Thursday, July 22, 2010

Answering Ojbections to Model Argument.

I'm not going to spend the rest of my life answering these arguments. But Hermit (regular poster and extreme critic of this blog--well, he's Canadian--) produced a link that is a skeptic attacking modal arguments. I am going to make some comments on one of his attacks. From Skeptic's Play, "a modal ontological argument."  

scroll down to second article on the page.

This guy writes in symbolic logic which would lead one to believe that he knows modal logic. Yet I think many of his uses are misleading and he doesn't really unpack everything that's in the argument.  If he understands it he's being a bit shady in his dealings with it.


To briefly review the simpler ontological argument: The argument says that we can define God as a necessarily existing being. Therefore, by definition, God exists. However, this takes the power of definition too far. The most we can say is that if there exists an object which we can properly call God, then that object, by definition, exists. If God exists, then God exists.
Right away he begin with a dishonesty (let's skip over the bad understanding of the Supra essential Godhead in the use of "a necessarily existing being" since most of the users of model arguments don't read Tillich, and Tillich criticizes them for that very thing) but this is a false version of the argument up front. Why do these guys have such an conversation to quoting actual theistic arguments up front? Is it becuase they know if they do that they can't beat them? None of the major users of modal ontological argument say "we can define God as X therefore God must exist." The conclusion  of God's existence is not predicated upon the definition but upon the consequences of demonstrating that the definition by corroborate to something real. Atheists believe that this is what theists are doing so their criticism always follows that line even though it's made plain that it's not the case!


The first line of the argument I use says:

(1) If God exists, he must exist necessarily, if God does not exist his existence is impossible.
See the difference? I don't' say "Since if define God as existing then he must exist." It begins conditionally, "If God exists."
 His confused ramblings about the nature of definition are designed to destroy the belief system so that one is no longer defending one's belief but the straw man the atheist wishes him to defend:

The most we can say is that if there exists an object which we can properly call God, then that object, by definition, exists. If God exists, then God exists.
This is by No means "the most" we can say. Since Christians believe that God is the basis of all reality, being itself, the ground of all being, then we have to define God in that way, period. We choice but to do so because anything less would not be that in which we believe. In fact Anselm does this when he says "the greatest thought should be about the greatest reality." That's basically what Anslem's original ontological argument was saying. This is not defining into existence because it takes up form a bleieve system that is already in place and merely asserts the ontologically necessary nature of that thing. Of course the atheist can't understand this because bound up in thing hood. He can't reason from from the basis of realization of God's reality due to the depth of being so he has to reason backwards from things and because that's all he can do he imagines the believer must be doing so as well. This is why atheist wind up making the mistake of thinking that "the reason" to believe is because we need to explain how things came to be. Actually this is really far removed from the core reasons for belief.

The problem with the argument is that it's rather useless to define God as a being which exists. But hold on! I never defined God as a being which exists. I defined God as a being which necessarily exists. This definition is not quite as useless. We can say that if there exists an object which we can properly call God, then that object, by definition, necessarily exists. If God exists, then God necessarily exists.
By definition of God: g g

Now here he is right in that the model aspect, which is taking account of the particular kind of existence under discussion add something to the nature of the case and is more than just saying "I define God as existing." It's a conditional statement however, as my statement above "If god exists he must exist necessarily" and this guy is not reflecting this fact. He acknowledges the model aspect he's not recognizing the conditional nature of it.


The letter "g" represents the specific statement "God exists". Note, however, we did not completely define God. In fact, we could replace God with all kinds of absurd objects, and the proof would still hold. This is actually quite a problem for the ontological argument (as well as many other proofs of God). The proof is valid for any statement p as long as pp is necessarily true. For instance, we could replace the object God with "the invisible pink unicorn which necessarily exists" or "a left shoe which necessarily exists".
 What's he's saying here is total bull shit. It's quite strange that this guy knows symbols for modal logic (which I don't) but he still doesn't know the argument now does he know the literature. He could really do with reading John Hick's book The Many faced Argument. This approach (that we could define God in any number of ways) is nothing more than one of the oldest arguments again Anselm, and one of the most fallacious, the Perfect Island argument by Gaunilo (1033-1109) (see On Behalf of the Fool). It just says we should say God is a prefect island and by the same logic the argument would prove that a perfect island exists, therefore, something must be wrong with this logic since it would prove such a ridiculous thing. But the answer is that it would not be possible to assert God is a perfect island (perfect tomato, purple, cow, pink unicorn, swizzle stick,  or what have you) unless that thing was eternal, necessary, and the ground of being. Why assert that the necessary ground of being is some contingent thing like an island or a tomato? At that point, since it has to have the attributes of God it is God then there's no point in linking it with things that are clearly not God, that contingent, temporal, man made and so on. What it really boils down to is that we cannot define God in any old way we wish. There is a very strict definition of God, that dis guided by the basic belief systems that embrace the notion of God. In all major world religions these same basic attributes are always there for the major God, the father God, those are: the creator God: eternal, necessary, ground of all being. It matters how one defines it and you can't do so in just any old way.


Nonetheless, let's continue onward. I'm going to go through the proof, step by step.
  • Theorem 1: ¬g ¬g (The contrapositive of the definition of g)
  • Theorem 2: ¬g ¬g (Using the definition of to substitute into Theorem 1)
  • Theorem 3: (¬g ¬g) (Application of Axiom N to Theorem 2)
  • Theorem 4: ¬g ¬g (Application of Axiom K to Theorem 3)
  • Theorem 5: ¬g¬g (Axiom 5 applied to ¬g)
  • Theorem 6: ¬g ¬g (Combining Theorems 4 and 5)
  • Theorem 7: ¬¬g ¬¬g (The contrapositive of theorem 6)
  • Theorem 8: gg (Using the definition of to substitute into Theorem 7 twice)
  • Theorem 9: g g (Combining Theorem 8 with Axiom T)
You may have noticed that I did not prove what I set out to prove. I only proved g g, which says that if g is possible, then it is true. That's not quite the same as saying that g is true, but it's still something. Now, all we have to do is prove that g is at least possibly true.

And here is where the problems begin. All the previous work was purely logical manipulation, and is necessarily true if you accept the axioms of modal logic. I thought the axioms were pretty reasonable, and rejecting them would be too high a price to pay. However, it seems we need another premise, g. To support this premise, lots of arguments have been offered by various people, but I don't think they're nearly as fun or rigorous as the modal logic section.

That's all basically true. But of course the argument does turn on not the idea that g is possible the idea that g is not merely possible. If g is not impossible then since g can't be merely possible (might or not might not be) then g must exist. In other words, g must be impossible or else g must be. Thus since g is not impossible  g must be. He's wrong here again where I put it in red, he changes the meaning of the argument. This is why I don't like this guy because he tries get away with subtle changes that have profound implications and yet he carefully avoids the real answers that theists have given. The subtle difference is that g can be merely possible so it's not a matter of if g is possible then g must be true but rather that g is not impossible.

One common argument for g is that g is self-consistent. I can conceive of a God without having any contradictions. Based on my current knowledge, it is entirely possible that God exists. It's possible that God exists, therefore God exists.
Again he does not present this properly.He should really be saying that the basis for asserting that God is not impossible is that there are contradictions to belief in God. The atheist has the burden to assert what criteria would prove the impossibility of God. Its' not fair to expect the theist to mount an endless litany covering every possibility when the argument is rightfully the atheists burden to prove. That is if the theist has done his job properly and not argued 'this proves the existence of God' but set it up the right way and argued rational warrant.


The problem is that this same argument seems to apply to the statement ¬g. ¬g is a self-consistent statement. I can conceive of a world in which God does not exist without having any contradictions. Indeed, I can conceive of a world where nothing at all exists, where there could not possibly be any contradictions since there is nothing around to contradict. Based on my current knowledge, it is entirely possible that God does not exist. Therefore we can take the premise ¬g. By Theorem 2, we conclude ¬g: God does not exist.

Obviously, the premises g and ¬g cannot both be true. Either God exists in all possible worlds, or God exists in none of them. Since we used the same argument for both both g and ¬g, that argument must be fallacious. But where exactly did it go wrong?

The error, I think, is in the concept of . g does not quite mean "g is possibly true." In fact, it means "Among all possible worlds, there exists at least one in which g is true." The concept of "All possible worlds" was never exactly defined. In fact, the definition is arbitrary. I could have declared "all possible worlds" to be our world and our world alone, and you never would have been able to prove me wrong from the axioms.
Possible words don't change the argument. It's just a  means of introducing modes of being, possible worlds are contingencies, every contingent thing represents a possibility of its own negation. It' garbage to thin that "possible world" is not defined. That's a major main stay of reformed apologetic everyone from Plantinga to Hartshorne has defined it well.  that is not problem anyway because all it means is in the likelihood of each contingency negated. what he says declaring all possible worlds to be our world is dead wrong. He doesn't set it up right, but the modal argument be made without the possible word's even being mentioned. That's another argument, it's a good argument and he's treating it wrongly, but that's not germane to this one.



I also could have declared "all possible worlds" to be the set of worlds which are metaphysically possible (a rather complex philosophical concept). Under this definition, we would not be able to prove g or ¬g.
He's made a red herring. He can't answer the actual argument that he started with so he's shifted to something that's not even part of Hartshorne's modal argument so the can harp on it. The reader is diverted from the fact that he never answered the argument to begin with.



However, if I had declared "all possible worlds" to mean the set of all worlds which are self-consistent, then we would run into problems. Because under this definition, both g and ¬g appear to be true (unless the concept of God is inconsistent). And they contradict each other.

But no one did. another red herring.


Similarly, if I had declared "all possible worlds" to mean the set of all worlds which are epistemologically possible (meaning, it may be true, for all we know), then we would have the same contradiction.

And what happens if we construct a pathological definition of "all possible worlds" such that g is true and ¬g is not true? Then I might question Axiom T, since it is no longer obvious that our world is included among this so-called set of "all possible worlds."
The possible world's thing is easily defended. But I am not going to do so here because it's not part of the argument I made. take that out because its not part of my argument and look at my argument and that he did not answer it. Hermit thrust this link because he doesn't understand what it says. He thinks any sort of criticism of any ontological argument beats all of hem and such is not the case.



And it goes on and on. Well, wasn't it clever, at least at first? I think so. It seemed for a moment that we arrived at a paradox, a sort of 1=2 moment. Ontological arguments tend to be that way. Most people immediately recognize that it is a little too clever, that it proves a statement which is a little too strong to be true. Similarly, most philosophers think that ontological arguments fail, though they may disagree on exactly why they fail.

Now he's trying to beat the argument by quilting it for being beyond his understanding. It's too clever for him, he seems to think that's a liability if it was an argument for atheism is we would be bragging about how clever it is and how stupid stupid theists don't get it. But the "too-clever" bit is not even part of the original argument which he has still not answered. None of his mocks against possible words beat the argument that says "If God is not impossible then he must be necessary." To that one he tells us nothing about it's apparent fallacious nature.


In my opinion, ontological arguments are merely interesting philosophical curiosities. It's rather silly when an apologist actually tries to use one as a serious argument.

Yes that 's what Gaunilo said, on behalf of the fool.

23 comments:

A Hermit said...

Seems to me there's enough room for debate here that saying this "proves the existence of God" is a bit of an exaggeration at best...

A Hermit said...

There are all kinds of difficulties with definitions in ontological arguments as well; for example here God is defined the greatest reality which we can conceive, yet in other places you tell us that God is beyond human understanding or conception. If so then then go is inconceivable and therefore does not exist...

These are all entertaining little word games, but to declare that they actually prove the existence of God (whatever that is) is really going too far, don't you think?

miller said...

I wonder if you realized that Hermit gave you the wrong link. It's not even a permanent link! I tried to give you the correct link yesterday, but it seems to have gotten lost in the ether.

Anyway, the essay you should have been reading is this one. In particular, the relevant section is the "logical consistency" section. I wrote that one after I became more familiar with the arguments used by the more serious proponents of the modal ontological argument such as yourself.

1) "A simple ontological argument" was the first essay I ever wrote on the subject. I intentionally kept it simple stupid by considering the most naive of ontological arguments, with no modal logic at all. That essay is irrelevant to you, because you have enough training to avoid the naive argument.

2) "It's a conditional statement however, as my statement above "If god exists he must exist necessarily" and this guy is not reflecting this fact."

Actually, that's exactly what I said in the section you quoted, but I think you missed it because it was in symbolic logic.

3) "But the answer is that it would not be possible to assert God is a perfect island (perfect tomato, purple, cow, pink unicorn, swizzle stick, or what have you) unless that thing was eternal, necessary, and the ground of being."

I totally agree that the argument does not work for an island, a cow, or a pink unicorn. But why doesn't it work? Is it because these objects aren't eternal? Or is it because the argument does not work for anything, eternal or not? It sure doesn't seem like being eternal has anything to do with it.

However, this is more of an intuitive argument than a rigorous one, so I wouldn't hold it against you for rejecting it outright.

4) "The subtle difference is that g can be merely possible so it's not a matter of if g is possible then g must be true but rather that g is not impossible."

This is a simple misunderstanding. "<>p" does not mean "merely possible". It just means possible, as in, not impossible. It is not contradictory to say that p is both necessary and possible; in fact, necessity implies possibility. At least, this is how it is in symbolic modal logic. It sounds like you are using different language conventions.

5) "The atheist has the burden to assert what criteria would prove the impossibility of God."

Well, no, because atheists don't purport to use the reverse ontological argument to prove that god is impossible. I do not assert that your premise, "God is possible" is false. Rather, I assert that we don't know whether it is true or false. See my link above.

miller said...

(continued)

4) "The subtle difference is that g can be merely possible so it's not a matter of if g is possible then g must be true but rather that g is not impossible."

This is a simple misunderstanding. "<>p" does not mean "merely possible". It just means possible, as in, not impossible. It is not contradictory to say that p is both necessary and possible; in fact, necessity implies possibility. At least, this is how it is in symbolic modal logic. It sounds like you are using different language conventions.

5) "The atheist has the burden to assert what criteria would prove the impossibility of God."

Well, no, because atheists don't purport to use the reverse ontological argument to prove that god is impossible. I do not assert that your premise, "God is possible" is false. Rather, I assert that we don't know whether it is true or false. See my link above.

6) About possible worlds...

I'll be the first to say that I think this part of my essay was written poorly. The same point is communicated much more clearly, without extraneous concepts, in my link above.

However, if it interests you, I can explain what I meant. The statement, "If god is not impossible, then god must exist" is analytically true, based on modal logic. In fact, it is true no matter how you choose your set of possible worlds. However, depending on how you choose it, the premise "God is not impossible" means something different. If we define "the set of all possible worlds" to be just our world, then "God is not impossible" means "God exists". That's quite a premise!

But you chose a different set of possible worlds, based on Plantinga and Hartshorne. I contend that no matter what your choice is, the premise is too strong to assert.

7) I'll say it again, read what I linked above.

Here's a summary: The premise "God is not impossible" can be proven from the consistency of God. But what does "consistency" mean? In order for the proof to be valid, it must be a particular kind of consistency, which I call "logical consistency". However, when you assert the premise, you are using a more intuitive kind of consistency, which I call "self-consistency". The argument does not follow from self-consistency.

What's the difference between the two? Logical consistency means that God does not imply contradiction. The thing is, "A implies B" is always true if A is false. If it so happens that God does not exist, then God logically implies everything, including contradictions. It does not matter if the concept of God itself is consistent, God would still imply a contradiction.

Metacrock said...

did you ever listen to me? no you are totally absolutely misquoting and muddling my position. this is the thing about atheists, because so many of them, like you, are not honest, not seeking truth, seeking only to destroy and muddle and block the possibility of Faith out of the smallness of their own souls.


now what is my position on proving god's existence? hmmmmmmmm? I say it all the time can't you remember it?

Metacrock said...

There are all kinds of difficulties with definitions in ontological arguments as well; for example here God is defined the greatest reality which we can conceive, yet in other places you tell us that God is beyond human understanding or conception. If so then then go is inconceivable and therefore does not exist...


>>> that's no contradiction. hat's just an example of the atheist inability to understand concepts. You are just plain on the word "conceive."

you can conceive of not understanding something, so you can conceive of something you don't understand. To conceive of it is not necessarily to understand it. I can conceive of the singularity that doesn't mean I understand the singularity





These are all entertaining little word games, but to declare that they actually prove the existence of God (whatever that is) is really going too far, don't you think?


who is creating the difficulty here? the atheist saboteur who is not concenred with discussion but with wrecking a good work.

none of this precludes understanding correctly. We don't have to play word games, but you are playing not me.

Metacrock said...

Blogger miller said...

I wonder if you realized that Hermit gave you the wrong link. It's not even a permanent link! I tried to give you the correct link yesterday, but it seems to have gotten lost in the ether.

>>>>how am I supposed to know that? How can I know what the "right" link is? I would be the in Hermit's head to know that.

Anyway, the essay you should have been reading is this one. In particular, the relevant section is the "logical consistency" section. I wrote that one after I became more familiar with the arguments used by the more serious proponents of the modal ontological argument such as yourself.

>>I'll try to get around to reading it.



1) "A simple ontological argument" was the first essay I ever wrote on the subject. I intentionally kept it simple stupid by considering the most naive of ontological arguments, with no modal logic at all. That essay is irrelevant to you, because you have enough training to avoid the naive argument.


Obviously that was a the simple version.I could see that. Don't worry, so often people in this sort activity judge each other by every little thing and then draw sweeping conclusions about the other person's intelligence. I don't do that. I am not saying I don't draw such conclusions but not by every little thing someone says. I understand there are levels of explanation for for different people at different levels of understanding. That's not an index to someone's intelligence just becuase he gives an explanation for beginners.


what Meta said:
2) "It's a conditional statement however, as my statement above "If god exists he must exist necessarily" and this guy is not reflecting this fact."

Miller's response:

Actually, that's exactly what I said in the section you quoted, but I think you missed it because it was in symbolic logic.


>>OK

Meta:
3) "But the answer is that it would not be possible to assert God is a perfect island (perfect tomato, purple, cow, pink unicorn, swizzle stick, or what have you) unless that thing was eternal, necessary, and the ground of being."

Miller:
I totally agree that the argument does not work for an island, a cow, or a pink unicorn. But why doesn't it work? Is it because these objects aren't eternal? Or is it because the argument does not work for anything, eternal or not? It sure doesn't seem like being eternal has anything to do with it.


The objection says the logic of the argument is bad logic because it can be used to prove a perfect anything (think of any ridiculous idea ad infinitum). The fact the that it doesn't allow one to do that (because such items are contingencies and thus trying to make them appear to be "perfect" or in that position is an arbitrary necessity) merely demonstates that you can't prove the existence of anything with it. It only proves one thing and one thing only:

God must be necessary.


However, this is more of an intuitive argument than a rigorous one, so I wouldn't hold it against you for rejecting it outright.


>>> But that's the whole point of Belief, you have to move beyond the surface level of thing hood or you don't get it. It is an intuitive argument in a major way. All belief in God is intuitive.

Metacrock said...

Blogger miller said...

I wonder if you realized that Hermit gave you the wrong link. It's not even a permanent link! I tried to give you the correct link yesterday, but it seems to have gotten lost in the ether.

>>>>how am I supposed to know that? How can I know what the "right" link is? I would be the in Hermit's head to know that.

Anyway, the essay you should have been reading is this one. In particular, the relevant section is the "logical consistency" section. I wrote that one after I became more familiar with the arguments used by the more serious proponents of the modal ontological argument such as yourself.

>>I'll try to get around to reading it.



1) "A simple ontological argument" was the first essay I ever wrote on the subject. I intentionally kept it simple stupid by considering the most naive of ontological arguments, with no modal logic at all. That essay is irrelevant to you, because you have enough training to avoid the naive argument.


Obviously that was a the simple version.I could see that. Don't worry, so often people in this sort activity judge each other by every little thing and then draw sweeping conclusions about the other person's intelligence. I don't do that. I am not saying I don't draw such conclusions but not by every little thing someone says. I understand there are levels of explanation for for different people at different levels of understanding. That's not an index to someone's intelligence just becuase he gives an explanation for beginners.


what Meta said:
2) "It's a conditional statement however, as my statement above "If god exists he must exist necessarily" and this guy is not reflecting this fact."

Miller's response:

Actually, that's exactly what I said in the section you quoted, but I think you missed it because it was in symbolic logic.


>>OK

Meta:
3) "But the answer is that it would not be possible to assert God is a perfect island (perfect tomato, purple, cow, pink unicorn, swizzle stick, or what have you) unless that thing was eternal, necessary, and the ground of being."

Miller:
I totally agree that the argument does not work for an island, a cow, or a pink unicorn. But why doesn't it work? Is it because these objects aren't eternal? Or is it because the argument does not work for anything, eternal or not? It sure doesn't seem like being eternal has anything to do with it.


The objection says the logic of the argument is bad logic because it can be used to prove a perfect anything (think of any ridiculous idea ad infinitum). The fact the that it doesn't allow one to do that (because such items are contingencies and thus trying to make them appear to be "perfect" or in that position is an arbitrary necessity) merely demonstates that you can't prove the existence of anything with it. It only proves one thing and one thing only:

God must be necessary.


However, this is more of an intuitive argument than a rigorous one, so I wouldn't hold it against you for rejecting it outright.


>>> But that's the whole point of Belief, you have to move beyond the surface level of thing hood or you don't get it. It is an intuitive argument in a major way. All belief in God is intuitive.

Metacrock said...

Blogger miller said...

I wonder if you realized that Hermit gave you the wrong link. It's not even a permanent link! I tried to give you the correct link yesterday, but it seems to have gotten lost in the ether.

>>>>how am I supposed to know that? How can I know what the "right" link is? I would be the in Hermit's head to know that.

Anyway, the essay you should have been reading is this one. In particular, the relevant section is the "logical consistency" section. I wrote that one after I became more familiar with the arguments used by the more serious proponents of the modal ontological argument such as yourself.

>>I'll try to get around to reading it.



1) "A simple ontological argument" was the first essay I ever wrote on the subject. I intentionally kept it simple stupid by considering the most naive of ontological arguments, with no modal logic at all. That essay is irrelevant to you, because you have enough training to avoid the naive argument.


Obviously that was a the simple version.I could see that. Don't worry, so often people in this sort activity judge each other by every little thing and then draw sweeping conclusions about the other person's intelligence. I don't do that. I am not saying I don't draw such conclusions but not by every little thing someone says. I understand there are levels of explanation for for different people at different levels of understanding. That's not an index to someone's intelligence just becuase he gives an explanation for beginners.


what Meta said:
2) "It's a conditional statement however, as my statement above "If god exists he must exist necessarily" and this guy is not reflecting this fact."

Miller's response:

Actually, that's exactly what I said in the section you quoted, but I think you missed it because it was in symbolic logic.


>>OK

Meta:
3) "But the answer is that it would not be possible to assert God is a perfect island (perfect tomato, purple, cow, pink unicorn, swizzle stick, or what have you) unless that thing was eternal, necessary, and the ground of being."

Miller:
I totally agree that the argument does not work for an island, a cow, or a pink unicorn. But why doesn't it work? Is it because these objects aren't eternal? Or is it because the argument does not work for anything, eternal or not? It sure doesn't seem like being eternal has anything to do with it.

Metacrock said...

The objection says the logic of the argument is bad logic because it can be used to prove a perfect anything (think of any ridiculous idea ad infinitum). The fact the that it doesn't allow one to do that (because such items are contingencies and thus trying to make them appear to be "perfect" or in that position is an arbitrary necessity) merely demonstates that you can't prove the existence of anything with it. It only proves one thing and one thing only:

God must be necessary.


However, this is more of an intuitive argument than a rigorous one, so I wouldn't hold it against you for rejecting it outright.


>>> But that's the whole point of Belief, you have to move beyond the surface level of thing hood or you don't get it. It is an intuitive argument in a major way. All belief in God is intuitive.


4) "The subtle difference is that g can be merely possible so it's not a matter of if g is possible then g must be true but rather that g is not impossible."

This is a simple misunderstanding. "<>p" does not mean "merely possible". It just means possible, as in, not impossible.

the distinction bewteen "merely" possible and "possible" is nebulous. In the OA possible becomes necessary and there is no contentedness for God. so there's no middle ground if middle is contingency. In dealing with God contingency disappears. that means possibility disappears.

But remember the upshot of all of this is not "I prove God exists" but "I prove it's rationally warranted to believe" and that is a basis for being has depth.




It is not contradictory to say that p is both necessary and possible; in fact, necessity implies possibility. At least, this is how it is in symbolic modal logic. It sounds like you are using different language conventions.

I am not an expert. But I'm mostly an auto didact but I' have talked to Plantinga a few times and others such as Robert Koons and read a lot about it. I'm not sure if you what you say is true of S5. But I'm not really that concerned with that.

in relation to most people we might as well be speaking Doric Greek.I know the middle ground disappears in this modal argument in dealing with God, it has to becasue God can't be a contingency. In terms of non formal logic it makes perfect since if you consider my little chart of modal possibility..

Modes of being


5) "The atheist has the burden to assert what criteria would prove the impossibility of God."

Well, no, because atheists don't purport to use the reverse ontological argument to prove that god is impossible.

sometimes they do. But that's beside the point. The fact of conceiving of God without contradiction is the warrant for a God who is not impossible. That sets up the prima facie case, then ti's the other guy's burden to knock it down.



I do not assert that your premise, "God is possible" is false. Rather, I assert that we don't know whether it is true or false. See my link above.


but the argument demonstrates that if can't be merely possible so if it is not impossible it has to be the case.

Metacrock said...

The objection says the logic of the argument is bad logic because it can be used to prove a perfect anything (think of any ridiculous idea ad infinitum). The fact the that it doesn't allow one to do that (because such items are contingencies and thus trying to make them appear to be "perfect" or in that position is an arbitrary necessity) merely demonstates that you can't prove the existence of anything with it. It only proves one thing and one thing only:

God must be necessary.


However, this is more of an intuitive argument than a rigorous one, so I wouldn't hold it against you for rejecting it outright.


>>> But that's the whole point of Belief, you have to move beyond the surface level of thing hood or you don't get it. It is an intuitive argument in a major way. All belief in God is intuitive.


4) "The subtle difference is that g can be merely possible so it's not a matter of if g is possible then g must be true but rather that g is not impossible."

This is a simple misunderstanding. "<>p" does not mean "merely possible". It just means possible, as in, not impossible.

the distinction bewteen "merely" possible and "possible" is nebulous. In the OA possible becomes necessary and there is no contentedness for God. so there's no middle ground if middle is contingency. In dealing with God contingency disappears. that means possibility disappears.

But remember the upshot of all of this is not "I prove God exists" but "I prove it's rationally warranted to believe" and that is a basis for being has depth.




It is not contradictory to say that p is both necessary and possible; in fact, necessity implies possibility. At least, this is how it is in symbolic modal logic. It sounds like you are using different language conventions.

I am not an expert. But I'm mostly an auto didact but I' have talked to Plantinga a few times and others such as Robert Koons and read a lot about it. I'm not sure if you what you say is true of S5. But I'm not really that concerned with that.

in relation to most people we might as well be speaking Doric Greek.I know the middle ground disappears in this modal argument in dealing with God, it has to becasue God can't be a contingency. In terms of non formal logic it makes perfect since if you consider my little chart of modal possibility..

Modes of being


5) "The atheist has the burden to assert what criteria would prove the impossibility of God."

Well, no, because atheists don't purport to use the reverse ontological argument to prove that god is impossible.

sometimes they do. But that's beside the point. The fact of conceiving of God without contradiction is the warrant for a God who is not impossible. That sets up the prima facie case, then ti's the other guy's burden to knock it down.



I do not assert that your premise, "God is possible" is false. Rather, I assert that we don't know whether it is true or false. See my link above.


but the argument demonstrates that if can't be merely possible so if it is not impossible it has to be the case.

Metacrock said...

The objection says the logic of the argument is bad logic because it can be used to prove a perfect anything (think of any ridiculous idea ad infinitum). The fact the that it doesn't allow one to do that (because such items are contingencies and thus trying to make them appear to be "perfect" or in that position is an arbitrary necessity) merely demonstates that you can't prove the existence of anything with it. It only proves one thing and one thing only:

God must be necessary.


However, this is more of an intuitive argument than a rigorous one, so I wouldn't hold it against you for rejecting it outright.


>>> But that's the whole point of Belief, you have to move beyond the surface level of thing hood or you don't get it. It is an intuitive argument in a major way. All belief in God is intuitive.


4) "The subtle difference is that g can be merely possible so it's not a matter of if g is possible then g must be true but rather that g is not impossible."

This is a simple misunderstanding. "<>p" does not mean "merely possible". It just means possible, as in, not impossible.

the distinction bewteen "merely" possible and "possible" is nebulous. In the OA possible becomes necessary and there is no contentedness for God. so there's no middle ground if middle is contingency. In dealing with God contingency disappears. that means possibility disappears.

But remember the upshot of all of this is not "I prove God exists" but "I prove it's rationally warranted to believe" and that is a basis for being has depth.




It is not contradictory to say that p is both necessary and possible; in fact, necessity implies possibility. At least, this is how it is in symbolic modal logic. It sounds like you are using different language conventions.

I am not an expert. But I'm mostly an auto didact but I' have talked to Plantinga a few times and others such as Robert Koons and read a lot about it. I'm not sure if you what you say is true of S5. But I'm not really that concerned with that.

in relation to most people we might as well be speaking Doric Greek.I know the middle ground disappears in this modal argument in dealing with God, it has to becasue God can't be a contingency. In terms of non formal logic it makes perfect since if you consider my little chart of modal possibility..

Modes of being


5) "The atheist has the burden to assert what criteria would prove the impossibility of God."

Well, no, because atheists don't purport to use the reverse ontological argument to prove that god is impossible.

sometimes they do. But that's beside the point. The fact of conceiving of God without contradiction is the warrant for a God who is not impossible. That sets up the prima facie case, then ti's the other guy's burden to knock it down.



I do not assert that your premise, "God is possible" is false. Rather, I assert that we don't know whether it is true or false. See my link above.


but the argument demonstrates that if can't be merely possible so if it is not impossible it has to be the case.

Metacrock said...

4) "The subtle difference is that g can be merely possible so it's not a matter of if g is possible then g must be true but rather that g is not impossible."

This is a simple misunderstanding. "<>p" does not mean "merely possible". It just means possible, as in, not impossible. It is not contradictory to say that p is both necessary and possible; in fact, necessity implies possibility. At least, this is how it is in symbolic modal logic. It sounds like you are using different language conventions.


but you continue to treat it ae a mere possibility when in fact what it means is it is not merely possible, in other words. it's not limited to possibly but is necessity.

wasn't this posted twice?


5) "The atheist has the burden to assert what criteria would prove the impossibility of God."

Well, no, because atheists don't purport to use the reverse ontological argument to prove that god is impossible. I do not assert that your premise, "God is possible" is false. Rather, I assert that we don't know whether it is true or false. See my link above.

that has nothing to do with it. you have the burden of proof because the notion of non contradiction ni the concept is met on face value (prima facie) when we show there is no contradiction. you have to show there is one. you cant' expect the theist to give every possibility that could ever exist to screen all potential impossibilities. if you think it's impossible you must show it is.

A Hermit said...

"remember the upshot of all of this is not "I prove God exists"

Then you'll want to revise your last post...

"What follows is one of the most challenging subjects you will ever hear about. It is the best way to get a head ache, but I think it proves the existence of God..."

miller said...

Yes, it was posted twice, because I was having trouble with your comment system.

Your responses are satisfactory enough, until we get to points 6) and 7). So I only have one comment, on point 4).

In the language of modal logic (at least the kind I'm using), there are two kinds of modalities, necessity and possibility. These modalities are represented by symbols, and the symbols have no inherent meaning until we take some axioms. The major axiom relating to possibility is this: "p is possible" is equivalent to "it is not necessary that p is false". "Possible" exactly means "not impossible" in the language.

Based on my experience arguing with other philosophers on the ontological argument, I find that they often attach lots of baggage to the concept of possibility. I always find this dismaying, because none of this baggage is contained in the axioms, so it's obviously unnecessary to the proof.

Metacrock said...

In the language of modal logic (at least the kind I'm using), there are two kinds of modalities, necessity and possibility. These modalities are represented by symbols, and the symbols have no inherent meaning until we take some axioms. The major axiom relating to possibility is this: "p is possible" is equivalent to "it is not necessary that p is false". "Possible" exactly means "not impossible" in the language.

Based on my experience arguing with other philosophers on the ontological argument, I find that they often attach lots of baggage to the concept of possibility. I always find this dismaying, because none of this baggage is contained in the axioms, so it's obviously unnecessary to the proof.


>> I may be wrong but I think possibility is equivolant to contingency. My answers that use contingency apply to possibility.

You can have two kinds of possibility, so contingency is related to one kind. Possible can be either necessary or contingent.

Metacrock said...

remember the upshot of all of this is not "I prove God exists"

Then you'll want to revise your last post...

"What follows is one of the most challenging subjects you will ever hear about. It is the best way to get a head ache, but I think it proves the existence of God..."


Yea I mis spoke. I have gotten into a habit of sort handing. I say "prove existence" I really mean demonstrated rational warrant for belief (see why I want to short hand it?).

got to watch that.

A Hermit said...

"Yea I mis spoke. I have gotten into a habit of sort handing. I say "prove existence" I really mean demonstrated rational warrant for belief (see why I want to short hand it?).

got to watch that."


OK, now go back and re-read my first two comments and your response, in which you accused my of misquoting you, called me dishonest, and said that I am one of those who are "seeking only to destroy and muddle and block the possibility of Faith out of the smallness of their own souls."

You might want to watch that kind of thing too; it's the sort of thing that makes it hard to take you seriously...

Metacrock said...

OK, now go back and re-read my first two comments and your response, in which you accused my of misquoting you, called me dishonest, and said that I am one of those who are "seeking only to destroy and muddle and block the possibility of Faith out of the smallness of their own souls."

You might want to watch that kind of thing too; it's the sort of thing that makes it hard to take you seriously...


It's pretty clear I got that right.

A Hermit said...

"It's pretty clear I got that right."

Really? Where did I misquote you? Was I incorrect in saying that it was an exaggeration to claim that ontological arguments "prove" the existence of God? What exactly in my comments do you think justifies the personal attacks?

Metacrock said...

Was I incorrect in saying that it was an exaggeration to claim that ontological arguments "prove" the existence of God? What exactly in my comments do you think justifies the personal attacks?

this:



"...called me dishonest, and said that I am one of those who are "seeking only to destroy and muddle and block the possibility of Faith out of the smallness of their own souls."

A Hermit said...

Yes, those are the childish little insults you posted; I'm asking what in the question I asked justifies posting them? If you agree that I was correct in pointing out that the argument does not actually prove the existence of God (which is all I was saying) then why do you feel the need to become abusive?

Metacrock said...

Yes, those are the childish little insults you posted; I'm asking what in the question I asked justifies posting them? If you agree that I was correct in pointing out that the argument does not actually prove the existence of God (which is all I was saying) then why do you feel the need to become abusive?


I'm being abusive hu? Sending me private emails calling Rush Limbo is just a lark hu?

I am not going to go back through the entire history of our enmity and show you line for line how slanderous and silly you have been. Your one and only aim is shut down this site and the other one merely because it dares to differ with your sacred ideology. you know that's true. You have no other concern. Everything you say is aimed at doing that.

I will not waste my time showing you what you already know.