it's proving a ratinoal warrant not a proof that can't be disputed. It 'not proving an object but a concept. What's proved about the concept is the prima facie nature of it as a reason for belief.

Out of curiosity, I have some simple questions. If the ontological argument works, do you think that provides rational warrant for belief? If it doesn’t work, does that provide rational warrant for belief?

Metacrock said...

I read the rest of your post, and it’s kind of surreal. Mathematics interspersed with theological musings.

I'm not sure how to take that. you seem to be saying that somehow the presence of theology pollutes the purity of math, why can't it just mean that theologians can think? One of my favorite theology professors at SMU was studying to be a mathematician, studying in graduate school at Brown when he found Jesus and turned to theology.



You know, you aren’t obligated to quote me in whole, just the parts that you respond to. Oh, I also feel compelled to mention that I was referring to a different Kantian argument from the one you thought, but that one’s my fault since I wasn’t specific about it.


Ok super.I can't discuss an argument if I'm not told what it is.

Meta:"It doesn't make sense to him because his ideology has led him to embrace only constructs that eject this notion from reality."

I find it really amusing that as soon as I say the phrase, “makes no sense”, you assume that I am saying God makes no sense to me. In context, I was not referring to God, nor was I saying that it made no sense to me.


Its' not as though I haven't spent 10 years listening to several thousand atheists say that and mean it the way I said. Sorry for being Jaded, I have my reasons.

Look, the way I see it, the ontological argument isn’t about God at all. It’s about a bunch of logical propositions and statements which are intended to prove proposition G. And most people think G is God. If that’s what they want to think, then hey, at least it makes math and logic exciting. I am all for making math and logic exciting. But if you think God is something entirely different, then knock yourself out. If you concede that the ontological argument fails to prove G, then I’m happy with that result.

That's not the way I see the OA at all. I assume we are including the modal version right?

does it prove the existence of God? since existence is for contingent things then no how anything prove what God doesn't have? That may be too semantically based and pedantic to worry about.

I believe it furnishes a sound and valid reason for belief.

Meta:"IF I try to explain it he will probably say (he has already no doubt) "what the hell is being itself?"

If you don’t like that particular question, I’m happy to supply any number of other questions that an atheist might ask. For example, “Does being itself imply any conclusions?”

sure

Meta:K"The argument is saved and put back together by the realization that it's proving a ratinoal warrant not a proof that can't be disputed. It 'not proving an object but a concept. What's proved about the concept is the prima facie nature of it as a reason for belief."

Out of curiosity, I have some simple questions. If the ontological argument works, do you think that provides rational warrant for belief? If it doesn’t work, does that provide rational warrant for belief?

what do you mean by "works?" I think it works to provide a ratioanl warrant. I guess for me in terms of a logical argument "working" would mean it's both sound and valid. I think it is.

Metacrock said...

I read the rest of your post, and it’s kind of surreal. Mathematics interspersed with theological musings.

I'm not sure how to take that. you seem to be saying that somehow the presence of theology pollutes the purity of math, why can't it just mean that theologians can think? One of my favorite theology professors at SMU was studying to be a mathematician, studying in graduate school at Brown when he found Jesus and turned to theology.



You know, you aren’t obligated to quote me in whole, just the parts that you respond to. Oh, I also feel compelled to mention that I was referring to a different Kantian argument from the one you thought, but that one’s my fault since I wasn’t specific about it.


Ok--super. I can't discuss an argument if I'm not told what it is.

Meta:"It doesn't make sense to him because his ideology has led him to embrace only constructs that eject this notion from reality."

I find it really amusing that as soon as I say the phrase, “makes no sense”, you assume that I am saying God makes no sense to me. In context, I was not referring to God, nor was I saying that it made no sense to me.


Its' not as though I haven't spent 10 years listening to several thousand atheists say that and mean it the way I said. Sorry for being Jaded, I have my reasons.

Look, the way I see it, the ontological argument isn’t about God at all. It’s about a bunch of logical propositions and statements which are intended to prove proposition G. And most people think G is God. If that’s what they want to think, then hey, at least it makes math and logic exciting. I am all for making math and logic exciting. But if you think God is something entirely different, then knock yourself out. If you concede that the ontological argument fails to prove G, then I’m happy with that result.

That's not the way I see the OA at all. I assume we are including the modal version right?

does it prove the existence of God? since existence is for contingent things then no how anything prove what God doesn't have? That may be too semantically based and pedantic to worry about.

I believe it furnishes a sound and valid reason for belief.

Meta:"IF I try to explain it he will probably say (he has already no doubt) "what the hell is being itself?"

If you don’t like that particular question, I’m happy to supply any number of other questions that an atheist might ask. For example, “Does being itself imply any conclusions?”

sure

Meta:"The argument is saved and put back together by the realization that it's proving a ratinoal warrant not a proof that can't be disputed. It 'not proving an object but a concept. What's proved about the concept is the prima facie nature of it as a reason for belief."

Out of curiosity, I have some simple questions. If the ontological argument works, do you think that provides rational warrant for belief? If it doesn’t work, does that provide rational warrant for belief?

what do you mean by "works?" I think it works to provide a ratioanl warrant. I guess for me in terms of a logical argument "working" would mean it's both sound and valid. I think it is.

Metacrock said...

Your comment system is giving me a lot of trouble. I submitted a single comment earlier, but I'm not sure if it went through once, twice, or not at all. Let me know if it disappeared.

gives me trouble all the time. I hate it.

Metacrock said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Metacrock said...

It's too bad Miller doesn't understand what I argued. It could been a productive discussion. unfortunately he would rather hide behind little formulas rather than face real thought. His fear of being thought stupid is really based upon his need to humiliate others.

I know what contra positive is, but that doesn't' help muddle you call an argument. apparently you don't know what if p then q p :. q is. Look it up in Flew. that is exactly modus poenins. Your explanation of contra postie sucked, why didn't you just use the term.

you think I can't understand the arguments. i never said about them being too hard to understand, but I don't you understand them.

you totally miss the point about you are begging the question. You can't assign a possible world in which God doesn't exist if God is being itself,. Any possible world has to contain God if God is being. Otherwise a world without being is not a world.

You could come back and say "why use the model argument why not just say God is being itself?" why indeed. that's the first thing I said before I introduced the concept.

you barely understand the modal argument, but you don't understand possible worlds and you are not even on the same plant with the supera essential Godhead.

miller said...

Meta: I'm not sure how to take that. you seem to be saying that somehow the presence of theology pollutes the purity of math, why can't it just mean that theologians can think?

No, that's not really what I meant. Not everything I say is a cheap shot against theologians. I just thought your post had a bit of a surrealist aesthetic (which I can appreciate). It was a juxtaposition of two unrelated things.

It sounded like midway, you conceded that the ontological argument fails. Starting here:

Meta: If you think of God as an object that can be proved, (then of course that also means it can be controlled) you are reducing God from the ground of being to an object in being.

But I am not making my own argument, I'm just trying to refute the ontological argument. It is the ontological argument which reduces God to an object to be proven. If you don't the idea of God as an object, then why do you like the ontological argument?

Meta: At this rate the MA might be wrong-headed so the argument has been beaten by its own need to be proven.

This is the quote which made me think that you thought the ontological argument is wrong. The ontological argument attempts to prove the existence of an object, G. You don't think of God as an object, so G is not God.

You would prefer to use a modified form of the ontological argument, one which only proves rational warrant, not an object. I'm not going to try to refute this modified version, because you never state it explicitly.

But it sounds like moving the goalposts. First you attempt to use the ontological argument, which is well known for being a purely deductive argument. After I start talking about the flaws, you step back and declare that the argument only provides rational warrant for belief, rather than a full proof. But that just isn’t what the ontological argument is designed to do. If you wanted rational warrant, I think you are better off sticking with cosmological arguments or teleological arguments. Being a theist doesn’t obligate you to agree with every single argument that there is.

Metacrock said...

Meta: I'm not sure how to take that. you seem to be saying that somehow the presence of theology pollutes the purity of math, why can't it just mean that theologians can think?

No, that's not really what I meant. Not everything I say is a cheap shot against theologians. I just thought your post had a bit of a surrealist aesthetic (which I can appreciate). It was a juxtaposition of two unrelated things.

Theologians invented both the OA and the modal argument. I don't really see how they don't go together but it's no big deal.

It sounded like midway, you conceded that the ontological argument fails. Starting here:

Meta: If you think of God as an object that can be proved, (then of course that also means it can be controlled) you are reducing God from the ground of being to an object in being.

But only from in relation to the inadequate concept of God that's usually argued for by those who employ the modal argument. I did not say the logic of the argument is wrong. I said the conception of God that is argued for is wrong.

But I am not making my own argument, I'm just trying to refute the ontological argument. It is the ontological argument which reduces God to an object to be proven. If you don't the idea of God as an object, then why do you like the ontological argument?

Not an inherent combo. I'm breaking in a new understanding.The conception of God as an object is not mandated by the modal argument, it's just the traditional mistakes that's been made going back to Scholasticism.

Meta: At this rate the MA might be wrong-headed so the argument has been beaten by its own need to be proven.

This is the quote which made me think that you thought the ontological argument is wrong. The ontological argument attempts to prove the existence of an object, G. You don't think of God as an object, so G is not God.

I see but I meant that it's a mistake to think this because we can use the logic of modality with the conception of being itself. There might be problems with doing that but I'm just thinking it through.

You would prefer to use a modified form of the ontological argument, one which only proves rational warrant, not an object. I'm not going to try to refute this modified version, because you never state it explicitly.


Plantinga makes a much much like the rational warrant thing he uses his same old version of the MA.

But it sounds like moving the goalposts. First you attempt to use the ontological argument, which is well known for being a purely deductive argument. After I start talking about the flaws, you step back and declare that the argument only provides rational warrant for belief, rather than a full proof. But that just isn’t what the ontological argument is designed to do. If you wanted rational warrant, I think you are better off sticking with cosmological arguments or teleological arguments. Being a theist doesn’t obligate you to agree with every single argument that there is.

Since PLantinga makes that move I think it must be pertty defensible.

what might be anvant guard is using it with Tillich's view of God. That's the radical bit that i'm trying to work out.

what pissed me off about your other comment was that you seemed to start doing he same old ridicule stuff that most atheist do. saying the logic is too hard for me and stuff. especially after I admit to weakness in that area and assured you not to feel that i'm juding your inteligence then you say things that imply that you are judging mine.

although I might be too sensitive because I got off CARM having a reducible fest with a bunch of Dawamentalists.

I apologize if I misread you or overreacted.

Metacrock said...

Meta: I'm not sure how to take that. you seem to be saying that somehow the presence of theology pollutes the purity of math, why can't it just mean that theologians can think?

No, that's not really what I meant. Not everything I say is a cheap shot against theologians. I just thought your post had a bit of a surrealist aesthetic (which I can appreciate). It was a juxtaposition of two unrelated things.

Theologians invented both the OA and the modal argument. I don't really see how they don't go together but it's no big deal.

It sounded like midway, you conceded that the ontological argument fails. Starting here:

Meta: If you think of God as an object that can be proved, (then of course that also means it can be controlled) you are reducing God from the ground of being to an object in being.

But only from in relation to the inadequate concept of God that's usually argued for by those who employ the modal argument. I did not say the logic of the argument is wrong. I said the conception of God that is argued for is wrong.

But I am not making my own argument, I'm just trying to refute the ontological argument. It is the ontological argument which reduces God to an object to be proven. If you don't the idea of God as an object, then why do you like the ontological argument?

Not an inherent combo. I'm breaking in a new understanding.The conception of God as an object is not mandated by the modal argument, it's just the traditional mistakes that's been made going back to Scholasticism.

Meta: At this rate the MA might be wrong-headed so the argument has been beaten by its own need to be proven.

This is the quote which made me think that you thought the ontological argument is wrong. The ontological argument attempts to prove the existence of an object, G. You don't think of God as an object, so G is not God.

I see but I meant that it's a mistake to think this because we can use the logic of modality with the conception of being itself. There might be problems with doing that but I'm just thinking it through.

You would prefer to use a modified form of the ontological argument, one which only proves rational warrant, not an object. I'm not going to try to refute this modified version, because you never state it explicitly.


Plantinga makes a much much like the rational warrant thing he uses his same old version of the MA.

But it sounds like moving the goalposts. First you attempt to use the ontological argument, which is well known for being a purely deductive argument. After I start talking about the flaws, you step back and declare that the argument only provides rational warrant for belief, rather than a full proof. But that just isn’t what the ontological argument is designed to do. If you wanted rational warrant, I think you are better off sticking with cosmological arguments or teleological arguments. Being a theist doesn’t obligate you to agree with every single argument that there is.

Since PLantinga makes that move I think it must be pertty defensible.

what might be anvant guard is using it with Tillich's view of God. That's the radical bit that i'm trying to work out.

what pissed me off about your other comment was that you seemed to start doing he same old ridicule stuff that most atheist do. saying the logic is too hard for me and stuff. especially after I admit to weakness in that area and assured you not to feel that i'm juding your inteligence then you say things that imply that you are judging mine.

although I might be too sensitive because I got off CARM having a reducible fest with a bunch of Dawamentalists.

I apologize if I misread you or overreacted.

miller said...

Meta: If P is false (and the premise is "if P then Q") then the false nature of P means Q is also false because Q depends upon P. This is true in modus ponens.

What you are describing is this:
If P then Q
P is false
Therefore Q is false.

Modus ponens is this:
If P then Q
P is true
Therefore Q is true.

It's an elementary error, not a big deal. I'm sorry that I can't correct this without making you feel insulted.

Meta: you said if P is false than if P :. Q would mean Q is true.

What you think I said:
P is false
P :. Q
Therefore Q is true

What I really said:
P is false
Therefore P :. Q

These comments suggest that you didn't really understand what was going on in that paragraph. And that's why you couldn't understand why logical consistency is so important. Sorry that I can't make my writing any clearer, but avoiding symbolic logic is a pretty severe limitation.

I'm sure that if the Barefoot Bum shows up (and he might), I will seem pretty mild in comparison.

miller said...

It probably doesn't surprise you that I have a very low opinion of Plantinga. I do not, for instance, think that "rational warrant" is good concept, but I'm playing along because I think arguing against it would be a distraction.

I have not read any Plantinga, but I'm at least familiar with Wikipedia's exposition of his argument. It never struck me as particularly different from other versions of the modal ontological argument. I do not see any changes that are relevant to my objection.

Metacrock said...

Meta: If P is false (and the premise is "if P then Q") then the false nature of P means Q is also false because Q depends upon P. This is true in modus ponens.

What you are describing is this:
If P then Q
P is false
Therefore Q is false.

right

Modus ponens is this:
If P then Q
P is true
Therefore Q is true.

It's an elementary error, not a big deal. I'm sorry that I can't correct this without making you feel insulted.

sorry I must say the same for you. Here's the entry in Flew:

"Modus ponens: mood that affirms, in its basic form an argument that runs 'if P than Q, P therefore Q' see affirming the antecedent."

that's how I can remember it, P stands for affirm.


Meta: you said if P is false than if P :. Q would mean Q is true.

What you think I said:
P is false
P :. Q
Therefore Q is true

What I really said:
P is false
Therefore P :. Q

right ok see this is why I prefer using discursive reasoning. It's easier on a dyslexic. Those symbols get one turned around. I can handle concepts.

These comments suggest that you didn't really understand what was going on in that paragraph. And that's why you couldn't understand why logical consistency is so important.


I thought that might be what you meant but I couldn't be sure. You have not yet explained the difference between self consistency and logical consistency. I think your notion of self consistency is trivial and turns on a mere technicality.


Sorry that I can't make my writing any clearer, but avoiding symbolic logic is a pretty severe limitation.


It leaves you less to hide behind you have to actually understand the concepts without the symbols. I can see how that's a limitation for someone who wants to hind behind formulas and the mystique of the "rightness of math."

I'm sure that if the Barefoot Bum shows up (and he might), I will seem pretty mild in comparison.

If that happens I'll email Plantinga, he usually answers. He's remarkably patient with my stupid questions.

Metacrock said...

It probably doesn't surprise you that I have a very low opinion of Plantinga. I do not, for instance, think that "rational warrant" is good concept, but I'm playing along because I think arguing against it would be a distraction.

I can defend it.I do so in chapter 2 of my book. It's a find concept. It has limitations but there's nothing wrong with it.

If you read Alston you see that long list of philosopher's views on it in the epistemology book. But he's very inconsistent in that all of them share self evidence as definition, at least by implication, then Alston himself says his standard and rational warrant are not really different. So Rose by another name kind of thing.


I have not read any Plantinga, but I'm at least familiar with Wikipedia's exposition of his argument.

Wiki is good for stuff about comic books, anything else I don't trust it. How can you have a reference source that anyone can change and that may change daily? How do know some atheist hadn't been at it the day before you read it?

you are obviously a better scholar than that.




It never struck me as particularly different from other versions of the modal ontological argument. I do not see any changes that are relevant to my objection.

He basically just does everything Harsthonre did. I'm more familiar with Hartshonrne's work. He's well worth reading. But Plantinga is the man since the death of H.

miller said...

If P is logically consistent, that means:
"P :. Q and not-Q" is false

Logical consistency implies that P is true. Or, if we are using modal logic, then it implies that P is at least possible.

Self-consistency is the more intuitive concept. If P is self-consistent, that means that there are no contradictions in its definition. To fully verify that P is self consistent, we would have to go through a long list of questions:

Is P defined as both red and not-red?
Is P defined as both round and square?
etc. etc.

But even though it is difficult to verify, it is still intuitively true that most concepts are self-consistent. This is why Hartshorne thought he could simply assert consistency as a premise.

The problem is that self-consistency is insufficient to establish logical consistency, which is what is really needed. I don't think you can simply assert logical consistency.

Metacrock said...

If P is logically consistent, that means:
"P :. Q and not-Q" is false

Logical consistency implies that P is true. Or, if we are using modal logic, then it implies that P is at least possible.

Just as one can't make God exists by defining him as existing one can make God go away by a technicality of P or Q. So that is meaningless unless, this is the point--you link it discursively to an idea that actually negate God.

The only kind of idea I can see that would do this is one that is self contradiction.



Self-consistency is the more intuitive concept. If P is self-consistent, that means that there are no contradictions in its definition. To fully verify that P is self consistent, we would have to go through a long list of questions:


so? the alternative is to arbitrary stipulate that there can't be a God, as I was trying to say before. You must go through such a list and argue each one because apart from that there's no a priori reason why they can't be a God.

Is P defined as both red and not-red?
Is P defined as both round and square?
etc. etc.


you have to demonstrate that there is such a contradiction in the concept of God--mind not to confuse contradiction with mystical theology.

But even though it is difficult to verify, it is still intuitively true that most concepts are self-consistent. This is why Hartshorne thought he could simply assert consistency as a premise.

I'm not sure he did. If he did I'm not sure that's why>that's more like my idea. that's not to take credit for it, more like talking the blame. I think H has an idea that was more math like.

The problem is that self-consistency is insufficient to establish logical consistency, which is what is really needed. I don't think you can simply assert logical consistency.

bull shit. self contradiction is the very essence of illogical. If something is self contradictory there is nothing more you can do to make it be illogical.

what is the most basic rule of logic the most palliative the most ancinet the first one? It's either A = A or A is not ~A.

what is it to say A is ~A it's contradiction. its' a self contradiction. that's called the law of non contradiction. So if something is said to be A and not A same place/time then that's said to be a contradiction. that's bot h a self contradiction and illogical at the same time.

miller said...

Meta: If something is self contradictory there is nothing more you can do to make it be illogical.

What you are saying:
Self-inconsistency implies logical inconsistency.

The contrapositive of your statement:
Logical consistency implies self-consistency.

What I said:
Self-consistency does not establish logical consistency.

Do you understand why what you said fails to refute what I said? P :. Q is not the same as Q :. P

Metacrock said...

Meta: If something is self contradictory there is nothing more you can do to make it be illogical.

What you are saying:
Self-inconsistency implies logical inconsistency.

The contrapositive of your statement:
Logical consistency implies self-consistency.

What I said:
Self-consistency does not establish logical consistency.

Do you understand why what you said fails to refute what I said? P :. Q is not the same as Q :. P


what I said defends my argument. You are wrong. I demosntated conclusivley and obviousyl that self contradiction is logical contradiction.

how could hey be other wise? it's absurd to think that a self contradiction is not a logical contradiction. that's just ludicrous.

if you don't have formula for it maybe it's non formal but it's true. Obviously sound.

what is a contradiction? why would a self contradiction not mean that something illogical is taking place?

Metacrock said...

Look, the issue is for god not to exist God must be impossible. Let's say that you are right. What's the bottom line. Did you that God is contradictory either way? no.

Maybe God has to exist, maybe there's no such thing as God begin impossible that's the argument works because God has to exist?

the real issue at the back of it all is not the issue is self contradiction logical contradiction but can God be impossible.

If you can't Demosthenes any way in which God would be contradiction then God isp roved. Just you don't show that doesn't mean the argument is not good it means it's sound.

No law of logic says god has to be contradictory.

Metacrock said...

I am going to answer the consistency issue more fully on Wednesday day in a main blog post.

miller said...

Meta: how could hey be other wise? it's absurd to think that a self contradiction is not a logical contradiction. that's just ludicrous.

There. You made the same mistake again. Yes, something that isn't self-consistent cannot be logically consistent. But it doesn't work the other way. Something that is self consistent need not be logically consistent.

Meta: if you don't have formula for it maybe it's non formal but it's true. Obviously sound.

"Obvious" isn't enough. If it's so obvious, why doesn't it apply to my geometry example?

Meta: Let's say that you are right. What's the bottom line. Did you that God is contradictory either way? no.

Let's say God is impossible. Then yes, God is logically inconsistent. This is how the reasoning goes:

G is necessarily false
Therefore "G :. (Q and not Q)"

See, not that hard.

"Meta: No law of logic says god has to be contradictory."

Agree. But that doesn't imply anything. You can say that it's at least possible that God is possible, but then we're dealing with meta-modalities. Meta-modalities are really tricky to deal with, and there are major issues translating from intuitive statements to logic. You can forsake the logic if you want, but then you've forsaken the ontological argument which relies on the logic.

Metacrock said...

Meta: how could hey be other wise? it's absurd to think that a self contradiction is not a logical contradiction. that's just ludicrous.

There. You made the same mistake again. Yes, something that isn't self-consistent cannot be logically consistent. But it doesn't work the other way. Something that is self consistent need not be logically consistent.

It is not a mistake, what we have here is a failure to communicate. what you said said is true. . Something that is self consistent need not be logically consistent. that is true.

your mistake is in thinking that that says something about the argument.

The ultimate issue is not a question of "Is God logically consistent." I don't have to prove that. The only question is, is God impossible. self contradiction is an example (only one example) something that would mean God is impossible. So that's an exmaple of the question "what would it take to show God is impossible.

that's doesn't mean that to make the argument work I have to show that God is logically consistent. You have to show that he's not.


Meta: "if you don't have formula for it maybe it's non formal but it's true. Obviously sound."

"Obvious" isn't enough. If it's so obvious, why doesn't it apply to my geometry example?

I don't know that it doesn't. Let not confuse my lack of skill with the inherent weakness in my position. But I think you are turend around in assuming who has what burden and what needs proving.



Meta: "Let's say that you are right. What's the bottom line. Did you that God is contradictory either way? no."

Let's say God is impossible. Then yes, God is logically inconsistent. This is how the reasoning goes:

I understand that. But then you turn around confuse the hypothetical with a proven fact. Just because we say "if God is impossible blah blah" then that doesn't mean God is impossible.

you still have to show that, the only way I know of to that is to show self inconstancy bu that may be just my limited sill set and imagination.


G is necessarily false
Therefore "G :. (Q and not Q)"

See, not that hard.


I never said it was hard and I never said I didn't' understand. stop patting yourself on the back because you know a list of symbols that I don't know as well. I read Greek, do you? This is not the same as being right in the argument.

you are still working the realm of "If."


"Meta: No law of logic says god has to be contradictory."

Agree. But that doesn't imply anything. You can say that it's at least possible that God is possible, but then we're dealing with meta-modalities.

Yes but I think if I can conceive of God without contradiction (it's up to the skeptic to show the contradiction) then I have a prima facie reason to assert that God is not impossible.

it is then your burden to show that there's more to it and God is impossible.

Metacrock said...

Meta: how could hey be other wise? it's absurd to think that a self contradiction is not a logical contradiction. that's just ludicrous.

There. You made the same mistake again. Yes, something that isn't self-consistent cannot be logically consistent. But it doesn't work the other way. Something that is self consistent need not be logically consistent.

It is not a mistake, what we have here is a failure to communicate. what you said said is true. . Something that is self consistent need not be logically consistent. that is true.

your mistake is in thinking that that says something about the argument.

The ultimate issue is not a question of "Is God logically consistent." I don't have to prove that. The only question is, is God impossible. self contradiction is an example (only one example) something that would mean God is impossible. So that's an exmaple of the question "what would it take to show God is impossible.

that's doesn't mean that to make the argument work I have to show that God is logically consistent. You have to show that he's not.


Meta: "if you don't have formula for it maybe it's non formal but it's true. Obviously sound."

"Obvious" isn't enough. If it's so obvious, why doesn't it apply to my geometry example?

I don't know that it doesn't. Let not confuse my lack of skill with the inherent weakness in my position. But I think you are turend around in assuming who has what burden and what needs proving.



Meta: "Let's say that you are right. What's the bottom line. Did you that God is contradictory either way? no."

Let's say God is impossible. Then yes, God is logically inconsistent. This is how the reasoning goes:

I understand that. But then you turn around confuse the hypothetical with a proven fact. Just because we say "if God is impossible blah blah" then that doesn't mean God is impossible.

you still have to show that, the only way I know of to that is to show self inconstancy bu that may be just my limited sill set and imagination.


G is necessarily false
Therefore "G :. (Q and not Q)"

See, not that hard.


I never said it was hard and I never said I didn't' understand. stop patting yourself on the back because you know a list of symbols that I don't know as well. I read Greek, do you? This is not the same as being right in the argument.

you are still working the realm of "If."

Metacrock said...

"Meta: No law of logic says god has to be contradictory."

Agree. But that doesn't imply anything. You can say that it's at least possible that God is possible, but then we're dealing with meta-modalities.

Yes but I think if I can conceive of God without contradiction (it's up to the skeptic to show the contradiction) then I have a prima facie reason to assert that God is not impossible.

it is then your burden to show that there's more to it and God is impossible.




Meta-modalities are really tricky to deal with, and there are major issues translating from intuitive statements to logic. You can forsake the logic if you want, but then you've forsaken the ontological argument which relies on the logic.


this is what I meant by hiding behind the symbols. You know the symbols, you don't want to come out from behind the deal wtih the lgoic. you want the symbols to replace the logic and pretend that the symbols themselves are he logic. so you say not knowing the symbols is "forsaking the lgic."

I have not forsaken the logic you have. you have confused it with the symbols that make talking about it easier (for those who speak that language).

I could start writing in Greek and then proclaim my victory when you can't answer.

so if you can't deal with the argument in the discursive form in which I'm trying to work then I have to conclude you don't really get what the symbols are saying. You are manipulating symbols to mean what you want but that doesn't' make your application right.

Tell me discursively why I have the burden to show that God is not impossible if I have presented a prima face understanding of the argument?

I have no reason to think that God is contradictory why should I think that? if I don't think surely it's burden to show me why it is.

all you've said so far is what happens in the hypothetical case that you prove your point, but you have not proved your point.


Meta-modalities are really tricky to deal with, and there are major issues translating from intuitive statements to logic. You can forsake the logic if you want, but then you've forsaken the ontological argument which relies on the logic.


this is what I meant by hiding behind the symbols. You know the symbols, you don't want to come out from behind the deal wtih the lgoic. you want the symbols to replace the logic and pretend that the symbols themselves are he logic. so you say not knowing the symbols is "forsaking the lgic."

I have not forsaken the logic you have. you have confused it with the symbols that make talking about it easier (for those who speak that language).

I could start writing in Greek and then proclaim my victory when you can't answer.

so if you can't deal with the argument in the discursive form in which I'm trying to work then I have to conclude you don't really get what the symbols are saying. You are manipulating symbols to mean what you want but that doesn't' make your application right.

Tell me discursively why I have the burden to show that God is not impossible if I have presented a prima face understanding of the argument?

I have no reason to think that God is contradictory why should I think that? if I don't think surely it's burden to show me why it is.

all you've said so far is what happens in the hypothetical case that you prove your point, but you have not proved your point.

miller said...

Meta: you still have to show that, the only way I know of to that is to show self inconstancy bu that may be just my limited sill set and imagination.

The reason you can't think of anything besides self contradiction isn't because you lack imagination. It's because there doesn't really need to be anything. God could just be impossible, for all we know. It could also be impossible that there is no God. One or the other.

Why do I have the burden of proof, when there is nothing to show, nothing that can be shown, nothing that needs to be shown, and nothing that you can show either? And no, you don't have any burden of proof either, because there is nothing to show. The ontological argument simply isn't a good framework to determine whether God exists or not.

Meta: so if you can't deal with the argument in the discursive form in which I'm trying to work then I have to conclude you don't really get what the symbols are saying. You are manipulating symbols to mean what you want but that doesn't' make your application right.

As you've seen, I have a particular method of analysis, which is to first do the logic to derive an inference. Then I carefully translate the inference to English. Sorry that you don't like this method, but I think it's pretty solid.

The main issue is that translation is difficult, which is why I put so much focus on it. Earlier, you said that translation is a "useless gimmick". Why is it that you think my method is so faulty, and yet you trivialize its biggest issue, translation?

Saying that it's at least possible that God is possible is really messy because there are two kinds of possibilities nested in each other. It's possible(1) that God is possible(2). For all we know, there exists at least one possible world where God exists. For all we know, there doesn't. One or the other. This isn't really any different from what I was saying above.

Metacrock said...

Meta: you still have to show that, the only way I know of to that is to show self inconstancy bu that may be just my limited sill set and imagination.

The reason you can't think of anything besides self contradiction isn't because you lack imagination. It's because there doesn't really need to be anything. God could just be impossible, for all we know. It could also be impossible that there is no God. One or the other.


"just becasue" has never been a very satisfying answer to me. I don't believe that anything could be impossible "just because." there has to be a reason of some kind either sufficient or necessary or final or whatever.

Why do I have the burden of proof, when there is nothing to show, nothing that can be shown, nothing that needs to be shown, and nothing that you can show either?

If and when the PF burden is met. The believe begins with the BOP but it shifts with the prima facie case.

since I'm arguing ratinoal warrant anyway it's not as tough to find a rational warrant.




And no, you don't have any burden of proof either, because there is nothing to show. The ontological argument simply isn't a good framework to determine whether God exists or not.


anyone who asserts an argument has the burden to prove it.

Meta: so if you can't deal with the argument in the discursive form in which I'm trying to work then I have to conclude you don't really get what the symbols are saying. You are manipulating symbols to mean what you want but that doesn't' make your application right.

As you've seen, I have a particular method of analysis, which is to first do the logic to derive an inference. Then I carefully translate the inference to English. Sorry that you don't like this method, but I think it's pretty solid.


Yes I wasn't really say you can't understand it. I was actually saying "I have totally confidence that you can discuss these ideas discursively."

The main issue is that translation is difficult, which is why I put so much focus on it. Earlier, you said that translation is a "useless gimmick". Why is it that you think my method is so faulty, and yet you trivialize its biggest issue, translation?


Well I was overstating my case there.

Saying that it's at least possible that God is possible is really messy because there are two kinds of possibilities nested in each other. It's possible(1) that God is possible(2). For all we know, there exists at least one possible world where God exists. For all we know, there doesn't. One or the other. This isn't really any different from what I was saying above.


I don't think it's possible that God is merely possible. that's one of the concrete realities that come out of the OA. if it doesn't prove God it at least proves that.

I have Plantinga's answer to argument I'm going to put it up. I'm sure it will seem lack luster, He obviously dashed it he didn't' make a major project out of it.

miller said...

I feel like we should wrap up this discussion, I have work to do. Maybe I will comment further if you write another post as you said you would. But for now, final comment:

Meta: I don't think it's possible that God is merely possible.

This has come up before, but whenever we use the word "possible", I mean "at least possible" while you usually mean "merely possible". Just be aware that the language barrier is there.

The problem is that axiom S5 applies to possible(2), but not to possible(1). If I say, "It is possible(1) that P is necessary", that means "For all we know, P is necessary", but it does not imply "P is necessary".

Therefore, we could indeed say that God is merely possible(1). When we assert that God is at least possible, we have to make sure that we are thinking of the right kind of possibility.