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.
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.
- 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)
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.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 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."
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.