Saturday, April 30, 2011

Answering an Argument that God Need Not Exist Necessarily

Charles Hartshorne: A Natural Theology
For Our Time

Remember the Modal Argument from a few days ago?

Hartshorne's version goes like this: (actually forest Baird's)
1) God can be analytically conceived without contradiction.
2) Therefore God is not impossible.
3) By definition God cannot be contingent.
4) Therefore God is either necessary or impossible.
5) God is not impossible (from 2) therefore, God is necessary.
6) Whatever is necessary by the force of Becker's modal theorum must necessarily exist.

Argument:my version

1) God can be analytically conceived, as eternal necessary being, without contradiction.

2) Therefore God is not impossible,(because no contradiction).

3) By definition God cannot be contingent (becasue God is eteral).

4) Therefore if God exists, God's existence is necessary, if God does not exist, it is because God is impossible.

5) God is not impossible (from 2) therefore, God is necessary.

6) Whatever is necessary by the force of Becker's modal theorum must necessarily exist.

An anonymous poster (who says he's not an atheist) calms to disprove the premises that God must exist necessarily. I don't see how anyone who is a Chrsitain can fail understand the essential aspect of this doctirne. That's basically denying who God is. The only alternatives to God existing necessarily are that God is impossible and can't exist at all, or that God is contingent, in which case he can't be the Christian God. A contingent God would be no better than superman. Superman could go nuts and deiced to be worshiped and force everyone to prya to him and call himself God he would be just as much God as a contingent God of the Bible would be. Of course the phase "contingent God of the Bible" is a contradiction in Terms becasue the Bible makes it clear God is not contingent, thus he has to be necessarily becuase those are the only choices.

There are four choices only, as streamlined as it can be: Two on the necessary side and two on the contingent side. Each two represent polar opposites:

(1) Necessary vs. (2) impossible

(3) exists contingently v. (4) fictional (contingent non existent)

It should be unthinkable to a Christian that God could be contingent. Yet this guy does some fancy foot work to manipulate the language of s5 modal logic to try and "demonstrate" just that. Before I ansser it want to challenge to find one single theologian other than a Derridian somewhere or a Postmodern, who asserts that the Christian God is contingent. I don't believe anyone ever has. Its' so obviously well known that the Christian God is always thought of as existing necessarily I don't think you can find a theologian form any time prior to the rise of Postmodernism who would say that. Of course I mean a believing theologian.

Here is the opening of this guy's gambit:

I'll try to rephrase my objection for clarity.

Hartshorne's statement of the argument begins with the line:

g --> N(g)

Which, interpreted, (remembering that the arrow stands for the _strict_ conditional,) means "Necessarily, if god exists, then necessarily god exists."
That is just a straightforward statement that if God exist he exists necessarily." No magic there.

This statement is false, and I can prove it.
O pshaw! I dare you! I dare you even.

To show that a statement of the form "Necessarily, X" is false, you must show that there is a possible world in which X is false. So my claim is that there is a possible world in which "g -> N(g)" is false (where this -> is not the strict conditional but the material conditional instead).
Not exactly mystical truth yet. Just a basic statement that to show false hood it must be the case that God exist in a possible world where he exits in a way that is not necessary. That doesn't tell us how he's going to prove there is such a possible world. It sounds like he really knows what he's doing but returned with the Holy Grail yet.

In order for a material conditional to be false, it must be that its antecedent is true and its consequent false. So my claim must be that there is a possible world in which god exist but does not exist necessarily.
What did I tell you? How will he demonstrate that there is such a possible world when it contradicts the concept of God in Christian thought? Reemmber now we are not talking about empircal knowledge, we are not talking about parallel worlds that exist, we are talking mere hypothetical possibilities.

Cashing out what "necessarily" and "possible" mean in standard interpretations of modal logic, (assuming S5 here) we have now a statement of my claim in detail:

There is a maximal set of propositions containing no contradiction which contains the proposition g, and there is a maximal set of propositions containing no contradictions which contains the proposition not-g.
Not so fast there man. This the lack of contradiction has not been demonstrated for -g nor can it be. It is not great trick to prove that the concept of the Christian God is that of necessarily being. Its' in all the theology going back to the beginning it's all over the Bible and it's all over the major doctrines. Aseity, reity, eternalness all of this implies necessary.

Since the concept of God is linked with necessary being then to raise the possibility of a possible world in which this is not the case is in and of itself a contradiction. It's a contradiction on the same grounds that the law of identity is not a contradiction.

Let A be "official definition of X is X."

If you say "i can think of a possible world in which A is not the case, then you are saying X is not X. How can X not be X? By definition X = X.

In terms of the modal argument this is not equivocate as defining God into existence. That's so beaus we are not talking God's actuality we are talking about the defintion of the concept. Sicne the concept to be true would require that there not be a possible world in which it was false you have to prove such a possible world on some other grounds tan the claim that your statment is without contradiction because it is. I suggest it woudl have to be proved on empirical grounds,which of course can't be done without travel to other dimensions.

Presumably you agree about the first part. My task then is to prove that there is a maximal set of propositions containing no contradictions which contains the proposition not-g.
I'm not sure what you are calling the "first part" if you mean the basic understanding of what modal logic is and the relation to possible worlds and contradictions in same, then yes.

But this is trivially proven, simply by reference to commonplaces about how logic (much less modal logic) works. For any proposition not-X whatsoever, we can build a maximally consistent set of propositions around it simply by running through every propositional variable a, b, c and so on, assigning it to either 'true' or 'false', and then constructing every possible propositional statement with connectives and determining its value from those of its constituent propositional variables.
Sorry, doesn't work that way. It's already beaten coming out of the shoot. That is so because it's a contradiction to the basic concept of God in Christianity. No way to maintain a possible world where it's contradiction because to contradict it is a contradiction to the concept we are working with. you are merely contradicting the concept of God. Running through variables isn't going to prove anything when the basic concept is being contradicted.

This is a standard lemma at the basis of every system of modal logic--take any propositional expression whatsoever, and you can build a maximally consistent set of propositions around it.
that sounds real impressive, but no magic. It's just the manipulations of terminologies to cover the fact that you didn't prove your argument. The fatal falw in your argument, if you are a Christian I suspetct in your faith is taht you don't know who or what God is.

here is the Answer Plantinga sent me in email

I think you friend is mistaken. He says:

But this is trivially proven, simply by reference to commonplaces about how logic (much less modal logic) works. For any proposition not-X whatsoever, we can build a maximally consistent set of propositions around it simply by running through every propositional variable a, b, c and so on, assigning it to either 'true' or 'false', and then constructing every possible propositional statement with connectives and determining its value from those of its constituent propositional variables.

This is a standard lemma at the basis of every system of modal logic--take any propositional expression whatsoever, and you can build a maximally consistent set of propositions around it.

He says: for any proposition not-x we can build a max cons set of props around it . . .; but this won't work for -(pv-p) for any p.

Maybe he means: for any proposition -X, where X is noncomplex. Here the answer is that we can build a set or props around it that doesn't formally entail a contradiction in first order logic. For example, we can do that with -(2+1=3). Still, -(2+1=3) is necessarily false, even tho you can't deduce a contradiction from it in first order logic. Those who, like me, think God is a necessary being, think the proposition -G is necessarily false in the same way that -(2+1=3) is. That's true, even if you can't deduce a contradiction from it in first order logic.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Atheist says good bye

remember atheist from the last couple of posts? She had one final rejoineder.

Hey, Metacrock. You must be under some misguided illusion that I wanted some futher discussion with you. Sorry, you are too full of yourself for me.

I will try it one more time and see if it works this time. BYE.
At least she promises it's the final one.

Now would make her think that I would expect more dialogue with someone whose major argument is "you use big words, so you are wrong."

Answer to Atheists's Rejoinder: Another Version of Argument from Indcredulity

see below. I am creating this because I left the title off the first time so I don't know the emials will reflect this answer.

Answer to Atheists's Rejoinder: Another Version of Argument from Indcredulity


The poster known as "atheist" made a longer and more involved rejoinder. I don't intend to make answering this person my life's work but it does afford an opportunity to clear up some long held atheist ignorance.

You are a typical theist who uses a lot of words to dance around the simple and undeniable facts. Using a lot of words as a smoke screen is really all the theist has to work with in his little arsenal of deceptions.
Translation: I have the educational background to really understand Metacrock's arguments but the brain washing tells me I must be right so I"m just going to assert it.

Of course I simply ignore the atheist bashing that is so typical of militant theists. The ad homs just make you look angry. I might be a bit angry too if I didn’t have anything to support my beliefs.

What has she really said so far? The opening gambit about "big words" is a frank admission that she doesn't have my education level and doesn't really understand my arguments. She's trying to use anti-intellectual feelings to cast suspicion upon a fine education and sophisticated thinking. In this comment she's trying to establish atheism (3% of U.S. Pop--and 3% world) as the status quote and portray Christians as some fringe hate group that are always rude. The opposite is the case.
Atheists are the fringe hate group, the overwhelming majority of people around the world the world believe in some notion of God, belief counts in favor of belief. The fact that religious traditions have different concept doesn't not count against Christianity it counts against having no concept.

She quotes me:
metacrock: “Of cousre this is not a guarantee that the particulars of one's beliefs are true, yet no one sets out to believe falsehood.”
Then responds:

But it does, in fact, show that they do not know the truth. If you knew the truth you would have no need for the belief/faith.

This is obviously a fallacious line of reasonnig that plays off of literalism. She wants, or the brain washing of the atheist ideology leads her to believe that a strident, arrogant line is a mark of having truth. She wants the brash bully approach "I am right, I hae the truth! my ideas are not mere beliefs they are facts." This is what I call the great atheist fortress of facts. We see it on carm all the time. Our world view is a big pile of facts guaranteed by scinece so therefore everything we say is true and right. Of this is just a ruse, a facade, it's a rhetorical appeal not a fact in itself. The so called "facts" of the fortress is all selective, it excludes tons of facts that disagree with their view. For example it is a fact that 200 empirical studies done by psychologists and published in peer reviewed academic journals say that religion is physiologically very good for you. Of the atheists on carm have creaetd a mythology of lies claiming "they've all been disproved" when in fact ehy have not read a single study. That's the natre of the entire lie about the fortress of facts. there is no fortress of facts, in fact, point of fact, it is not scientific. The concept of the fortress of facts, everything we say is a fact, is not a scientific concept. Science does not believe only things that are proved, if it id it couldn't hypothesize.

Moreover, the pathetic rhetorical appeal she is using (that's just what it is, not logic, not facts, rhetoric) turns on a misuse of the concept of belief.She totally misses the meaning of my argument. I said belief is not used as a euphamism for "made up" it's used as a humble substitute for narrow mindedness. In other words, rather than say "we have the all the truth" (as some theists have been know to say) to say "it is our belief that" is a means of beng humble and giving respect to other ideas. We don't claim to have all the truth,we don't claim we are always right, we don't say we can't learn form other people. She is saying those things of her own group by inditing that 'If you have the truth you would be arrogant in your appeal.'

Atheists complete misconstrue the nature of faith. Faith is placing confidence in a hypothesis. It doesn't mean making stuff up, it doesn't mean believing without evidence or without reasons. No believes anything without a reason. Something leads people to conclusions about religious belief that "something' is a reason. Atheists denude faith and belief of their rational and humble dignity and turn them into dirty words. That's the only way the fortress of facts lie can work is by asserting that he who is not being a bully must be a weakling. This is the philosophy of the fascist. It's part of the Orwellian nature of atheism. Of course there are atheists who don't think this way just as there are Christians who are not followers of Pat Robertson. We need to work with fellow liberal counter parts in atheism to skew extremism rather than joining the extremists in name calling. There are certainly Christians that lean toward the fascistic side of things, but there are such atheists too.

Now she tries to get tricky:

Since you went through all the trouble, I will use some of your post to clarify my position. I will use the three example of belief from Webster Dictionary.
these are examples from the Webster definition I used for belief.

1: There is growing belief that these policies will not succeed.
she says:

(There would be evidence that the policies will not succeed, perhaps they have failed in the past)
no there doesn't need to be evidence, but the statement quoted as an example by dictionary is not excluding the possibility of evidence. The person writing the dictionary article is not aware that this is going to be used by a narrow minded dawkie so the author desn't spell out the possibility of evidence. The point of quoting the definition was that it shows us that anything you think is true is a belief. The idea that you don't believe in god because you see no evidence is a belief. The idea that the Bible is contradictory of itself is a belief, even if you have example, even if you can prove it. Anything you think is the case is a belief. Because doesn't belief does not mean "false." Nor does it mean "to accept something without evidence." notice those two were not in the definition.

2: He gets angry if anyone challenges his religious beliefs.
(He likely displayed previous anger when someone challenged his beliefs)

That's a hate group assumption based upon disparaging concepts about religious people and the atheist brain washing that caters to the need to feel superior. Remember the studies I showed that demonstrate the major reason for being an atheist is poor self esteem. Dawkametnalists need to tell themselves constantly that they are superior as a means of feeling better about themselves. Let's remember Atheist opinions are beliefs.

3: We challenged his beliefs about religion.
(His beliefs were of an unbelievable nature so we challenged them)

See that is how belief works. There has to be some evidence to support it.

Of cousre this is ingeniousness because when support is given the atheist throws a tantrum and says "this doesn't fit the atheist template so it can't be a true proof." Then they impose the argument incredulity "I refuse to believe it no matter what."

I went out and got 200 empirical studies from academic journals that say religion is good for you and the atheists refuse to read even one article because they can't understand them and they are afraid to be disproved. That is a fortress of facts. 200 studies is a fortress. I have the fortress of facts atheist do not. Yet of cousre they refuse ever accept a single pro faith fact because they can't. Their ideology is so constructed that if they accepted one fact that would destroy the fortress of fact concept for them.

e.g. I believe my brakes will stop my car because they have stopped me in the past. I believe there is life on other planets because there is life on earth. I believe it will be cold out tomorrow because that is what the weatherman is predicting and he has successfully predicted the weather accurately many times in the past..

See how all of these have a "because" in them? Now lets try it with a god.
This is even more disingenuous of course because seems to assert that theists have arguemnts for God, no reason to believe in God. Do we really need to belabor that point? IF this person thinks there are no pro God arguments are facts, and Christians never have any reasons to believe then why does she start out talking about my use of big words and my arguments and so on? This is just another version of atheist incredibility, which actually the only argument they know how to make. The basic incredultiy arguemnt says "I refuse to believe, therefore it can't be true." This one says theists arguemnts are also weak it's like they don't have any so I'll just assert that they believe for no reason. That manifests itself in the atheist bromide "faith is belief without evidence.

I believe Zeus exists because _______
I believe Allah exists because _______
I believe God exists because _______

See, there is nothing tangible to put in the blanks of these statements that is valid. To believe for the sake of belief is invalid. Go ahead, you try to fill in the blanks and see what you come up with.

This is priceless. Seldom have a I seen such brash display of illogical and special pleading. This "person" actually constructs a straw man argument then it dumb enough to think because she didn't fill in the blank in a straw man argument then there is no theist anywhere in the world who has an actual reason to believe. Look at the facts, she's making a straw man argument, why would she put something of good substance in the blank? It's obvious the blanks have nothing in them becuase she doesn't it in there.

Like most bullies she's a coward and thus is afraid to use real arguments.

that defintion again:

noun \bə-ˈlēf\
Definition of BELIEF
: a state or habit of mind in which trust or confidence is placed in some person or thing
: something believed; especially : a tenet or body of tenets held by a group
: conviction of the truth of some statement or the reality of some being or phenomenon especially when based on examination of evidence

Belief is placing confidence in a hypothesis, the reason for doing so is open ended. It neither rules out nor explicitly acknowledges evidence or logic as a reason for confidence. Of course the fact is, and it is a fact, believers have reasons for belief. Nothing in that definition says anything about being without evidence. The actual empirical fact is people do have reasons for believing. My initial reasons are discussed on my website Doxa, and over time I have developed 42 reasons. In fact there are thousands of reasons. I'm now working on the concept of personal realization of God's reality which invovles thousands of reasons. Atheists need things spelled out concretely especially the Dawkamatnalists, the atheist fundies, becasue they are not subtle people.

Thus I can say "I believe in Jesus because I have 200 studies, empirical, academic, published in peer reviewed journals, that show that religious belief gives one transformation.*

I have 42 arguments proving that belief in God is rationally warranted.

*watch for my coming book which will discuss these studies at length. The whole book is about the studies and the arguments I construct from them. In the mean time nd read all the links at the's some material that plays off of that body of work. Be sure a

More on the stuides

see also empirical evidence of the Supernatural

Several hundred more studies showing that religious participation is good for the individual and society.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Belief and Rationalization, Manipulation


We have some interesting comments that came in on past postings. In reaction to my statement on Notes on Realization of God's Reality, someone named "Atheist" says:


Metarock: Belief Is, therefore, a realization about the nature of reality, not a technology.

Atheist: Belief Is, therefore, a realization about the nature of fantasy, not a technology. Belief has nothing to do with reality or truth. In fact belief and truth are mutually exclusive.

The problem with this is that it privileges doubt to the extent of re-writing the point of bleief. Belief becomes a dirty word tot he professional doubter. The fact of belief is that one does not believe something one thinks is false. Belief is obviously about truth. Of cousre this is not a guarantee that the particulars of one's beliefs are true, yet no one sets out to believe falsehood. Dawkamenatlists. like the fundies that they are, are literalistic and rigid slave thinkers who dread having to think for themselves, thus any hint that a held opinion is not a "fact" and is not guaranteed by the atheist fortress of facts (ala atheist ideology) but is merely "belief," must be held as falsehood and ridiculed to the text the very word "belief" is taken ass a dirty word and held to mean "rationalization." Belief is what one hold to be true, it' s synonymous with "conviction," that's a term atheists are not familiar with.

I am thinking that this person is reacting to the idea that I stated, that proving things is a technology. Somehow this person sees this as an insult he/she has to insult belief back and though belief is some alien process that atheists don't involve themselves in. Unless one is illiterate it must be obvious to all that even atheists have beliefs. Strangely enough an atheist on CARM, who humbly calls himself "big thinker," who martians that he has no beliefs. Belief is such a dirty word to the Dawkies that he can't bring himself to admit that he has beliefs. He refused to answer my question "so you believe you have no beliefs?" That would entail the admission that what you think is true is a belief. Thus there are no people without beliefs. How is it possible that one thinks for oneself without believing things? This person obviously believes that belief is is about unreality, this person believes that atheism is about being realistic about reality these are beliefs. I wonder if most atheists even know the word reality. What they really mean is "what I want to be the case." If it could be proved that God is reality what would they do? They would then begin asserting that reality stinks and fantasy is true.

Webster's Online:


noun \bə-ˈlēf\

Definition of BELIEF

: a state or habit of mind in which trust or confidence is placed in some person or thing
: something believed; especially : a tenet or body of tenets held by a group
: conviction of the truth of some statement or the reality of some being or phenomenon especially when based on examination of evidence

Examples of BELIEF

  1. There is growing belief that these policies will not succeed.
  2. He gets angry if anyone challenges his religious beliefs.
  3. We challenged his beliefs about religion.

Origin of BELIEF

Middle English beleave, probably alteration of Old English gelēafa, from ge-, associative prefix + lēafa; akin to Old English lȳfan — more at believe
First Known Use: 12th century

Synonym Discussion of BELIEF

belief, faith, credence, credit mean assent to the truth of something offered for acceptance. belief may or may not imply certitude in the believer belief that I had caught all the errors>. faith almost always implies certitude even where there is no evidence or proof faith in God>. credence suggests intellectual assent without implying anything about grounds for assent credence by scientists>. credit may imply assent on grounds other than direct proof credit to the statement of a reputable witness>.
Belief is placing confidence in a proposition." conviction of the truth of some statement or the reality of some being or phenomenon especially when based on examination of evidence " Belief is about the way one views reality not manipulating reality.

Proving things is a from of manipulation. Why? Because it requries the re-organizing of bits of sense data in order to change the situation form appearance to demonstration. I didn't originally call it manipulation I called it "technology." Then I defined technology as manipulation. This commenter took this as an assault upon truth. It's actually just phenomenological awareness about our relationship to sense data in the formation of truth claims. Belief is a conviction of truth as the definition says it is not a pretense or a fantasy. Getting at truth requires re arranging the appearance of reality and thus its manipulation. This doesn't mean that stacking the manipulation to coincide with our desires is truth finding.

Webster defines Technology:

noun \tek-ˈnä-lə-jē\
plural tech·nol·o·gies
Definition of TECHNOLOGY
a : the practical application of knowledge especially in a particular area : engineering 2 b : a capability given by the practical application of knowledge
: a manner of accomplishing a task especially using technical processes, methods, or knowledge
: the specialized aspects of a particular field of endeavor
— tech·nol·o·gist \-jist\ noun
See technology defined for English-language learners »
Examples of TECHNOLOGY

This doesn't tell us the use of the term in such elite venue as intellectual history in postmodern circles such as the writing of Michele Foucault. The word is used apart from gadgets. We can employ a technology in the way we think about things without any new inventions or scientific apparatus. That's the way I was using the term, not as an insult or an attack but with persimmon making known the fact that the way we think about "reality" in relation to what can be demonstrated as true is a technology and an application of knowledge in a varied way.

In other words, belief is actually conviction that honestly understands truth or reality to be a certain way, while proof and demonstration are actually manipulating reality by arranging the way it is perceived, in order to produce a particular outcome.

The same poster left another interesting comment, this was addressed to the post about atheists moving away from the big bang.

Atheist said...

I am an atheist. I do not depend on science for my atheism. In fact I disagree with science often when it looks too much like theism. Multi-universes, quantum mechanics and the Big Bang are a some examples.

My atheism is based on truth and facts not science.

"I disagree with science when it looks like theism." I assume then that he/she agrees with it when it looks like opinions he/she already holds. So at that rate science is not a teaching device that tells this person truth but is in fact the "big fortress of facts" that proves atheism and backs up her opinion. In other words in the Orwellian "atheist speak" truth is a lie and one's own desire to escape God is paramount and outweighs truth, scirnce is a propaganda tool that can only be useful when it backs the template of atheist ideology. Look at the two quotes back to back it's pretty obvious that's what being said. If science was as atheists cling to it and portray it in clash with Genesis or creationism it's supposed to be a tool that lays bear what is real and enables us to know the truth of the physical world. To allege that would be a belief. Belief is a dirty word, belief is fantasy. Yet it's also apparent that truth finding goes hand in hand with fantasy and in place of truth this atheist wants propaganda. Hence I only believe science when it tells me what I want to hear.

"I don't believe scinece when it looks like theism."

Is there a way to reason with such people? If the facts and the uncovering of reality to the extent that the umpire of reality says "this be true" is not good enough, but must be rejected when ever it strays from the ideology that enthralls this salve thinker then what could possible point to truth in discussion or argument or evidence? Can't we see this is the total betrayal of "free thought" that it obviously is? How long can people be suckered?

We have to fear truth seeking and make conviction a dirty word becasue reality might be other than we wish?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Jacques Tati: Not the French Chaplan but the Ingamar Bergman of Comedy

Tati as Hulot: I am convinced that he was
the model for Inspector Clouseau. The above picture
In front of the "mos French Looking house" form Mon Oncle.

Part of the mission of this blog is intellectual reflection upon life as well as faith. The appreciation of Great art counts in that endeavor, and if the great art makes you laugh so much the better for Sunday, the day of rest. Toward that end I sometimes do little film reviews, always of old art films from the golden age of artistic cinema. Recently (in the past couple of years) I have really come to appreciate the great French filmmaker Jacques Tati (Oct 9, 1907--Nov 5, 1982). American film critics always call him "the French Chaplin." That is a dismissive injustice. He was a brilliant filmmaker who deserves to be thought of as the Bergman of Comedy.

I heard of this guy a long time ago. I even saw some of his early shorts. I thought "Ha, ha they are ok but he's no Chaplin." Not to insult the actual Chaplin, who was a great filmmaker in his own right. Chaplin himself is so much more than just "ha ha the little clown fell down." Some of those early shorts of Tati were much like the little clown of Chaplin, both were excellent in their own rights. They should not to be compared to each other, and neither should limit the greatness of either filmmaker. Beyond the dismissive nature of American film critics, let's have no more comparisons with Chaplin. Why do I mean by the "Bergman of Comedy?" Ingamar Bergman is my favorite filmmaker and in my view the greatest and most brilliant filmmaker of all time. Many Critics bleieve that his film The Seventh Seal (1957) was the greatest film ever made. I have to admit I agree, even though it's hard to choose just one. One can find several of his films reviewed on my film review page.

Tati is better compared to Bergman because his films are not so "ha ha" funny like the little clown falling down, but more a brilliant, humorous, positive, sometimes painful (so much so one must laugh) glimpse into the rich pageantry of life. They are the kind of "zen" humor at which the French excel; the unfunny made humors, the subtle mixture of the absurd and the painfully acute. His early shorts made in the silent era and early talkies were the typical funny slap stick sort of fare. My first real exposure to his full length films was to Les Vacances de M. Hulot (1953), (aka Mr. Hulot's Holiday). It does have some slap sticky shtick (business) going for it. It's packed with the sort rye subtle eye opening "ah, yes, that little aspect of life" epiphany that just breaks over you like an ocean breeze and fills you with longing for summer in childhood. It's one after another.

Mr. Hulot, who Tati always plays, is his signature character, going on holiday in the summer in the north of France. I think it's in Normandy which not the vacation capital of Eruope. This would be like wanting to go to the Meditation and staying at Faulty Towers instead. The tone is set by the most wonderful background music which is progressive jazz. It's a very mellow sort of Jazz that was new, sophisticated and somewhat progressive in the 50s. It's black and white, giving it a dream like quality of a childhood memory.The pervading sense of the film is one of happy optimism punctuated by the ruined surprise, the spit take, the cake in the face sort of thing. There's a small child who is given money to get ice cream for himself and his bother, he guys two cones. This two fisted ice cream eater realizes the cones are dripping all over his hands, he can't open the door to the hall where his brother is because he can't set the cones down. He's n quandary, he milks it for the humor then the kid eats both. Not a car chase, not an explosion, it's not the stooges but it's humorous and it makes you smile. Moreover there's another coming in about a minute. Hulot opens the door to the eating hall and the wind of the sea blows over a bunch of stuff people were cleaning up and so for ages. There's a bit with wet foot prints that never seem to go anywhere. There's a record player connected to the lights and it's real loud and this guy keep's playing it all night. There's a super funny scene where Hulto is knowing stuff off the wall while trying to look debonair to impress a woman. There's a grand finale fire works display where Tati gets into some priceless shtick with trying to put out the fire they cause and basically bombards the hotel and sets it on fire. Of course it was his clumsiness that started the fireworks shooting off inside a shed in the middle of the night. All the way through the film gives one a feeling being on holiday. I watched it eight times in a week the first time I saw it.

I think I like even better the film Mon Oncle (1958) (My Uncle). This film is in color and that's important because it has a modernity theme that would be belied by black and white. It begins with the construction of a sky scrapper on the outskirts of Paris. The names on placards in front of a building under construction usually tell the name of the firm and the architect and so on. We see the names we realize these are the credits of the film. But the title and the credit for producer and director (Tati of course) is scrawled in chalk on an old wall around the corner. So have two spheres here, the new gleaming factory district, with modern buildings, and the old quarter around the corner that still looks like something out of nineteenth century Paris. In fact there is a pack of stray dogs we follow in the opening of the film. This section of town is where Mr. Hulot lives and it's the most French looking place, it almost fits the stereotypical Hollywood image of 1901 in Paris. There are even horse drawn carts. There's one of those little markets where you can buy all sorts of fresh fish and veg and everything from street vendors. Kids playing in the street and so on. Hulot lives in the most French looking house I've ever seen. One would expect a sign that says "Jean Val Jean slept here." This is Hulot's turf. It is his domain. The shiny factory district around the corner is out of his world, He even rides a horse drawn cart. the dog pack is important because we are meant to understand that Hulto is one of the dogs, he's a straw, he's out of place, he's not rooted anymore. The old part is his turf but even there he's out place because he's out of the time in which he belongs.

Around the corner in the gleaming factory district is the house of his sister. He goes there every Sunday, I know what that's about. When I lived in New Mexico I went to my sister's and hung around on Sunday, not wanted there by my brother-in-law but just tolerated. I didn't have the money to go anywhere else, got a free meal talked to my sister. This is like Hulot in this film, he loves his nephew and his nephew loves him. He gives the child toys and picks him up after school and always finds interesting things to show him. The gang his nephew is in play this game where they hide on a hill over looking a street with lots of foot traffic and they wait until someone is coming they whistle the person runs into a sign in front of them becasue he's looking to see who whistled, they lay bets on who will hit the sign.

The sister lives in an ultra modern house. The house looks like a bank or a jack in the box form that era where they used square box like buildings. It has a high wall and electronic gate, filled with gadgets. the furniture doesn't look like furniture, nothing looks comfortable. they have a little fountain with a fish that spurts a stream of water out of its mouth and straight up. They turn it on when company comes. Everything buzzes in that house becasue everything is push button. When the mother is cooking there are so many buzzers going off you can't hear yourself think. The atmosphere is sterile. The child clearly hates it, this is one major thing driving him away form his father whom he can't stand to his uncle who the father hates. Of course the uncle, Hulot, mills about, if he takes a nape the father get's angry. Of course he falls asleep in the living room and is there on Monday morning . They decide to force Hulot to get a job. The father is the manager of the plant so he makes a job for him, and of cousre they all act it's a huge favor so me must take it. Of course he's about as suited to it as a pig would be to flying a bomber. The first day he let's the pack of straw dogs into he factory offices and they run amuck. Symbolism.The factory offices look like a bank. They are made in the style of fascist architecture: huge spaces that are way more than needed for the task they contain, big marble walls, cold and antiseptic and clunky out of proportion statues.

Sister's house

Hulot runs amuck. The factory makes rubber hoses and due to his general ineptitude for the job he makes a huge long string of hoses that look frankfurters. His friends try to hide the hose so he wont get fired, and they have lots of adventures trying to get it out of the plant unseen. Of cousre I'm skipping over a lot of hilarious stuff. Hulot damages the water line to the fountain in the sister's yard and it's spraying party guests. The father finally get's fed up with Hulot and trasfurs him to the provinces outside of Paris, far away, as a salesman. He's as suited to selling hoses as he is to making hoses. The brother can't make him go but because he's rootless and inept he does anyway. The son introduces the father to the bump-into-the-sing game and the father and son begin to move closer to each other. Lurking underneath his innocent state upon which Tati plays out his high jinks is a serious conflict between Paris as it is shaping up after the war and those who feel displaced by the new business orientation and who long for the old Paris, the Paris of great jazz, Josephine Baker, Picasso, and the lost generation. This is really not Tati's attempt to get to laugh at Mr. Hulot it's Tati's cometary on the faceless corporation the urge to do business in the American model, the loss of the elements that made Paris what it was before the war. This is interesting from the stand point of film because this was the time of the New Cinema when directors like François Truffaut were developing a new cinema. Yet Tati is not a throw back to pre war film making techniques. He's standing up for the individual and artistic integrity with a hint of nostalgia for a time when all of Paris reflected these ideals in everything, he's not doing it in an outmoded way.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Feeling of Utter Depednece: Frederich Schleiermacher's Implied Ontolgoical Argument

Frederich Schleiermacher, (1768-1834)

The Feeling of Utter Dependence

Frederich Schleiermacher, (1768-1834) in On Religion: Speeches to it's Cultured Despisers,Christian Faith. (aka The Glaubenslehre) sets forth the view that religion is not reducible to knowledge or ethical systems. It is primarily a phenomenological apprehension of God consciousness through means of religious affections. Affections is a term not used much anymore, and it is easily confused with mere emotion. Sometimes Schleiermacher is understood as saying that "I become emotional when I pay and thus there must be an object of my emotional feelings." Though he does venture close to this position in one form of the argument, this is not exactly what he's saying. In the earlier form of his argument he was saying that affections were indicative of a sense of God, but in the Christian Faith he argues that there is a greater sense of unity in the life world and a sense of the dependence of all things in the life world upon something higher. and the

What is this feeling of utter dependence? It is the sense of the unity in the life world and its greater reliance upon a higher reality. It is not to be confused with the stray-sky-at-night-in-the-desert feeling, but is akin to it. This phrase “unity in the life world” is important and will be explored latter. An example of the “feeling of utter dependence,” I used to notice a certain kind of feeling when I would sit in my back yard by the garden late at night. I could hear the sounds of the freeway in the distance, and on a clear summer night smell the sage I grew and watch the stars. It all seemed to be a great harmony of purpose. It was all unified. There seemed to be some higher sense of unification upon which it all hung. That's just a short hand for those of us to whom this is a new concept to get some sort of handle on it. Nor does "feeling" here mean "emotion" but it is connected to the religious affections. In the early version Schleiermacher thought it was a correlate between the religious affections and God; God must be there because I can feel love for him when I pray to him. But that's not what it's saying in the better version. Many people understand this feeling, or “God consciousness” as a reaction of the romantic rebellion against enlightenment rationalism. “Influenced by romanticism and his own early exposure to Moravian Pietism…the feeling…is the heart of the religious defined at the deepest level of self consciousness and awareness in contrast to the enlightenment preoccupation with beliefs and morals.”[i] There’s more to this than just a romantic rebellion. Schleiermacher rebels against Kant. For Schlieiermacher there is no Kantian dualism but an underlying unity and foundation of both knowledge and action. He battles Kant on two fronts, the account of consciousness and the account of God and experience. For Schleiermacher, consciousness is not simply non cognitive as with Kant but is immediate, original pre theoretical consciousness of reality. Feeling is part of consciousness so one is not just having random emotional states when having feelings, but a form of consciousness that is an immediate experience of reality. This experience is also pre-theoretical meaning its prior to thinking about. It’s a experience of reality before we reflect and do a bunch of philosophizing about the nature of reality. [ii] “Knowing and doing are more determinate, circumscribed and mediated modes of consciousness, which presuppose feeling or immediate self consciousness.”[iii]

The reason this phrase “knowing and doing” or “knowledge and action” keep popping up is because prior to Schleiemracher and with Kant religion was reduced to being thought a jumped up form of ethics, or an ethical form of philosophy. Kant recommends the use of God in practical reason as a means of regulating ethical practice.[iv]

Unlike Kant and with Husserl Schleiermacher believes that theoretical cognition is logically founded upon pretheoretical intersubjective consciousness and its life world. The latter cannot be dismissed as non-cognitive, for if the life world praxis is non-cognitive and invalid, so is theoretical cognition. Schleiermacher contends that religious belief in God is pretheoretical: it is not the result of proofs and demonstrations, but is conditioned solely by the religious modification of feeling, namely the feeling of utter dependence. Belief in God is not acquired though intellectual acts of which the traditional proofs of God are examples, but rather from the thing itself, the object of religious experience. If, as Schleiermacher says, God is given to feeling in an original way, this means that the feeling of utter dependence is in some sense an appreciation of divine being and reality.This is not meant as a Barthian fideism or an appeal to revelation but as a…religious a prori[v]

In other words, this is the “realization of the reality of God.” This concept of the life world has come up again. The feeling is said to be (above) a reflection of unity in the life world.

Unity in the Life world

"Life world," or Lebenswelt is a term used in German philosophy. It implies the world of one's culturally constructed life, the "world" we 'live in;’ this is life as we experience it on a daily basis. The unity one senses in the life world is intuitive and unites the experiences and aspirations of the individual in a sense of integration and belonging in the world. This is what Heidegger is talking about when he says "a being in the world." Schleiermacher is saying that there is a special intuitive sense that everyone can grasp of this whole, this unity, being bound up with a higher reality, being dependent upon a higher unity. In other words, the "feeling" can be understood as an intuitive sense of "radical contingency." The life world is an inter-subjective socio-cultural world the existence of which we take for granted.[vi] Since it is “subject relative” it can be given in intuition at least in principle. Yet It is not only subjective, but also inter-subjective, meaning something that is in principle subjective but not just subjective and, therefore, dismissed as either unimportant or impossible to understand, but is understood, albeit subjectively by others uniformly and somewhat universally and the sheer commonalty of the experience transcends the subjective nature. It’s like the way we all just know what it means to say “you had to be there, “ yet we can’t really put into words why being there would make a difference. Moreover, the life-world consists of general features that are more than subjective.[vii] On the one hand the life world is the “correlate of transcendental consciousness in the sense that belief in the life world is the transcendental condition of possible experience. On the other hand the life-world is experienced as a determinate social and cultural world.”[viii] Thus the life-world can be approach from either a phenomenological perspective or a concrete social perspective rooted in the social sciences.

Schleiermacher’s Implied Ontological Argument

As with the Tillich-implied OA, Schleiermacher did not say “this is an ontological argument.” Williams points that it is one, however, it is so by virtue of the correlation between the feeling and it’s object, or the co-determinate. The correlation (think about Tillich’s theological method discussed in chapter 2) is presupposed by the immanent in “historically determinate religious experience” At the base of the correlation is Shcleiermacher’s ontological approach to the question of God.[ix] For Schleiemracher revelation and person disclosure are part of God’s’ nature. “He accepts the ontological principle that God is the presupposition of the idea of God, and believes that the idea can be identified with nothing less transcendent non mundane whence of utter dependence…Schleiermacher,” says Williams, “presents a pre theoretical reflective version of the ontological argument.”[x] He adds that God is more than religious consciousness and a doctrine of God can be constructed, not merely a postulation as with Kant or Feuerbach. What he means is that Kant appealed to the concept of God as a regulation for ethics, and Feuerbach argued that God was just a construct designed to mask the true interest of society, money. Williams is saying that Schlemeriamcher believed God’s self revelation in the feeling of utter dependence is indicative of an actual God not just a theoretical reference point.

The ontological principle, God is the presupposition to the idea of God, what does this mean? Whitehead explained it this way:

That every condition to which the process of becoming conforms in any particular instance has its reason either in the character of some actual entity in the actual world of that concrescence, or in the character of the subject which is in the process of concrescence. This category of explanation is termed the ‘ontolgoical principle’…[xi]

In other words the idea of God is such that God must really exist in order for the idea to make sense. If the idea doesn’t make sense then why is it that it does make sense in terms of it’s correlation to actual experience? In the early crude form of the argument he was saying things like “I feel love for God so there must be a God for me to love.” That’s because he saw feelings as disclosures rather than self deceptions of useless wastes of energy. I can also be compared with the principle of sufficient reason. Putting it in Tillich’s terms if we sense the reality of being as eternal, infinite and necessary and our place in being as contingent upon this infinite reality, then this the correlation of our experience to God. We are realizing the reality of God in the realization of our place in being which comes to us from an understanding that the experience of the divine is correlation between God’s discourse and our realization. Williams links it to the Ontological Argument. Schleiermacher is sensing intuitively before he thinks about it what Anslem came to conclude in his reflection upon the fool. Williams is quoted above as saying “presents a pre theoretical reflective version of the ontological argument.” In other words before its thought about and formulated into a theoretical argument it’s a realization or an experience of the divine in raw reality, unformed and unedited. With this in mind I propose that this is really what Anselm thought of, but without the language of phenomenology he had to settle for putting it into theoretical terms.

There's also a corrolate with the cosmological argument, since the feeling is actually a sense of the contingency of the life-world upon a higher reality. The feeling is not proof of God's existence but a rational warrant for belief since it validates both CA and OA.

[i] Adrian Hastings, Alistair Mason, Hugh S. Pyper. The Oxford Companion to Christian Though:Intellectual, Spiritual and Moral Horizons of Christianity, New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2000, 483 (on line page number). On line copy URL

visited 4/17/11.

[ii] Robert R. Williams, Schleiermacher The Theologian: Construction of the Doctrine of God, Philadelphia: Fortes Press, 1978, 5.

[iii] Ibid. 4

[iv] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Kant’s Philosophy of Religion, First published Tue Jun 22, 2004; substantive revision Fri Jul 31, 2009. Copy Right Philip Rossi. online version URL: visited 4/19/11.

[v] Williams, ibid, 4

[vi] Ibid, 31

[vii] Ibid

[viii] Ibid.

[ix] Ibid 4

[x] Ibid, 5

[xi] Alfred North Whitehead, Process and Reality, an Essay in Cosmology. New York: The Free Press Corrected Edidition, ed David Ray Griffin Donald W. Shureburne, 19878, 24

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Modal Argument

Charles Hartshorne 1897-2000
Modern Champion of the modal argument

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. The problem is it requires a very specialized background to understand it. First you have to understand modal logic.

Modal Logic is so called because it turns upon the use of so called "modal operators." It's called "modal" because it is the logic of modes of being. "modes" as in what type of existnce something exits in, weather it is dependent upon other things, weather it can cease or fail to exist and so forth. The modal operators are "necessity," "contingency" "impossibly," "possibility."

Necessity and contingency lie at the base of our modern understanding of cause and effect. They come from scholastic notions of logic, but the distinction between the notion our modern notions of c/e and the shcoalstic ones in the middle ages is not that great. The scholastics had more levels of cause, efficient cause, final cause and several others. But one could everything we have done in modern science using the scholastic ideas of c/e.

Necessity doesn't mean has to exist. It doesn't mean God is necessary to the existence of the world (except in so far as if God exists then of closure God is necessary to the world as creator--without God there would be no world).The modal arguemnt does not begin with the assumption that God has to exist. It begins with the assumption that there is a valid distinction between necessity and contingency, which there must be.It proceeds along the lines of hypothetical consequence that obtain from different scenarios of God's existence. It concludes that is necessary. But by "necessary" it means not contingent, or not dependent upon something else for its' existence.

This is often misconstrued by atheists and taken to mean the argument proceeds from God's existence as an assumed first premise. This is not the case, the first premise is either/or. Either God's existence is necessary or it is impossible. This allows for the possibility that there is no God. So the argument does not begin by "defining God into existence."

Necessity means either non dependent or cannot cease or fail. By "fail" I mean there could not not be a God. That is the conclusion of the argument, not the premise.

Contingent means the opposite: that a thing is dependent upon a prior thing for existence, or that it could cease or fail to exist.

Impossible means logically impossible, something in the structure of the idea contradictions, such as square circles.

one of the sore spots that atheists get stuck on is the idea that God cannot be contingent. They will always leap to the conclusion that this is defining God into existence, because they don't understand the concept of God. God, by the nature of the concept, carriers certain parameters just as the existence of any human assumes humanity, or the existence of any tree assumes that the tree in question is a plant. To have to define that God is not contingent should not even come into it. The idea of God is that of eternal creator of all things. Thus God cannot cease to exits and cannot be dependent upon anything (or he wouldn't be the creator of all things). Atheists usually assume that all knowledge has to be empirical. they will argue this is defining God into existence. maybe God is contingent.

Maybe there is a begin like the one we talk about but he's not eternal or the creator of all things, but that means he's not the God we are talking about.

Hartshorne's version goes like this:

1) God can be analytically conceived without contradiction.
2) Therefore God is not impossible.
3) By definition God cannot be contingent.
4) Therefore God is either necessary or impossible.
5) God is not impossible (from 2) therefore, God is necessary.
6) Whatever is necessary by the force of Becker's modal theorum must necessarily exist.

Argument:my version

1) God can be analytically conceived, as eternal necessary being, without contradiction.

2) Therefore God is not impossible,(because no contradiction).

3) By definition God cannot be contingent (becasue God is eteral).

4) Therefore if God exists, God's existence is necessary, if God does not exist, it is because God is impossible.

5) God is not impossible (from 2) therefore, God is necessary.

6) Whatever is necessary by the force of Becker's modal theorum must necessarily exist.

A. The logic of the argument:

This argument is analytical, it proceeds from the basis in logic to argue that the concept of God is such that if we understood the meaning of the terms we would have to conclude that God must exist. Naturally that is a very controversial position. Many Christians and other theists reject the ontological argument on the grounds knowledge must be somewhat empirical. Nevertheless the argument has been used for a long time, and despite its many apparent deaths, it keeps returning in one form or another. Perhaps the best book on the subject is The Many Faced Argument by John Hick. Somehow the ontological argument just wont die. I feel that this is not so much because the argument itself is true as a proof, but because it gets at something deeper than proof, something to do with the way to think about God, and it strikes a deep cord in our consciousness, even though as a proof it may fail. For this reason alone it is important to know, if only to know the concept itself.

1) God can be analytically conceived without contradiction.
2) Therefore God is not impossible.
3) By definition God cannot be contingent.
4) Therefore God is either necessary or impossible.
5) God is not impossible (from 2) therefore, God is necessary.
6) Whatever is necessary by the force of Becker's modal theorum must necessarily exist.

(This is actually my re-statement of what Hartshorne is saying).

Hartshorne's actual modal logic looks like this:

The OA: an assessment:

by Ed Stoebenau Hartshorne's ontological argument is based on Anselm's second argument and claims that God's existence is logically necessary. Hartshorne's argument is given here, where "N(A)" means "it is logically necessary that A," "~A" means "it is not the case that A," "-->" is strict implication, "v" means "or," and "g" means "God exists":

g --> N(g)
N(g) v ~N(g)
~N(g) --> N(~N(g))
N(g) v N(~N(g))
N(~N(g)) --> N(~g)
N(g) v N(~g)
N(g) --> g

This argument is valid. Furthermore, given an Anselmian conception of God, premises one and five are sound. Premise two is just the law of the excluded middle, and premise three is a law of the modal logic S5. Premise nine is obviously sound, so this leaves premise seven as the only premise to question. Premise seven says that it is logically possible that God exists.

Yes, those funny lines, "g-->N(g)" are the argument, those are the formal symbols used in modal logic.

B. God's Possibility vs. Impossibility.

The argument turns on the distinction between necessity and contingency, and upon the distinction between mere possibility and the nature of necessary being as not mere possible. In other words, God is either necessary or impossible. If God exists than he is ontologically necessary, because he is logically necessary by definition. But if he does not exist than it is ontologically impossible that he exists, or could come to exist. This is because God cannot be contingent, by definition. A contingency is just not God. So if God is possible, he can't be "merely possible" and thus is not impossible, which means he must be necessary.

God is conceivable in analytic terms without contradiction:
The universe without God is not concievable in analytical terms; it is dependent upon principles which are themselves contingent. Nothing can come from a possibility of total nothingness; the existenceo of singularities and density of matter depend upon empiracal observations and extrapolation form it. By definition these things are not analytical and do depend upon causes higher up the chain than their being (note that the skeptic at this point probably denies the validity of analytic proofs but to reverse the arguement must accept such proof).

Since the concept is coherent nad not contradictory and is derived from analytic terms, to reverse the argument the atheist must show that God is impossible since the burden of proof is now on the one arguing that a contingent state of affirs could produce a universe in which being has to be.

D. Answering Objections:

1) The argument can be reversed

Atheists have tried to reverse the argument merely by saying:

1) either God exists or he doesn't
2) God is either necessary or impossilbe. Necessary if he eixists, impossible if he does not
3) God is impossible
4) Therefore God does not exist.

But of course this is merely stipulation. They assume that what the argument is doing is just stipulating everything that has been said about God, but on the "Modes of Being" page I show that each of these modalities of existence are logical deductions.Either a thing exists or it does not. One can equivocate about the meaning the term "existence," but here I clearly mean concete actual existence in the "real" world. If a thing does not exist it is either that it could, but just doesn't happen to exist, or that it cannot exist because it is a conceptual contradiction, such as square circles, or round triangles and so on. Therefore, if it does exist, it is either that it exists contingently or that it is not contingent but exists necessaryily (that is it could not fail to exist without contradiction). These are the four most basic modes of being and cannot be denied. They could be subdivded, for example fictional contingency, such as Sueprman or Dick Tracy, that which would be contingent if it had real concete actuality, but is merely a fictional concept. But the four modes are the basic logical deductions about the nature of existence.

The idea that the argument can be reversed just by switching the lines and declairing God impossible merely begs the question. Is God really impossible just because we can utter those words? Is God logically necessary just because we can utter those words?. No, but that's not what is being said. God is logically necessary as a concept. That is the nature of the God-concept, that's the idea of God. To deny that would be like saying "how do you know that tables are things to put things on?" Or "how do you know that triagles have three sides?"The question is one of actuality, so if it is possible that God exists than God is ontologically necessary and thus has real concete existence because since God is not contingent it cannot be that God is "merely possible." If it is at all possible that God exists, than it's not impossible. To show that the argument can truely be reversed the atheist must show why God is impossible, and to do that he/she must show that God cannot be understood analytically without contradiction.

Another attempt at reversing the argument, which is always used on message boards when I make this argument: just to put not in front of each line. "It is possible that god does not exist." The premise is they don't have to prove God is ipossible, but just that the possiblity of God's not existing reverses the argment.

The problem is, the premise is false. If god is not analytically impossible (contradictory) then God must exist. Thus it is not ture that it is possible that God does not exist. The logic works like this:

(1) If God is indeep possible, the God cannot be impossible.

(2) to say God is not possible is the same as saying god is impossible.

(3) if something is possible, it can't be impossible.

(4) you must show why God is impossible.

(5) I have showen why God is possible, becasue God is concievable without contradiction.

(6) anticipating answer on eneity and consciousness, consciousness is not a primary quality of God. Other things are conscoiuss, that is not something quiquely estabishes God as God, logical necessity is such a thing.

(7) If God is possible, and can't be impossible, and can't be contingent, then to be possible for God is to be logically necessary. Thus it does not work to say God is not possible because it isn't true, thus it's a false premise.

To make good on any reversal they must show a contraidction in the concept of God. To this they always retort "well you can't prove that God is not contradictory." But I don't have to prove that. One can assume that if there is no contraiction it is not contradictory. They are the one's seeking to make the reversal, so it's their burden of proof. But to prove that God is possible all one need do is concive god analytically without contradiction. what else could one do to prove a possiblity?

2) The assumption that we are merely loading the concept with terms that make it necessary, or that the deftion of God as necessary is arbitrary.

This is really the same arguement one must make to reverse the argument of necessary being. This is what atheists always argue. The first thing they say bout it is that we are just arbitrarily sticking on the term "necessary" and playing word games. Some go so far as to try and demonstrate this by sticking the term necessary on other things, such as "purple cow" or anything they think of, and that's suppossed to show what we are doing. I regard this move as nothing more than a demonstration that they do not understand the concepts The necessity of necessity and why it must be applied to God is demonstrated on the "modes of being" page. Moreover, this move is nothing more than the perfect Island argument. It can't wrok becaus it merely enthrones contingencies. Our reason for saying that God is necessary is much more logical and organic and is much more than a mere word game.

While it is true that God as being itself is a pre-given postulate and is idependent of proof because it is part of the defintion of God, the realization that being has t be means that this must be the case.

3) The assumption that we are lending existence to a fictional being.

This is merely an assumption. The necessary existence of God is implied in the possibility of God's existence and the realization that the the only alternative is impossibility. God is possible and thus necessary. Some have tried to argue that they are breaking up the four categories with a 5th not seen, that of "fictional" but that applies to the category 4 that of non-existing contingency.

4) Equivocating between types of necessity.

The argument says that to say God is necessary as a postulate of defintion is speaking of ontological necessity, than to assert the actuality of it is moving from logical to ontolgocial necessiy.

To say that a thing is logically possible is to say that it might have existed in the past or may exist in the future. But for God to exist he must always have existed; in the past, in the future, or all time. Given logical necessity the logical possibility of God 's non existance is impossible. Therefore, ontoloigcal necessity implies logical necessity. One implies the other and it is a rational move from one to the other.

This argument may seem like merely a trick of words, and modal logic may be conroverial, but it turns on very basic logic, such as modus tolens or modus ponens which is accepted by all logicians. On Argument 1 I document Antony Flew saying that the logoical categories of "Necessary" and "contingent" truth are accepted by all logicians.

Concise intero to the Modal Ontological Arugument for The Existence of God.


‘Modal’ – Pertaining to the modes of existence (de re) or of propositions (de dicto) as necessary or possible. ‘Necessity’ is a mode of being for a thing or proposition as is ‘Possibility’.
‘Ontological’ – from Greek ontoV for being.
‘Argument’ – designed to logically support a proposition (not to be confused with persuasion which is a psycho-social phenomenon, not a philosophical one).
Throughout this description I shall use standard notation and notation used when the font is restricted to a single typeset as in a text only document for HTTP purposes on the Internet.

The modalities are symbolized as follows:
A square or in typeset [] preceding an expression means “It is necessary that…” or “It is necessarily the case that…” or simply “Necessarily…” e.g. as applied to a propositional function.

Ps/[]Ps – “It is necessarily the case that s is P” where s is a constant referring to some individual and P is a predicate.
A Diamond à or in typeset <> preceding an expression means “It is possibly the case that…” or “It is possible that…” or simply “Possibly…”


Possibility is defined as consistency. àPs/<>Ps reads as “Possibly, s is P” and means that there is no contradiction in attributing P to s. Necessity is defined as “not possibly not the case”. If something cannot not be, then it must be.

Psº~à~Ps or []Ps=~<>~Ps

There are many different ways to axiomatize a logic, just as there are different ways to axiomatize geometry. Axioms in some systems will be theorems in others, but since axioms and theorems have the same validity it is only a matter of formal difference. One of the most used systems of modal logic is called S5. There is an interesting theorem in S5 called Brouer’s Theorem.
(PàP)à(àPàP) or (P-->[]P)-->(<>P-->P)
This theorem is derivable in weaker systems as well.
The modal ontological argument for the existence of God is just a substitution instance for this theorem. There are only two propositions needed.

First comes the definition of God as a being who, IF he exists, does so necessarily, i.e. a Necessary Being. This is only the definition of what God would be like IF he existed. The proposition is formalized as
GàG or G-->[]G
“If God exists, then he necessarily exists.”
The other proposition is the assertion that it is possible that God exists.
àG or <>G
“Possibly, God exists.”

The only rule of inference needed is Modus Ponens.
PàQ “If P, then Q”
Therefore Q
Now we are ready to put the argument together.

1. (GàG)à(àGàG)
2. GàG
3. àG
4. àGàG
5. G
(Theorem, sub G for P)
(Def of God)
(1, 2 MP)
(4, 3 MP)

1. (G-->[]G)-->(<>G-->G) (Theorem, sub G for P)
2. G-->[]G (Def of God)
3. <>G (premise)
4. <>G-->G (1, 2 MP)
5. G (4, 3 MP)


It is quite a simple argument which makes it hard to understand its fullness. The simple is packed with meaning. As you can see, there is one and only one premise, that it is possible that God exists. If this be granted, then his necessary existence follows. Since all efforts to show that the concept of God is contradictory have failed heretofore I conclude, somewhat reluctantly, that God exists. Kai Neilson tried to argue this in his debate with J.P. Moreland, but didn’t make much progress.

Now I realize that to the average person, this seems like a trick, but the average person is not particularly accustomed to following logical arguments at all, much less highly specialized forms of logical calculi developed by professional philosophers. Most professors at the University level don’t even know modal logic and many have never studied it and some have never heard of it. What do those who know it, but don’t believe in God say? They say that the concept of God is incoherent. I have not yet seen an even slightly plausible argument to that effect. Until I do, the OA will be cogent to me. I might add that I am a convert on this argument. I argued for years that the ontological argument was flawed until someone showed me the modal version. I have always followed Reason wherever it lead and, as usual, it lead to God.


Adams, Robert M., _The Virtue of Faith_, esp. “The Logical Structure of Anselm’s Arguments,” Oxford University Press: 1987.
Moris, Thomas V, _Anselmian Explorations_, esp. “Necessary Beings,” University of Notre Dame Press: 1987.
Plantinga, Alvin, _The Nature of Necessity_, esp. “God and Necessity,” Oxford University Press: 1974, 1992.
Plantinga, Alvin, _The Ontological Argument_, Anchor Books, 1965.
Swinburne, Richard, _The Coherence of Theism_, Oxford University Press: 1977, 1993.

Oddly enough that quotation is linked to a site by an atheist named Adrian Barnett who is attacking my older version of this argument, but he was gracious enough to put this quotation, which I think works against his argument, by a philospher in the UK.

About Hartshorne

Hartshorne Lived to be 103, at the time of his death in the Fall of 2000, he was known as "the greatest living Metaphysician." Hartshorne was one of the major forces in the "back to God" movment in Philosophy (a term coined by Christianity Today in a 1979 article. His first and greatest calim to fame is as the second most influential voice in process philosophy, along with Alfred North Whtiehead, but he is also credited as the man who brought the Ontologcial argument back from ignorminious defeat by Kant almost two centuries earlier. Hartshorne was also a recognized authority on birdsong, and an authority on bycicles, having never driven a car a single time in his centogenerian lifespan. Hartshorne devoted the last years of life to waging a letter's to the editor campgaign to advocate social issues such as medical care.