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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 1: Sat Mar 25, 2017 5:14 pm
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The Modal Ontological Argument

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First off, let me take the time to thank both my opponent (wiploc) for agreeing to debate me on this subject. Let me also thank the creators and moderators of this forum for providing an excellent platform for such a debate.

I hope for an engaging discussion. My opinion agreed to my use of the same OP from my last debate on this very subject (with rikuoa), with slight editions.

My contention is that the MOA is a logically sound/valid argument for the existence of God. My opponent seems to think otherwise.

That being said, lets get on with it..

Oh, I forgot; before I begin the actual argument, a few terms/concepts must be addressed. One of those concepts involves possible world semantics. What is a "possible world" (PW)?

A PW is a set of circumstances or any proposition that could be true or could be false…or a set of circumstances or any proposition that could be necessarily true, or necessarily false.

Example: Donald Trump is the President of the United States.

If this statement is true, then there is a possible world at which Donald Trump is President of the United States. However, since Donald Trump could very well NOT be the President of the U.S., then it follows that there is also a possible world at which Donald Trump isn't President of the U.S.

So, in essence, there is a possible world (set of circumstances) at which Donald Trump is the President of the U.S. (and vice versa). In other words, it's possible. It could happen, which makes the truth value of President Trump contingently truth, since it is equally possible for Mr. Trump to NOT be President.


Contingent truths are not to be confused with necessary truths. What are necessary truths? Necessary truths are truths that are either true or false REGARDLESS of the circumstances. So in essence, necessary truths are true in ALL POSSIBLE WORLDS. Good examples of necessary truths are mathematical truths, such as 2+2=4 <--- this is true in all possible circumstances and can never be false under any circumstance.

Before we move on, just to rehash..

Contingency truths:
Propositions that are true or false, based on circumstances (could be true, could be false).

Necessary truths: Propositions that are true or false, REGARDLESS of circumstances (if it is true, it is impossible to be false [vice versa]).

Now that our preliminary terms have been defined, let's turn the attention to the definition of God, and keep in mind that I will be using "God" and "Maximally Great Being" (MGB) interchangeably throughout the argument.

God, at least as defined by Christian theism, is a maximally great being (MGB). By maximally great, we mean that God is..

Omniscient:
All knowing, knowing the truth value of all propositions.
Omnipotent: Can do anything that is logically possible.
Omnipresent: Presence is manifested, whether physically or spiritually, everywhere, at any given time
Omnibenevolent: The ultimate source of goodness, morally perfect.

These "omni" properties (OP) are known as "great making" properties..as a being's greatness is measured based on these properties and the value of these properties. A MGB is a being of whom these properties are "maxed out" to such a degree at which there is nothing left to add, making it impossible to think of a "greater" being.

A MGB would also have to exist necessarily, meaning it would be impossible for such a being to NOT exist or fail to exist. Why? Because it is virtually impossible for one to gain possession of maxed out OP based upon contingent circumstances. So, if one was to possess these OP, then one would possess them necessarily.

A natural born human being or entity cannot possess MAXED out OP, but a necessary being whose existence is not dependent upon anything external to it, can indeed possess these properties, and these properties would be as necessary as the MGB himself (itself).

There are other reasons why it is necessary that there must exist a being whose existence is necessary (cannot fail to exist), which I will discuss later on in the argument.

So, now we've defined our terms, and we've even defined the MGB..now, on to the actual argument..

1. It is possible that a maximally great being exists

2. If it is possible that a maximally great being exists, then a maximally great being exists in some possible world.

3. If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world.

4. If a maximally great being exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world (our world).

5. If a maximally great being exists in the actual world, then a maximally great being exists.

6. Therefore, a maximally great being exists.

I will justify each premise, one at a time.

1. It is possible that a maximally great being exists:

Justification for P1: In other words, for all we know, a MGB could exist. To "prove" that God doesn't exist, wiploc would either have to..

A. Possess the properties of omniscience and omnipotence and thereby be all knowing in knowledge, with a presence that is manifested at all possible locations within the universe or beyond the universe. Only then will he definitively be able to say "I know there is no God, because I am omniscient, and if that is not enough, I've been to every place there is to go in the universe (and beyond), and there is no God ANYWHERE." But we know that that is beyond my opponent's capabilities (and anyone's).

B. Prove that God does not exist as a result of logical absurdities that arise based on the definition of "God". So he would have to prove that God does not exist based on the simple fact that the mere idea of God (as defined) is logically incoherent. In other words, the concept of God is absurd.

If my opponent feels this way, then the burden of proof is on him to demonstrate to us where the absurdity lies.

I maintain that the concept of God, as defined in the argument, does not violate any laws of logic and is a logically coherent concept, making such a being's existence conceivable and at the very least POSSIBLE.

So, until further notice, P1 (It is possible that a maximally great being exists) stands.

2. If it is possible that a maximally great being exists, then a maximally great being exists in some possible world:

Justification for P2: Remember, in Possible World (PW) semantics, when something is "possibly true," it means that there are a set of circumstances at which the proposition (X is true) has true value.

For example, if there is a possible world at which Donald Trump is elected President, that is the same as saying "there are a set of circumstances that will allow for Donald Trump to reach 270 delegates to win the Presidency". Now, if that is to happen, there is a "world" (set of circumstances) that it is possible.

Likewise; if it is possible that a MGB exists, then there is at least some possible set of circumstances that allows such a being to exist.

P2 logically follows from P1, of course.

3. If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world:

Justification for P3: If there is at least ONE possible world at which a MGB exists, then it follows that a MGB's must exist in EVERY possible world. Why? Because a necessary being's existence can't be possible in one world, but impossible in another world. Necessary truths are true in all possible worlds. For example, 2+2 cannot equal 4 on planet Earth, but equal 14 on Jupiter.

If 2+2 is 4 on Earth, it is 4 EVERYWHERE. So, if God's existence is possible in at least some set of possible circumstances, then it must be possible in all set of circumstances.

4. If a maximally great being exists in every possible world, then a MGB exists in the actual world:

Justification for P4: The actual world that we live in is among the lists of "possible worlds". Necessary truths are true in all possible worlds, including the actual world (our world).

5: If a maximally great being exists in the actual world, then a maximally great being exists:

Justification for P5: Self-explanatory.

So, from P1-P5, it has been demonstrated that if it is possible for a MGB to exist, it follows that a MGB must actually exist. It is worth noting, as I'm sure I will repeatedly say throughout this discourse, is that ALL POSSIBLE NECESSARY TRUTHS must be ACTUALLY TRUE.

Why? Because a proposition cannot be possibly necessarily true, but actually false. So for example, it cannot be possibly necessarily true that 2+2=4, but yet 2+2 is actually 14. Because if 2+2 is actually 14, then it was never possible for 2+2 to equal 4. That is a fundamental point if we are to understand modal logic correctly.

So, in a nutshell, God's existence is either necessarily true, or necessarily false. There is no gray area. It is either impossible for God to cease existing, or, it is impossible for God to exist, period. Again, no gray area.

Before I give the floor to my opponent, I'd to briefly touch on this "necessary" business, as I mentioned I would do earlier. God's existence is necessary because it is impossible for it to be otherwise. Why? Because existence, in general, is necessary. Whether or not you believe the universe is necessary (existing eternally), or if you believe that God is necessary (existing eternally)…either way, mere existence is necessary. Something/Someone had to have always been here. Someone or something have to be eternal in its existence.

However, it is impossible for the universe to exist necessarily, based on the evidence that we have for a finite universe and the philosophical arguments we can give to negate the idea of infinite regress through time. So it follows that a timeless, immaterial being of astronomical power with free will exists..a being who doesn't owe its existence to no ONE or no THING besides its self.

As you can see, I sprinkled a little "Kalam" argument on the MOA, and I did it on purpose. Why? Because it supplements the MOA, as it demonstrates why God's existence is necessary, and a necessary existence is one of the attributes (for lack of a better term) of a MGB as defined in the argument (not by coincidence).

It is because of these reasons as I've just demonstrated why I believe the MOA is a logically sound/valid argument for the existence of God. I will now wait for my opponent's responses and address them accordingly.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 2: Sat Mar 25, 2017 11:16 pm
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The Peanut Gallery is here:
https://debatingchristianity.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=855969#855969

The peanut gallery is also known as the Shadow Thread. Until the debate is over, For_the_Kingdom and I won't be posting there. But people reading this debate can leave comments there discussing it.

So, go there to eat your popcorn, throw spitballs and plaudits, commune with the rest of the audience, and generally enjoy the debate.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 3: Sun Mar 26, 2017 11:19 am
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Greetings, and thanks to all who made this possible, including For_the_Kingdom (FtK), Otseng and Debating Christianity and Religion generally, the moderators, and those of you who join us in the peanut gallery.


Why the Modal Ontological Argument is Important

I thought I had refuted enough theist arguments that I could be comfortable in my belief that theist arguments are all fatally flawed. If all the arguments that I knew of were bad, surely the others were bad too. It's not like they would keep their good arguments under wraps.

I also had this theory that really studying the subject would be worse than a waste of time. Theist arguments are simple. Their flaws are simple. They should be refuted simply. I didn't want to learn a lot of jargon that would just confuse people.

Then I read a post on, you know, some internet bulletin board somewhere, that challenged my position. It said that Christian arguments used to be laughed out of university philosophy departments--until Alvin Plantinga came up with his modal ontological argument (MOA). He had rescued Christianity, made it intellectually respectable.

So, according to at least one person, the MOA is regarded as the best and most respected of the theist arguments. Anyone who hasn't refuted the MOA is in no position to be comfortable in his atheism. If I hadn't read the MOA, studied it, understood it, and refuted it, then I had no business thinking my strong atheism (my belief that no gods exist) was on firm ground.

So, I had to learn another argument. And, to understand this particular argument, which is densely written, I had to study.

I bought Plantinga's book. I read it, studied it, understood it, refuted it. I feel once again like my position is well founded. Plantinga's argument is just as flawed as other attempted proofs of gods. The MOA is no better than other theist arguments. The only difference is that the MOA takes longer to understand and refute because it is written in a peculiar jargon.


The Speak

That jargon probably has some dignified name, but I call it possible-world-speak. I've noticed that some people on this board are hugely confused by possible-world-speak -- and they don't even seem to know it. You have to understand possible-world-speak if you are going to understand the MOA. So let's get started with that now.

Suppose you say, in regular-speak, something like, "If I had dropped that glass on the concrete, it would have broken." In possible-world-speak, that would be rendered as, "There are possible worlds in which I dropped that glass on the concrete. In those worlds, the glass broke."

The first thing you need to know about possible-world-speak is that these two statements are identical. They are two different ways of saying the same thing. Nobody is claiming that possible worlds "exist" or have reality. They are just ways of discussing possibility, impossibility, and necessity.


Possible Worlds

A possible world is one with no logical contradictions. Worlds with contradictions are impossible. Plantinga claims that Jehovah knows everything that will ever happen in every possible world, and also in every impossible world. I don't know what to make of that; I just throw it out there.

Worlds with square circles or married bachelors are impossible. That's just a PWS (possible world speak) way of saying that square circles and married bachelors are contradictions.

Somebody on this board says that possible worlds are those you can imagine. I'm not convinced. What if you can imagine things better than I can? Is god's omnipotence restricted to what I can imagine? No, the test of whether a world is possible is whether it has logical contradiction.


Possible, Impossible, Necessary

If something can't happen at all, we say there is no possible world in which it happens. If it must happen, cannot possibly not happen, we say it happens in every possible world. If it could be true or could be untrue, we say it happens in some possible worlds but not all of them.

Square circles are impossible; there are no possible worlds with square circles.

Some people say that god can't not exist. The world wouldn't exist without him, and he can't kill himself or otherwise die. In PWS, that is expressed this way: God exists in all possible worlds. Something that exists in all possible worlds is called necessary.

Trump was elected president in Kronos, this world, the actual world. But there are possible worlds in which Clinton was elected, so Trump's election was possible but not necessary. Some people call that (possible but not necessary) contingent. This confuses me, because "contingent" has other meanings, so I'm not likely to use that word unless For_the_Kingdom does, and then we'll have to discuss it and agree on the meaning.

When I say that godless worlds are possible, am I saying that all godless worlds are possible? No, because some godless worlds have square circles. What I'm saying is that there is no inherent contradiction in a godless world, and that therefore, among the infinity of godless worlds, some lesser number (but still infinity) are possible.


Are Godless Worlds Possible?

Of course. There's no logical contradiction there. A possible world is any world without contradiction, so godless worlds are possible.

Plantinga as much as admits this when he argues that there are possible worlds which his god couldn't create. He said that, for instance, god couldn't create worlds that weren't created by a god. If god created a godless world, that would be a contradiction, so that would be an impossible world.

But godless worlds that gods did not create are among the possible worlds.


What Good Is Possible-World-Speak?

Gosh, I just don't know. I assume it's good for something, or else people wouldn't use it. But the only use I know of is that learning PWS allowed me to understand Plantinga's modal ontological argument.

So I'm not recommending PWS (possible-world-speak). I'm not endorsing it. I'm just saying, that you can't refute the MOA without using it.

Some on this board are rejecting the MOA with arguments that sound like this: "The French think that "oui" means "yes," but we know that "we" means "us," so the French are wrong.

That's embarrassing. That's stay-off-my-side quality argumentation.

Nobody's saying that possible worlds are "out there somewhere." That isn't the point at all.


Necessary Is Possible

Now here is an important nuance. Necessary things are possible. That is, if something exists in all possible worlds, then it exists in at least one possible world. Something can be possible without being contingent. (Drat! I did use that word.)

This little one-way valve or transistor or semi-permeable membrane is what Alvin Plantinga constructed his MOA on: If something is possible, it may be necessary but it can't be impossible.


1. A Maximally Great Being Is Possible.

This step is wrong. So I'll come back to it later. I think it will help reader comprehension if I first discuss why the valid steps can't be challenged.

A note on naming conventions:

I'd call this P1 (for premise 1) but I can't figure out whether 3 is a premise. (In some versions of the argument it is, in others not.) How are conclusions numbered? If 2 were a conclusion, would it be C2? Or would it be C1 because it's the first conclusion of the argument?

Someone on this board is calling them all "steps," and I'm going to adopt that convention. "Step 1," therefore refers to 1. A maximally great being is possible.



Step 2. If it is possible that a maximally great being exists,
then a maximally great being exists in some possible world.

In PWS this is true by definition. To say that something is possible is to say that it exists in one or more possible worlds. So, if you try to argue against step 2, you are talking past the MOA, not engaging with it. You are claiming that the French are wrong about the meaning of "oui."

If X exists, then X exists in at least one possible world. This is a truism. "If X exists" means the same thing as "X exists in at least one possible world." This is not an argument; it is true by definition.



Step 3. If a maximally great being exists in some possible world,
then it exists in every possible world.

This is problematic like step 1. So I will come back to it later too.


Step 4. If a maximally great being exists in every possible world,
then it exists in the actual world (our world).

The actual world is a possible world. If something exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world. Like step 2, this cannot be disputed.


Step 5. If a maximally great being exists in the actual world,
then a maximally great being exists.


This too is a truism. When we say that something exists, we are saying that it exists in the actual world.


Step 6. Therefore, a maximally great being exists.

Again, this can't be disputed. If steps 1 and 3 were true, then it would follow that an MGB (maximally great being) existed.

Thus, steps 2, 4, 5, and 6 are bulletproof. The flaws in the MOA, if it has flaws, have to be in steps 1 and 3. Step 1 is a premise. If we call step 3 a premise too, then we can say the MOA is valid. The issue is whether it is sound, whether its premises are true.


Demurrer

Let's see how much I can streamline this debate by brushing aside less relevant points:

• I'll be happy to deal with the Kalam cosmological argument in a separate debate after this one. Or later in this argument.
• I think the truth of steps 1 and 3 are the essence of this debate, so we do a service to ourselves and the peanut gallery if we set aside the issues of whether an omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent thing would be necessary. I propose to treat the MGB as necessary by definition. If it exists in any possible world, then it exists in all of them.
• On the one hand, I want to repudiate any attempt to equivocate between the MGB and Jehovah. On the other hand I may refer to gods myself. So what am I doing here? I am calling the reader's attention to the issue. Be conscious. Be alert. Don't let things like this slip past you. Let us know (in the peanut gallery) if we slip up.
• Is it really true that 2 + 2 = 4 in all possible worlds? I don't know. I've seen the claim in various places, but I'm not clear on the issue myself. I think the most efficient move is for me to stipulate this point for the sake of this debate. So stipulated.
• "Contingent." Much of the above was written before I saw FtK's post, including the part about not using the word "contingent." And yet FtK has used the word, and I used it myself. FtK's usage is consistent with mine. I think the right move is for me to accept this word with this meaning. But, I ask those of you in the peanut gallery to notify us if we equivocate. If either of us uses the word with a different meaning, we want to know about it.
• "God, at least as defined by Christian theism, is a maximally great being (MGB)." Eh.
• Greatness and great-making properties: These are vague and undefined. What seems great to you may seem mediocre or even bad to me. Certainly the god of Hellfire would be greater nonexistent than existent. I propose to deal with this issue by ignoring it, and, as stated above, stipulating that the MGB is defined as necessary. If we agree on that definition of the MGB, then we don't have to dispute how we reached that conclusion.
• Maximal greatness: Plantinga and William Lane Craig treat this like it is a single point when it is really a frontier. If maximally great gods could exist, there would be an infinity of them, all with different characteristics. Think of a factory that could produce 100 widgets or 200 wankels. Or it could produce anywhere on a chart-line between those two. It could produce 50 widgets and 100 wankles, for instance. Full production, then--maximal production--is any of 100 different combinations. The maximal amount of the great-making properties of justice and mercy would have a lot more different combinations than that. Each time you add another great-making property to the mix, you get more maximally great gods. I propose to ignore this difficulty. We will discuss the MGB knowing that FtK thinks that means something while I think it is hopeless gibberish--but for the fact that we both stipulate that the MGB is necessary: If it exists in one possible world, it exists in all of them.

There are other nits I could pick, but let's set them aside too. I think step 1 is false, and that step 3 would be false if step 1 were true. They can't both be true. So that's what I propose that we focus on.


Argument, Interrupted

I think I'll stop now, and not just because I don't know whether this board has a character limit. I'd like to know FtK's reaction to the points I have made and stipulations I have suggested so far.

It's not that I'm unwilling to discuss any of the points I've tried to dismiss above. I just suggest that steps 1 and 3 are key, and can profitably be discussed first.

Reactions, FtK? How is this sitting with you so far?

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 4: Tue Mar 28, 2017 3:26 pm
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wiploc wrote:

I thought I had refuted enough theist arguments that I could be comfortable in my belief that theist arguments are all fatally flawed. If all the arguments that I knew of were bad, surely the others were bad too. It's not like they would keep their good arguments under wraps.

I also had this theory that really studying the subject would be worse than a waste of time. Theist arguments are simple. Their flaws are simple. They should be refuted simply. I didn't want to learn a lot of jargon that would just confuse people.

Then I read a post on, you know, some internet bulletin board somewhere, that challenged my position. It said that Christian arguments used to be laughed out of university philosophy departments--until Alvin Plantinga came up with his modal ontological argument (MOA). He had rescued Christianity, made it intellectually respectable.

So, according to at least one person, the MOA is regarded as the best and most respected of the theist arguments. Anyone who hasn't refuted the MOA is in no position to be comfortable in his atheism. If I hadn't read the MOA, studied it, understood it, and refuted it, then I had no business thinking my strong atheism (my belief that no gods exist) was on firm ground.

So, I had to learn another argument. And, to understand this particular argument, which is densely written, I had to study.

I bought Plantinga's book. I read it, studied it, understood it, refuted it. I feel once again like my position is well founded. Plantinga's argument is just as flawed as other attempted proofs of gods. The MOA is no better than other theist arguments. The only difference is that the MOA takes longer to understand and refute because it is written in a peculiar jargon.


I must say, I rather enjoyed the little read above. Interesting, as it gives perspective from my opponent.

It should come as no surprise that I disagree wholeheartedly with my opponent's assessment of the MOA. But hey, if we didn't disagree, we wouldn't be here, would we?

wiploc wrote:

The Speak

That jargon probably has some dignified name, but I call it possible-world-speak. I've noticed that some people on this board are hugely confused by possible-world-speak -- and they don't even seem to know it. You have to understand possible-world-speak if you are going to understand the MOA. So let's get started with that now.

Suppose you say, in regular-speak, something like, "If I had dropped that glass on the concrete, it would have broken." In possible-world-speak, that would be rendered as, "There are possible worlds in which I dropped that glass on the concrete. In those worlds, the glass broke."

The first thing you need to know about possible-world-speak is that these two statements are identical. They are two different ways of saying the same thing. Nobody is claiming that possible worlds "exist" or have reality. They are just ways of discussing possibility, impossibility, and necessity.


No problems here.

wiploc wrote:

Possible Worlds

A possible world is one with no logical contradictions. Worlds with contradictions are impossible. Plantinga claims that Jehovah knows everything that will ever happen in every possible world, and also in every impossible world. I don't know what to make of that; I just throw it out there.


No problems here.

wiploc wrote:

Worlds with square circles or married bachelors are impossible. That's just a PWS (possible world speak) way of saying that square circles and married bachelors are contradictions.


No problems here.

wiploc wrote:

Somebody on this board says that possible worlds are those you can imagine. I'm not convinced.


I have a slight issue with this. As far as I can tell, if I can imagine it, then it is possible (in some possible world). If I can't imagine it (like a squared circle), then is impossible.

wiploc wrote:

What if you can imagine things better than I can?


That still won't change the fact that I can image it (hypothetically speaking). My opponent's inability shouldn't affect my ability.

wiploc wrote:

Is god's omnipotence restricted to what I can imagine? No, the test of whether a world is possible is whether it has logical contradiction.


And I argue that if it ISN'T a logical contradiction, then it can surely be imagined. Concepts that are within logical reasoning can be imagined. And concepts that are logically absurd cannot be imagined, which is precisely why one cannot imagine squared circles or one-sided sticks. But we CAN image two-sided sticks AND triangular triangles.

The reason is simple, one makes sense, and one doesn't.

wiploc wrote:

Possible, Impossible, Necessary

If something can't happen at all, we say there is no possible world in which it happens. If it must happen, cannot possibly not happen, we say it happens in every possible world. If it could be true or could be untrue, we say it happens in some possible worlds but not all of them.

Square circles are impossible; there are no possible worlds with square circles.


No problems here.

wiploc wrote:

Some people say that god can't not exist. The world wouldn't exist without him, and he can't kill himself or otherwise die. In PWS, that is expressed this way: God exists in all possible worlds. Something that exists in all possible worlds is called necessary.

Trump was elected president in Kronos, this world, the actual world. But there are possible worlds in which Clinton was elected, so Trump's election was possible but not necessary. Some people call that (possible but not necessary) contingent. This confuses me, because "contingent" has other meanings, so I'm not likely to use that word unless For_the_Kingdom does, and then we'll have to discuss it and agree on the meaning.


I am puzzled for two reasons...

1. My opponent is using the SAME definitions (defining terminologies/concepts) that I used in my OP. Why?

2. My opponent claims that the word "contingent" has other meanings. But so what? We are talking about the word and how it is used in this context, making all other contexts irrelevant and not worthy of mention.

wiploc wrote:

When I say that godless worlds are possible, am I saying that all godless worlds are possible? No, because some godless worlds have square circles. What I'm saying is that there is no inherent contradiction in a godless world, and that therefore, among the infinity of godless worlds, some lesser number (but still infinity) are possible.


By saying "there is no inherent contradiction in a godless world", my opponent is implying that God's existence isn't possible. I hope that he offers more than mere assertions in the quotes that follow.

wiploc wrote:

Are Godless Worlds Possible?

Of course. There's no logical contradiction there. A possible world is any world without contradiction, so godless worlds are possible.


But there is a contradiction. It is funny that my opponent keeps mentioning "godless worlds" and its possibilities, yet, the contingency (possibility) of the universe/world is never mentioned.

Even if we could for second negate the existence of any god(s), then the physical world would be all that exist. So the question would immediately become "is the existence of the universe necessary, or contingent?"

Now, according to the argument from contingency (which is the kalam cosmological argument's little brother ), the universe IS contingent. It didn't have to be here.

And if it didn't have to be here, it isn't necessary. And if it isn't necessary, it owes its existence to something outside of itself. So my opponent has opened up a can of worms for himself. If God's existence isn't possible, it is impossible. If it is impossible, the universe would HAVE to exist necessarily. But we know via science and philosophical reasoning that the universe could NOT have existed necessarily.

Therefore, a super-reality outside of physical reality must not only be possible, but necessary. If my opponent disagrees with this, then I'd like him to respond to the latter part of my OP where I briefly talk about the fact that "something must have existed necessarily".

wiploc wrote:

Plantinga as much as admits this when he argues that there are possible worlds which his god couldn't create. He said that, for instance, god couldn't create worlds that weren't created by a god. If god created a godless world, that would be a contradiction, so that would be an impossible world.

But godless worlds that gods did not create are among the possible worlds.


Here my opponent appears to have an inaccurate view of what is meant by God's omnipotence. God's omnipotence does not/cannot involve him doing what is logically impossible.

So Plantiga is right, there are possible world's which his God "couldn't create", and those are such worlds at which "gods" didn't exist (including himself), worlds at which squared circles and married bachelors could exist.

Those worlds are NOT possible. My opponent states..

"But godless worlds that gods did not create are among the possible worlds.."

But how can that be? How can a god either create or fail to create in a "godless" world? If the world was godless, there would BE NO GOD TO CREATE/FAIL TO CREATE anything.

wiploc wrote:

What Good Is Possible-World-Speak?

Gosh, I just don't know. I assume it's good for something, or else people wouldn't use it. But the only use I know of is that learning PWS allowed me to understand Plantinga's modal ontological argument.


Here my opponent asks "What Good is Possible-Word-Speak", and he answers his own question by saying he doesn't know. I find that puzzling, when every single time in his life that he has ever claimed that something is either possible/impossible, probable/improbable...any time he has EVER used any one of those terms in his life in everyday language, he is using PWS, without actually coining it "Possible World Speak".

Hell, even if he states "I think Tom Brady will win at least one more super bowl before he retires"....he is stating "there is a possible world at which Tom Brady will win another super bowl before he retires".

We use language like this ever day, yet my opponent makes it seem like the concept is so above & beyond human commonality.

wiploc wrote:

Necessary Is Possible

Now here is an important nuance. Necessary things are possible. That is, if something exists in all possible worlds, then it exists in at least one possible world. Something can be possible without being contingent.


No problems here.

wiploc wrote:

1. A Maximally Great Being Is Possible.

This step is wrong. So I'll come back to it later. I think it will help reader comprehension if I first discuss why the valid steps can't be challenged.

A note on naming conventions:

I'd call this P1 (for premise 1) but I can't figure out whether 3 is a premise. (In some versions of the argument it is, in others not.) How are conclusions numbered? If 2 were a conclusion, would it be C2? Or would it be C1 because it's the first conclusion of the argument?

Someone on this board is calling them all "steps," and I'm going to adopt that convention. "Step 1," therefore refers to 1. A maximally great being is possible.



Step 2. If it is possible that a maximally great being exists,
then a maximally great being exists in some possible world.

In PWS this is true by definition. To say that something is possible is to say that it exists in one or more possible worlds. So, if you try to argue against step 2, you are talking past the MOA, not engaging with it. You are claiming that the French are wrong about the meaning of "oui."

If X exists, then X exists in at least one possible world. This is a truism. "If X exists" means the same thing as "X exists in at least one possible world." This is not an argument; it is true by definition.



Step 3. If a maximally great being exists in some possible world,
then it exists in every possible world.

This is problematic like step 1. So I will come back to it later too.


Step 4. If a maximally great being exists in every possible world,
then it exists in the actual world (our world).

The actual world is a possible world. If something exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world. Like step 2, this cannot be disputed.


Step 5. If a maximally great being exists in the actual world,
then a maximally great being exists.


This too is a truism. When we say that something exists, we are saying that it exists in the actual world.


Step 6. Therefore, a maximally great being exists.

Again, this can't be disputed. If steps 1 and 3 were true, then it would follow that an MGB (maximally great being) existed.

Thus, steps 2, 4, 5, and 6 are bulletproof. The flaws in the MOA, if it has flaws, have to be in steps 1 and 3. Step 1 is a premise. If we call step 3 a premise too, then we can say the MOA is valid. The issue is whether it is sound, whether its premises are true.


It has not been explained why Steps 1 & 3 are problematic.

wiploc wrote:

Demurrer

Let's see how much I can streamline this debate by brushing aside less relevant points:

• I'll be happy to deal with the Kalam cosmological argument in a separate debate after this one. Or later in this argument.


My opponent can feel free to deal with the KCA whenever he likes. But anytime I am compelled to defend why a MGB, as defined in MOA, is possibly necessarily true, then I will pull from whatever bag of tricks I need to...even if it is the Kalam.

wiploc wrote:

• I think the truth of steps 1 and 3 are the essence of this debate


My opponent makes this statement, yet I am surprised at the so much LACK of attention he gave either steps.

wiploc wrote:

, so we do a service to ourselves and the peanut gallery if we set aside the issues of whether an omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent thing would be necessary.


You guys can have at it.

wiploc wrote:

I propose to treat the MGB as necessary by definition. If it exists in any possible world, then it exists in all of them.


I agree.

wiploc wrote:

• Is it really true that 2 + 2 = 4 in all possible worlds? I don't know. I've seen the claim in various places, but I'm not clear on the issue myself. I think the most efficient move is for me to stipulate this point for the sake of this debate. So stipulated.


I challenge ANYONE who can give me a situation/set of circumstances at which 2+2 will = anything besides 4.

wiploc wrote:

• "Contingent." Much of the above was written before I saw FtK's post, including the part about not using the word "contingent." And yet FtK has used the word, and I used it myself. FtK's usage is consistent with mine. I think the right move is for me to accept this word with this meaning. But, I ask those of you in the peanut gallery to notify us if we equivocate. If either of us uses the word with a different meaning, we want to know about it.


Now you tell me..

wiploc wrote:

• "God, at least as defined by Christian theism, is a maximally great being (MGB)." Eh.


You can be an atheist and still define God as a MGB.

wiploc wrote:

• Greatness and great-making properties: These are vague and undefined. What seems great to you may seem mediocre or even bad to me. Certainly the god of Hellfire would be greater nonexistent than existent.


True, but be as it may, one can still possess these properties regardless of whether someone else views them as "great" or not. The fact that the properties can be possessed is independent of an individual's personal views are towards them.

wiploc wrote:

I propose to deal with this issue by ignoring it, and, as stated above, stipulating that the MGB is defined as necessary. If we agree on that definition of the MGB, then we don't have to dispute how we reached that conclusion.


Then I guess I'd like to know if my opponent would agree that if a MGB existed necessarily, would those omni-attributes which it is defined as also be necessary?

wiploc wrote:

• Maximal greatness: Plantinga and William Lane Craig treat this like it is a single point when it is really a frontier. If maximally great gods could exist, there would be an infinity of them, all with different characteristics.

Think of a factory that could produce 100 widgets or 200 wankels. Or it could produce anywhere on a chart-line between those two. It could produce 50 widgets and 100 wankles, for instance. Full production, then--maximal production--is any of 100 different combinations. The maximal amount of the great-making properties of justice and mercy would have a lot more different combinations than that. Each time you add another great-making property to the mix, you get more maximally great gods. I propose to ignore this difficulty.


No need to ignore. First off, the concepts of justice and mercy are subjective, and the only way to know what "true" justice and "true" mercy is to have a standard that will allow you to draw such a conclusion. Human being standards are subjective. God' standards aren't subjective, rather, objective. God IS the standard.

Second, I'd like for my opponent to give a clear-cut example of what he means by other "maximally great gods" with different great making properties. And in this example, use actual gods, not widgets.

Third, quite frankly, I think my opponents objection is absurd. With so many gods, there will be a conflict of world's, and wills. Like, suppose you have a maximally good God that exists necessarily, and a maximally evil God that exists necessarily. Neither one can destroy the other, yet both will have to coexist.

Conflict of worlds...and I don't find this at all to be logically possible.

wiploc wrote:

Reactions, FtK? How is this sitting with you so far?


Lionel Richie voice: "I'm easy like Sunday morning"

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 5: Wed Mar 29, 2017 9:34 pm
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Round 2: wiploc's post

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Modal Ontological Debate
Wiploc's Second Post

For_The_Kingdom wrote:

wiploc wrote:

Is god's omnipotence restricted to what I can imagine? No, the test of whether a world is possible is whether it has logical contradiction.


And I argue that if it ISN'T a logical contradiction, then it can surely be imagined. Concepts that are within logical reasoning can be imagined. And concepts that are logically absurd cannot be imagined, which is precisely why one cannot imagine squared circles or one-sided sticks. But we CAN image two-sided sticks AND triangular triangles.

The reason is simple, one makes sense, and one doesn't.


I don't think we have real conflict here. You offer imaginability as a test of whether something is contradictory. You don't think imaginability is more important than what is logical, but rather think it is a way of identifying what is logical.

If something (like a universe with complexities so great that no human mind could comprehend them) didn't have contradictions, then it would have to be allowed as possible even if it wasn't imaginable. But whether-you-can-imagine X is still a reasonable first approximation of whether X is self-contradictory.

For instance, we can't imagine square circles.



Quote:

By saying "there is no inherent contradiction in a godless world", my opponent is implying that God's existence isn't possible.


If you want to claim that there is something contradictory about godless worlds, you are free to make your case.

In the meantime, I and many of our readers will feel free to imagine them, thus--by your standards--proving they are not contradictory.

I imagine that the actual world is godless. I'm convinced of it.



Quote:

wiploc wrote:

Are Godless Worlds Possible?

Of course. There's no logical contradiction there. A possible world is any world without contradiction, so godless worlds are possible.


But there is a contradiction. It is funny that my opponent keeps mentioning "godless worlds" and its possibilities, yet, the contingency (possibility) of the universe/world is never mentioned.


Rephrase please? I don't understand that.

And let me point out that you just used contingency and possibility as if they are the same. Possible means not impossible; contingent means neither impossible nor necessary. Not the same thing at all. If you substituted "contingent" for "possible in the MOA, it wouldn't work at all.

Well, it doesn't work anyway, but if you made that substitution then nobody would think it worked. Not even you.


Quote:

Even if we could for second negate the existence of any god(s), then the physical world would be all that exist.


This amounts to the claim that god is the only nonphysical thing in existence. Another bold and unsupported claim.



Quote:

So the question would immediately become "is the existence of the universe necessary, or contingent?"

Now, according to the argument from contingency (which is the kalam cosmological argument's little brother ), the universe IS contingent. It didn't have to be here.


So there are world-less possible worlds? Interesting gibberish. I say that's a logical contradiction. And I say that you can't imagine a world that both does and doesn't exist.



Quote:

And if it didn't have to be here, it isn't necessary. And if it isn't necessary, it owes its existence to something outside of itself.


"Outside the universe" strikes me as gibberish. The universe is all that exists, by definition. If you want to posit gods, then they are part of the universe.

I'm with Plantinga on this one: The universe is everything.

-

Some people think life is too complex to have arisen on earth. They think, therefore, that it must have arisen somewhere else and been brought here on the Panspermi Valdez.

Others complain that that theory is unsatisfactory because it just "kicks the can down the road." It doesn't explain anything, but rather just shoves it further away, as if that could be a substitute for actual explanation.

-

You can see how the Panspermi Valdez might come to mind when someone says that the universe must have a cause that lies in some nonsensical "outside."



Quote:
So my opponent has opened up a can of worms for himself. If God's existence isn't possible, it is impossible.


You offered to equate "God" with the MGB (maximally great being) in your first post. Now you say that if the MGB doesn't exist (which it clearly doesn't) then God doesn't exist.

My position is different. While the MGB cannot exist, that doesn't keep other gods from existing. Many of those would be recognized as Christian gods.

I believe the MGB is not a traditional god, but rather was invented just for the MOA (modal ontological argument).

In any case, it is not my position that refutation of the MOA refutes any familiar gods.



Quote:
If it is impossible, the universe would HAVE to exist necessarily.


I never thought of this before, but I think in PWS (possible world speak) the universe is necessary. It doesn't make sense to say that there are possible worlds in which worlds don't exist, right? Therefore, in every possible world, a world does exist. Therefore, possible worlds are necessary.

If, in your opinion, that negates the need for gods, I'm okay with that.



Quote:

But we know via science and philosophical reasoning that the universe could NOT have existed necessarily.


A bold claim, unsupported.



Quote:

Therefore, a super-reality outside of physical reality must not only be possible, but necessary.


And, presumably, you get to make up the rules of this place you invented. Infinities will be impossible in regular reality, but possible (so that god can be eternal) in super reality, right? Things need causes in regular reality but gods won't need causes in super reality, right?



Quote:

If my opponent disagrees with this, then I'd like him to respond to the latter part of my OP where I briefly talk about the fact that "something must have existed necessarily".


Maybe we can come back to that. It may not seem like it, but I'm trying to charge headlong towards the part where we get to talk about steps 1 and 3.



Quote:

wiploc wrote:

Plantinga as much as admits this when he argues that there are possible worlds which his god couldn't create. He said that, for instance, god couldn't create worlds that weren't created by a god. If god created a godless world, that would be a contradiction, so that would be an impossible world.

But godless worlds that gods did not create are among the possible worlds.


Here my opponent appears to have an inaccurate view of what is meant by God's omnipotence. God's omnipotence does not/cannot involve him doing what is logically impossible.

So Plantiga is right, there are possible world's which his God "couldn't create", and those are such worlds at which "gods" didn't exist (including himself), worlds at which squared circles and married bachelors could exist.

Those worlds are NOT possible. My opponent states..

"But godless worlds that gods did not create are among the possible worlds.."

But how can that be? How can a god either create or fail to create in a "godless" world? If the world was godless, there would BE NO GOD TO CREATE/FAIL TO CREATE anything.


Just like in the actual world, or so it seems to me.




Quote:

Here my opponent asks "What Good is Possible-Word-Speak", and he answers his own question by saying he doesn't know. I find that puzzling, when every single time in his life that he has ever claimed that something is either possible/impossible, probable/improbable...any time he has EVER used any one of those terms in his life in everyday language, he is using PWS, without actually coining it "Possible World Speak".


Modal logic is about possibility. PWS is a form of modal logic, but there is no justification for the claim that anytime somebody says, "I may have left my credit card at Sears," she is employing possible-world-speak. If she wanted to use PWS, she would say, "There is a possible world in which I left my credit card at Sears."

We all use modal logic. It is familiar and comfortable. Possible-world-speak is another matter.



Quote:

Hell, even if he states "I think Tom Brady will win at least one more super bowl before he retires"....he is stating "there is a possible world at which Tom Brady will win another super bowl before he retires".


And yet most of us aren't familiar with that phrasing. And some of us on this very board are sufficiently unfamiliar with PWS that they think steps 2 and 4 are dubious propositions that need proving.



Quote:

We use language like this ever day,


That's absurd. I've never run across PWS except when discussing the MOA.



Quote:

It has not been explained why Steps 1 & 3 are problematic.

wiploc wrote:

Demurrer

Let's see how much I can streamline this debate by brushing aside less relevant points:

• I'll be happy to deal with the Kalam cosmological argument in a separate debate after this one. Or later in this argument.


My opponent can feel free to deal with the KCA whenever he likes. But anytime I am compelled to defend why a MGB, as defined in MOA, is possibly necessarily true, then I will pull from whatever bag of tricks I need to...even if it is the Kalam.


That works.



Quote:

wiploc wrote:

• "God, at least as defined by Christian theism, is a maximally great being (MGB)." Eh.


You can be an atheist and still define God as a MGB.


Wouldn't an omni-great god have an infinite number of parts, rather than just father, son, and ghost? You'll forgive me if I sometimes fight shy of issues that seem peripheral to the MOA.



Quote:

Then I guess I'd like to know if my opponent would agree that if a MGB existed necessarily, would those omni-attributes which it is defined as also be necessary?


I haven't given it much thought, so, no, I can't stipulate to that.



Quote:

wiploc wrote:

• Maximal greatness: Plantinga and William Lane Craig treat this like it is a single point when it is really a frontier. If maximally great gods could exist, there would be an infinity of them, all with different characteristics.

Think of a factory that could produce 100 widgets or 200 wankels. Or it could produce anywhere on a chart-line between those two. It could produce 50 widgets and 100 wankles, for instance. Full production, then--maximal production--is any of 100 different combinations. The maximal amount of the great-making properties of justice and mercy would have a lot more different combinations than that. Each time you add another great-making property to the mix, you get more maximally great gods. I propose to ignore this difficulty.


No need to ignore. First off, the concepts of justice and mercy are subjective, and the only way to know what "true" justice and "true" mercy is to have a standard that will allow you to draw such a conclusion. Human being standards are subjective. God' standards aren't subjective, rather, objective. God IS the standard.


As Charlie Brown says, "Aaarrgh!"

That's one more debate we can have at a later time. For now, I demur.



Quote:

Second, I'd like for my opponent to give a clear-cut example of what he means by other "maximally great gods" with different great making properties. And in this example, use actual gods, not widgets.


Well, let's use justice and mercy again. A god could be maximally just and merciful by being perfectly just and not at all merciful. Or by being perfectly merciful and not at all just. Or by being 32% just and 68% merciful. There is an infinite range of possibilities using just those two factors. (I suspect that, in your view, infinities don't exist in the real universe, but they do exist in your super reality, right, so that your god can be eternal? Therefore there are an infinite number of points between 0% and 100%.)



Quote:

Third, quite frankly, I think my opponents objection is absurd. With so many gods, there will be a conflict of world's, and wills. Like, suppose you have a maximally good God that exists necessarily, and a maximally evil God that exists necessarily. Neither one can destroy the other, yet both will have to coexist.

Conflict of worlds...and I don't find this at all to be logically possible.


Thanks for raising this point so that I can clarify. I'm not suggesting that there are lots of different MGBs. (I don't believe in even one.) Rather, I'm saying that the concept of "maximally great being" is undefined. Since justice and mercy are both good, and since they are in conflict, saying that someone is "maximally" just and great gives us no clue as to whether he will be at all just or at all merciful.

I'm not saying that there are many conflicting MGBs. I'm saying that many different things could qualify as an MGB. Many different things could match that definition.

And I'll repeat that "greatness" is undefined. I'll repeat my example too: A god that throws people into Hellfire is far greater nonexistent than it would be existent.



Quote:

wiploc wrote:

Reactions, FtK? How is this sitting with you so far?


Lionel Richie voice: "I'm easy like Sunday morning"


Cool, we can go to steps 1 and 3.

===========

The Modal Ontological Argument:

Step 1. A Maximally Great Being Is Possible. (Premise)

Step 2. If it is possible that a maximally great being exists,
then a maximally great being exists in some possible world. (PWS definition of "possible")

Step 3. If a maximally great being exists in some possible world,
then it exists in every possible world. (Premise: Definition of MGB)

Step 4. If a maximally great being exists in every possible world,
then it exists in the actual world (our world). (Because the actual world is possible.)

Step 5. If a maximally great being exists in the actual world,
then a maximally great being exists. (By definition)

Step 6. Therefore, a maximally great being exists. (From 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5)

I believe that we are agreed that if the MOA has a problem, then that problem has to be located in steps 1 and 3. To say it another way, you and I both stipulate that steps 2, 4, 5, and 6 are bulletproof; no problem can be located in them.

Or at least that will be the case after we get rid of any equivocation.

I hope it's okay with you if we regard step 3 as a premise. That will allow discussion of soundness (as opposed to validity) to focus on the two iffy steps. Again, that's to the extent that there is no equivocation.

And let's go right to that equivocation issue, get it out of the way.

Step 1. A Maximally Great Being Is Possible. (Premise)

Step 2. If it is possible that a maximally great being exists,
then a maximally great being exists in some possible world. (PWS definition of "possible")

This feels like equivocation. It feels like "possible," in step 1, means the same as, "I don't know whether it's true or false. So sue me. I don't know which it is, so I have to allow that it is possible." That's how Plantinga gets people to accede to step 1. "I don't know, so I'll say it's possible."

But in step 2, "possible" has transformed into its PWS meaning. It has this specific meaning: "not impossible." That meaning needs to be proven. The claim is that an MGB exists in at least one possible world.

"I don't know whether the MGB exists," is a far cry from, "I know that the MGB exists in at least one possible world."

Now Plantinga and WLC (William Lane Craig) would never admit to this equivocation. They would say that they define "possible" in step 2, and it is not their fault if some readers misunderstand.

We want to give them that. We want to use the principle of charity (don't make strawmen; be charitable when you interpret your opponent's argument; refute the strongest version of the argument, not the weakest). So we will interpret the argument so that "possible" means the same thing in step 1 as it does in step 2.

I'm going to do that.

The logic of the argument allows for it to be interpreted that way, so I'm going to do so.

But it's not like they aren't trying to fool people.

Witness For_the_Kingdom's justification for step 1:


Quote:

Justification for P1: In other words, for all we know, a MGB could exist.


He's not saying, "Here is the proof that an MGB exists in at least one possible world." He's saying, "Gee, we don't know whether god exists, so it's possible that he does."

That regular-speak kind of possibility is never going to set up the argument for the possible-world-speak kind of possibility used in step 2. The argument fails right here unless we correct the meaning of "possible" in step 1.

And then FtK says this:

Quote:

To "prove" that God doesn't exist, wiploc would either have to..


He puts the burden of proof on me. He thinks not knowing whether or not god exists is all that step 1 accomplishes, so in order to refute step 1 I would have to prove that god does not exist.

None of this is FtK's fault. Plantinga and WLC deliver the argument in a form that leads people to naturally make this mistake. And it is not plausible to argue that they don't know it.

We may have to refute strongest best form of the argument, but that's not the form that Plantinga and WLC were trying to sell.

Another kink in their delivery is that they wait to define the MGB in step 3. In step 1, they get you to agree that he may exist, and then only later do they define him as existing in all possible worlds if he exists in any of them.

If you first defined the MGB as existing in all possible worlds if he exists in any of them, how many people would then say they know that he exists in at least one?

None of this is FtK's fault. He was deceived by a rationalizing scholar (Plantinga) or a mountebank (WLC), depending on which version of the argument he read.

We will proceed to refute the highest and best version of the MOA, despite the fact that that's not the version that its original perpetrators wanted us to believe in.


The Problem with Step 1:

Here are steps 3 and 1 together:

Step 3. If a maximally great being exists in some possible world,
then it exists in every possible world.

Step 1. A Maximally Great Being Is Possible.

They define something as existing in every possible world if it exists in any possible world, and then they claim that it exists in a possible world (and therefore all possible worlds).

Can we grant this as a true claim? No, because "possible worlds" is a defined term. A possible world is any world without a contradiction. And there is no contradiction in a world without an MGB.

In fact, according to FtK, there is no contradiction in a possible world that doesn't exist. If a world doesn't exist, then it doesn't have an MGB. A nonexistent world doesn't have anything, not space, not time, not 2+2=4, not causality, not anything. Even FtK can't imagine a nonexistent world with an MGB.

Since we know that godless (and MGB-less) worlds are possible, we know that premise 1 is false.



The Problem with Step 3:

Or we can look at it a different way. If we stipulated that step 1 was true, then we'd find that step3 was false. If it's true that something exists in a possible world, then it can't also be true that thing also exists in every possible world--including those possible worlds in which it does not exist.

Personally, I prefer to think of step three as a given, a definition, and as step 1 as false. But we know for a fact that one of them is false.



Proof by Contradiction:

The other way to disprove the MOA is to reverse it. Stipulate that the logic is sound, and see what else it can "prove." Like this:

Step 1. It is possible that a maximally great being does not exist. (Premise)

Step 2. If it is possible that a maximally great being does not exist,
then a maximally great being does not exist in some possible world. (PWS definition of "possible")

Step 3. If a maximally great being does not exist in some possible world,
then it does not exist in every possible world. (Premise: Definition of MGB)

Step 4. If a maximally great being does not exist in every possible world,
then it does not exist in the actual world (our world). (Because the actual world is possible.)

Step 5. If a maximally great being does not exist in the actual world,
then a maximally great being does not exist. (By definition)

Step 6. Therefore, a maximally great being does not exist. (From 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5)

The logic of this argument is exactly as strong as that of FtK's version of the argument. So if FtK's version proves that gods do exist, then this version proves that gods do not exist. FtK cannot attack the validity of this version without attacking the validity of his own version. Nor can he attack the truth of my step 3 without destroying his own version.

That leaves step 1. Can he attack my step 1 without attacking his step 1?

As long as step 1 is interpreted as, "We don't know any better, so let's call it possible," then no. If we don't know whether or not gods exist, then it is possible (in regular-speak) that they do exist and possible that they don't. Each version is as strong as the other. And one proves X while the other proves not-X.

Any argument that proves both X and not-X is without merit. It weighs nothing in the scales of persuasion. It is worthless.

The modal ontological argument is without merit. It weighs nothing in the scales of persuasion. It is worthless.

Premise 1 revisited:

Of course, FtK could try to prove that his version of step 1 is true, and that mine is false. That would make all the difference.

To do that, he can't use the "We don't know, therefore it's possible," interpretation. He has to assume the burden of proof; he has to show how we know that an MGB exists in all possible worlds.

I don't think he has really undertaken this yet. (I'm confident that he'll correct me if I'm wrong about that.)

Here's my proof that FtK's version of step 1 is false:

A world without logical contradictions is a possible world.
Godless worlds are without logical contradictions.
Therefore, godless worlds are possible worlds.
It would be a logical contradiction for a god to exist in a godless world.
Therefore, no god can exist in all possible worlds.
The god of the MOA exists in all possible worlds if it exists in any of them.
Therefore, the god of the MOA cannot exist in any possible world.
Therefore, step 1 of the MOA (FtK's version) is false.

Here's my proof that my version of step 1 is true:

A world without logical contradictions is a possible world.
Godless worlds are without logical contradictions.
Therefore, godless worlds are possible worlds.
Therefore, there is a possible world in which no gods exist.
Therefore, my version of step 1 of the MOA is true.

These are bulletproof arguments. Nothing substantial can be said against them.


Where We Stand Now:

Equivocation: If we equivocate on the meaning of "possible," defining it differently in steps 1 and 2, then the MOA is invalid. If we use the principle of charity, and thus define "possible" in step 1 in the same way that we define it in step 2, then the MOA can be seen as valid.

Validity: If we don't equivocate on the meaning of "possible," and if we treat steps 1 and 3 as premises, then the MOA is valid.

Soundness: The premises (steps 1 and 3) cannot both be true. One must be false. Whichever one that is, the MOA is unsound.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 6: Thu Mar 30, 2017 1:36 pm
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Correction: In my most recent post, I said this

Quote:
Since justice and mercy are both good, and since they are in conflict, saying that someone is "maximally" just and great gives us no clue as to whether he will be at all just or at all merciful. [emphasis added]


when I should have said this

Quote:
Since justice and mercy are both good, and since they are in conflict, saying that someone is "maximally" just and merciful gives us no clue as to whether he will be at all just or at all merciful.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 7: Mon Apr 03, 2017 12:50 am
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wiploc wrote:


I don't think we have real conflict here.


Cool.

wiploc wrote:

If you want to claim that there is something contradictory about godless worlds, you are free to make your case.


I have two things to say about this:

1. "Godless", in this context, would mean maximally great being (or lack-thereof). So if you want to claim that there is no necessarily existing MGB (in reality), then what you are essentially saying is that the universe itself must exist necessarily. To negate one is to grant the other. However, we have evidence through science, philosophy, and mathematics that the universe BEGAN to exist at some point in the finite past. And something that began to exist at some point in the finite past cannot exist necessarily.

So what you'd have to do is tear down the many arguments that are AGAINST a finite universe, and in return build up an argument which supports the idea that natural reality is necessary, and I don't think you (nor anyone) can do that.

I have to stress this point, that it is virtually IMPOSSIBLE or the universe to be necessary in its existence. Yes, I said it, IMPOSSIBLE. Unfortunately, if you disagree with this, then this debate will take us "kinda" off course. But then again, we can't help where the truth takes us.

2. Again, I argue that the concept of a MGB does NOT defy any logical reasoning. It is a logically coherent concept, and all logically coherent concepts are possible (in some possible world). If you disagree, then I'd like you to share with us why God, by definition, cannot exist.

wiploc wrote:

In the meantime, I and many of our readers will feel free to imagine them, thus--by your standards--proving they are not contradictory. I imagine that the actual world is godless. I'm convinced of it.


Actually, what you and others are imaging is a contingent being. You are not imaging a necessary being. If Being X is necessarily omnipresent, it is impossible for you to imagine Being X to cease its presence. If you think you can imagine this being to cease its presence, what you are actually imagining is a contingent version of the being, and not the necessarily existing one.

wiploc wrote:

Are Godless Worlds Possible?

Of course. There's no logical contradiction there. A possible world is any world without contradiction, so godless worlds are possible.


But there is a contradiction. If there are no necessarily existing God(s), then the universe must exist necessarily. No gray area. No way around it. But we have evidence that the universe DOESN'T exist necessarily. Therefore, a necessarily existing God CANNOT be a contradiction. Unless of course again, you can tear down the arguments which contradicts an eternal universe, and build your own case which supports it.

And quite frankly, I don't think you can do either.

wiploc wrote:

And let me point out that you just used contingency and possibility as if they are the same. Possible means not impossible; contingent means neither impossible nor necessary. Not the same thing at all. If you substituted "contingent" for "possible in the MOA, it wouldn't work at all. Well, it doesn't work anyway, but if you made that substitution then nobody would think it worked. Not even you.


I wasn't aware that I did that.

wiploc wrote:

This amounts to the claim that god is the only nonphysical thing in existence. Another bold and unsupported claim.


No, it doesn't. One can postulate any nonphysical thing he wants, the question of "necessary, or contingent existence?" would apply to it as well.

wiploc wrote:

So there are world-less possible worlds? Interesting gibberish. I say that's a logical contradiction. And I say that you can't imagine a world that both does and doesn't exist.


Don't see how you interpreted that from what I said, but oh well.

wiploc wrote:

"Outside the universe" strikes me as gibberish. The universe is all that exists, by definition.


And saying the universe is all that exists strikes me as nonsense. Something which began to exist cannot be said to be all that exists.

wiploc wrote:

If you want to posit gods, then they are part of the universe.


Non sequitur. Not only is it non sequitur, but it is logically incoherent. If gods are part of the universe, then those gods began to exist along with the universe. Impossible.

wiploc wrote:

I'm with Plantinga on this one: The universe is everything.


Everything that physically exists.

wiploc wrote:

You can see how the Panspermi Valdez might come to mind when someone says that the universe must have a cause that lies in some nonsensical "outside."


Actually, what is nonsensical is to think that the universe either popped into being uncaused out of nothing, or it has existed throughout past infinity. Since both of those ideas are demonstrably false and can be proven to be false, there is no need to waste any of our valuable time on it. Unless, of course, you WOULD like to argue that the universe popped into being for no reason whatsoever out of absolutely nothing...or you would like to argue that the universe has existed for eternity past and for every event which led to present events, that these events traversed an infinite amount of past events to get there.

You can indeed argue in favor of those absurdities. But what it sounds like, is you have something against the idea that something which began to exist, having an external cause...which is the same as arguing against the idea that you, a person who began to exist, having an external cause (your parents). You don't have any problems with that, do you? Because it is the same concept you seem to have a problem with (the universe).

I can only hope that we don't spend the rest of the debate arguing over those absurdities.

wiploc wrote:

You offered to equate "God" with the MGB (maximally great being) in your first post. Now you say that if the MGB doesn't exist (which it clearly doesn't) then God doesn't exist.


Exactly.

wiploc wrote:

My position is different. While the MGB cannot exist, that doesn't keep other gods from existing.


Actually, it does. It depends on how those other "gods" are defined.

wiploc wrote:

Many of those would be recognized as Christian gods.


Christianity is a monotheistic religion. No room for other "real" gods.

wiploc wrote:

I believe the MGB is not a traditional god, but rather was invented just for the MOA (modal ontological argument).


Clearly false. Judeo-Christianity has always viewed God/Jehovah as a maximally great being, with all of those omnibutes part of his nature.

wiploc wrote:

In any case, it is not my position that refutation of the MOA refutes any familiar gods.


Granted.

wiploc wrote:

I never thought of this before, but I think in PWS (possible world speak) the universe is necessary.


See above.

wiploc wrote:

It doesn't make sense to say that there are possible worlds in which worlds don't exist, right?


Well, the question is; is there a possible world where the actual world doesn't exist? The answer to that is undoubtedly, yes. The physical universe is contingent. It didn't have to be here, as it can be demonstrably proven. .

wiploc wrote:

A bold claim, unsupported.


It is very much supported, and I have no problem supporting it. The concept of necessity is pretty much what the MOA is all about (its truth value). I can prove that the physical world is not necessary, which would in return make theism the default position.

Again, it will take us to the KCA, at which I will use it to supplement P1 of the MOA, which is that..

1. It is possible that a MGB exist.

This will actually help make an even bolder point, that not only is a MGB possible, but it is IMPOSSIBLE for a MGB to NOT exist (which were the implications, anyway).

At your request, I can do just that. And let me just point out that no one is conflating arguments just for the sake of conflating. We are debating, and I am simply supporting my argument, which is what I am SUPPOSED to do.

wiploc wrote:

And, presumably, you get to make up the rules of this place you invented. Infinities will be impossible in regular reality, but possible (so that god can be eternal) in super reality, right? Things need causes in regular reality but gods won't need causes in super reality, right?


Not at all. God himself is bound by logic and reason. So if a squared circle can't exist on Earth, then it can't exist in Heaven, either. No special pleading, here.

wiploc wrote:

Just like in the actual world, or so it seems to me.


So it seems to you based on what? You've offered no good reasons why God's existence isn't possible. So far, you've offered sort of a "reverse" MOA argument, ("I can imagine possible world's which God doesn't exist"), which I addressed above.

wiploc wrote:

Modal logic is about possibility. PWS is a form of modal logic, but there is no justification for the claim that anytime somebody says, "I may have left my credit card at Sears," she is employing possible-world-speak. If she wanted to use PWS, she would say, "There is a possible world in which I left my credit card at Sears."

We all use modal logic. It is familiar and comfortable. Possible-world-speak is another matter.


As you can see, you've worded the two statements differently. If you had worded the latter in the same way you worded the former, it would look like...

"There is a possible word in which I may have left my credit card at Sears".

I see no problems there. Still possible-world-speak.

wiploc wrote:

And yet most of us aren't familiar with that phrasing.


Certainly not.

wiploc wrote:

And some of us on this very board are sufficiently unfamiliar with PWS that they think steps 2 and 4 are dubious propositions that need proving.


Then, kindly enlighten them that once they grant P1, the rest is smooth sailing.

wiploc wrote:

That's absurd. I've never run across PWS except when discussing the MOA.


Which seems irrelevant. It doesn't matter the terminology used to make the point. The fact of the matter is, it is the SAME concept.

1. I am going to the store.
2. I am going to the market.
3. I am going to Walmart.
4. I am going to a place that sells groceries.

Same concept.

wiploc wrote:


• I'll be happy to deal with the Kalam cosmological argument in a separate debate after this one. Or later in this argument.


Cool.

wiploc wrote:

Wouldn't an omni-great god have an infinite number of parts, rather than just father, son, and ghost?


I'm not sure how that follows.

wiploc wrote:

I haven't given it much thought, so, no, I can't stipulate to that.


Me either. It is something to think about though, as least, to me. I've thought about it, and I've drawn a conclusion..

wiploc wrote:

As Charlie Brown says, "Aaarrgh!"
That's one more debate we can have at a later time. For now, I demur.


Whenever you ready.

wiploc wrote:

Well, let's use justice and mercy again. A god could be maximally just and merciful by being perfectly just and not at all merciful. Or by being perfectly merciful and not at all just. Or by being 32% just and 68% merciful. There is an infinite range of possibilities using just those two factors.


Yeahhh, but see...in order for you to put any arbitrary value on any of those attributes, you will have to have an objective standard of which you are abiding by.

Since your standards can only be subjective, there is no way to "know" what true mercy is, and when to be merciful and when not to be. There is just no way of knowing these kind of things, ESPECIALLY on a naturalistic view, such as yours.

wiploc wrote:

(I suspect that, in your view, infinities don't exist in the real universe, but they do exist in your super reality, right, so that your god can be eternal? Therefore there are an infinite number of points between 0% and 100%.)


Actual infinities can't/don't exist in ANY imagined world. Not in heaven or on earth. And as far as God and eternity is concerned...there is a way for God to be eternal without having to have traversed infinite time to be so.

wiploc wrote:

Thanks for raising this point so that I can clarify. I'm not suggesting that there are lots of different MGBs. (I don't believe in even one.) Rather, I'm saying that the concept of "maximally great being" is undefined.


Yet, I clearly defined it in the OP.

wiploc wrote:

Since justice and mercy are both good, and since they are in conflict, saying that someone is "maximally" just and great gives us no clue as to whether he will be at all just or at all merciful.


First we have to figure out where do our moral standards come from? You say that justice and mercy are both good. How did you draw that conclusion? I don't see how you can logically question maximal benevolence if you don't even have an objective standard by which you are using to judge acts of benevolence by. Certainly not on naturalism.

wiploc wrote:

I'm not saying that there are many conflicting MGBs. I'm saying that many different things could qualify as an MGB. Many different things could match that definition.


Lets see..[power, knowledge, presence, and benevolence]. What are the other qualifications?

wiploc wrote:

And I'll repeat that "greatness" is undefined.


And as I said in the OP, correct me if I'm wrong...but isn't a person's greatness typically measured by the amount/value of his power, knowledge, presence, and benevolence?

When we consider all of the "great" human beings in the history of mankind...name me ONE "great" person whose greatness wasn't measured by one of those categorizations (for lack of a better term).

wiploc wrote:

I'll repeat my example too: A god that throws people into Hellfire is far greater nonexistent than it would be existent.


And I will answer that by agreeing with you, if and only if this God did not provide the people with a way to prevent such actions...a way that, by the way, does not require any money or material possession. Just saying.



wiploc wrote:

The Modal Ontological Argument:

Step 1. A Maximally Great Being Is Possible. (Premise)

Step 2. If it is possible that a maximally great being exists,
then a maximally great being exists in some possible world. (PWS definition of "possible")

Step 3. If a maximally great being exists in some possible world,
then it exists in every possible world. (Premise: Definition of MGB)

Step 4. If a maximally great being exists in every possible world,
then it exists in the actual world (our world). (Because the actual world is possible.)

Step 5. If a maximally great being exists in the actual world,
then a maximally great being exists. (By definition)

Step 6. Therefore, a maximally great being exists. (From 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5)

I believe that we are agreed that if the MOA has a problem, then that problem has to be located in steps 1 and 3. To say it another way, you and I both stipulate that steps 2, 4, 5, and 6 are bulletproof; no problem can be located in them.


Yes, indeed.

wiploc wrote:

Or at least that will be the case after we get rid of any equivocation.

I hope it's okay with you if we regard step 3 as a premise. That will allow discussion of soundness (as opposed to validity) to focus on the two iffy steps. Again, that's to the extent that there is no equivocation.

And let's go right to that equivocation issue, get it out of the way.

Step 1. A Maximally Great Being Is Possible. (Premise)

Step 2. If it is possible that a maximally great being exists,
then a maximally great being exists in some possible world. (PWS definition of "possible")

This feels like equivocation. It feels like "possible," in step 1, means the same as, "I don't know whether it's true or false. So sue me.


I wouldn't mind if you felt that way, if it weren't for the fact that I gave justification for Step 1 in my OP. I didn't approach it from a "I don't know whether its true or false" perspective...but rather; "Here is why Step 1 is more plausible than not".

So I don't know where you get this apprehension from...but I know you didn't get it from me.

wiploc wrote:

I don't know which it is, so I have to allow that it is possible." That's how Plantinga gets people to accede to step 1. "I don't know, so I'll say it's possible."


But that wasn't my approach.

wiploc wrote:

But in step 2, "possible" has transformed into its PWS meaning. It has this specific meaning: "not impossible." That meaning needs to be proven. The claim is that an MGB exists in at least one possible world.


You started off with a false interpretation of Step 1 (at least false based on the argument that I presented). Therefore, any conclusion that you draw from Step 2 from Step 1 will also be false.

Step 2 is basically saying "If it is possible for 2+2=4, then 2+2 must = 4 in some possible world".

And you won't dare argue against that, would you? It is literally the same concept.

wiploc wrote:

"I don't know whether the MGB exists," is a far cry from, "I know that the MGB exists in at least one possible world."


Still a false conclusion from a false interpretation.

wiploc wrote:

Now Plantinga and WLC (William Lane Craig) would never admit to this equivocation. They would say that they define "possible" in step 2, and it is not their fault if some readers misunderstand.


Between Plantiga and WLC, you have over a half of a century of academic/scholarly philosophy under their belts. I don't think either of them will be caught dead equivocating words.

wiploc wrote:

The logic of the argument allows for it to be interpreted that way, so I'm going to do so.


Albeit, falsely.

But it's not like they aren't trying to fool people.

wiploc wrote:

Witness For_the_Kingdom's justification for step 1:

Quote:

Justification for P1: In other words, for all we know, a MGB could exist.


He's not saying, "Here is the proof that an MGB exists in at least one possible world." He's saying, "Gee, we don't know whether god exists, so it's possible that he does."


Hmm. This strikes me as a bit disingenuous here. First off, as I mentioned in my original MOA thread, most of you (if not all) had no problem admitting that God's existence was at least possible before my MOA thread was created.

In fact, the common response from unbelievers is "Sure, It is possible for God to exist, but just because it is possible doesn't mean that he actually exist".

Quite a few people on here made such statements in the thread. It wasn't until it was explained to them that once you admit that God's existence is possible, that therefore, God MUST exist...it wasn't until that particular insight that people started to suddenly doubt the existence of God altogether. Before then, they had no problem admitting that God's existence was possible.

It was basically a..

Me: God's existence is possible.

Unbelievers on here:
Just because Gods existence is possible, doesn't mean he actually exist.

Me: But if God's existence is possible, God must actually exist...because of reasons x,y,z..

Unbelievers on here:
Ok then, well God's existence isn't possible.

So as it seems, those people had to adjust to the argument based on its implications, which...says a lot about the strength of the argument.

Second, when I said; "For all we know, God could exist", I was implying that since God (as defined) does NOT violate any laws of logic, as it is a logically coherent idea, that based on this, God COULD exist...because as you already agreed with me; that things which can be imagined must be logically coherent and therefore possibly true (in some possible world).

I alluded to that point in B of the justification of P1. So for you to take a small excerpt of what I said and then try to make this "Aha, Gotcha" moment when I clearly elaborated on the point just sentences below it strikes me as rather disingenuous.

wiploc wrote:

That regular-speak kind of possibility is never going to set up the argument for the possible-world-speak kind of possibility used in step 2. The argument fails right here unless we correct the meaning of "possible" in step 1.


I don't follow.


wiploc wrote:

And then FtK says this:

Quote:

To "prove" that God doesn't exist, wiploc would either have to..


He puts the burden of proof on me. He thinks not knowing whether or not god exists is all that step 1 accomplishes, so in order to refute step 1 I would have to prove that god does not exist.


Again, the statement "he thinks not knowing whether or not god exists is all that step 1 accomplishes" is based on a faulty interpretation of Step 1. I really don't know what you are talking about here, actually. All I know is, it isn't a correct interpretation of what I said.

wiploc wrote:

None of this is FtK's fault. Plantinga and WLC deliver the argument in a form that leads people to naturally make this mistake. And it is not plausible to argue that they don't know it.


Unjustified conspiracy theory.

wiploc wrote:

We may have to refute strongest best form of the argument, but that's not the form that Plantinga and WLC were trying to sell.


Unjustified conspiracy theory.

wiploc wrote:

Another kink in their delivery is that they wait to define the MGB in step 3. In step 1, they get you to agree that he may exist, and then only later do they define him as existing in all possible worlds if he exists in any of them.


I don't know what "they" did, but what "I" did was define the MGB in the preface of the argument. I'd like to know who you are debating; them, or me?

wiploc wrote:

If you first defined the MGB as existing in all possible worlds if he exists in any of them, how many people would then say they know that he exists in at least one?


The question is whether or not it is possible for it (MGB) to exist in all possible worlds. If it isn't possible, then there is no need to continually talk about Steps 2-6 because there would be no need to. If Step 1 is false, then so are the other steps after it.

wiploc wrote:

None of this is FtK's fault. He was deceived by a rationalizing scholar (Plantinga) or a mountebank (WLC), depending on which version of the argument he read.


Sure, I was deceived by those guys, and leave it up to good ole' wiploc, an unbelieving member of a religious debate forum, to solve the Plantiga/Craig conspiracy mystery.

wiploc wrote:

The Problem with Step 1:

Here are steps 3 and 1 together:

Step 3. If a maximally great being exists in some possible world,
then it exists in every possible world.

Step 1. A Maximally Great Being Is Possible.

They define something as existing in every possible world if it exists in any possible world, and then they claim that it exists in a possible world (and therefore all possible worlds).

Can we grant this as a true claim? No, because "possible worlds" is a defined term. A possible world is any world without a contradiction. And there is no contradiction in a world without an MGB.


See above.

wiploc wrote:

In fact, according to FtK, there is no contradiction in a possible world that doesn't exist. If a world doesn't exist, then it doesn't have an MGB.


Which is like saying "if bank accounts doesn't exist, then you don't have money in your bank account". Ok, and? Point?

wiploc wrote:

A nonexistent world doesn't have anything, not space, not time, not 2+2=4, not causality, not anything. Even FtK can't imagine a nonexistent world with an MGB.


I can't even imagine a nonexistent world (at which literally NOTHING existed). So what? My position is that mere existence is necessary, as I stressed in the OP.

wiploc wrote:

Since we know that godless (and MGB-less) worlds are possible, we know that premise 1 is false.


I haven't seen anything from my opponent which supports "godless/MGB-LESS worlds are possible".

wiploc wrote:

Or we can look at it a different way. If we stipulated that step 1 was true, then we'd find that step3 was false. If it's true that something exists in a possible world, then it can't also be true that thing also exists in every possible world--including those possible worlds in which it does not exist.


Necessary truths are true in ALL POSSIBLE WORLDS. If you can think of a possible world at which necessary truths are true here, but not true there, then it wasn't necessarily true to begin with.

wiploc wrote:

Personally, I prefer to think of step three as a given, a definition, and as step 1 as false. But we know for a fact that one of them is false.


If either one is false, it hasn't been explain to me why/how in this debate.

wiploc wrote:

Proof by Contradiction:

The other way to disprove the MOA is to reverse it. Stipulate that the logic is sound, and see what else it can "prove." Like this:

Step 1. It is possible that a maximally great being does not exist. (Premise)

Step 2. If it is possible that a maximally great being does not exist,
then a maximally great being does not exist in some possible world. (PWS definition of "possible")

Step 3. If a maximally great being does not exist in some possible world,
then it does not exist in every possible world. (Premise: Definition of MGB)

Step 4. If a maximally great being does not exist in every possible world,
then it does not exist in the actual world (our world). (Because the actual world is possible.)

Step 5. If a maximally great being does not exist in the actual world,
then a maximally great being does not exist. (By definition)

Step 6. Therefore, a maximally great being does not exist. (From 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5)

The logic of this argument is exactly as strong as that of FtK's version of the argument. So if FtK's version proves that gods do exist, then this version proves that gods do not exist.


And I address this above..

1. If wiploc's version of the argument is true, then the universe exists necessarily. But again (for the third time) we have evidence that the universe is contingent and therefore could not/cannot have existed necessarily.

I want to be bold on this point...as I am explicitly stating that it is impossible for natural reality (the physical) to have existed from past eternity. Yet, something has to account for it..and that something cannot itself be of physical essence, and that something itself must exist necessarily.

2. As I repeat again; the only way for your reverse ontological argument would hold any water is for you to prove that it is logically impossible for a MGB to exist..and so far we haven't seen that.

wiploc wrote:

FtK cannot attack the validity of this version without attacking the validity of his own version. Nor can he attack the truth of my step 3 without destroying his own version. That leaves step 1. Can he attack my step 1 without attacking his step 1?


The truth value of your Step 1 leads to absurd results (regarding the universe), by default. The truth value of my Step 1 supplements what we know, that the universe began to exist and it owes its existence to a necessarily existing mind, by default.

You are making a counter-reverse argument without being aware of its implications, if it were true. If your argument was true, then should ultimately supplement the idea that the past is eternal. It should ultimately supplement the idea that the universe exists necessarily. It does neither, but it should, if it was true.

My argument, however, DOES support the idea that the universe began to exist and that time itself owes its existence to a timeless entity.

Real truth does not lead to absurdities...but rather, it leads to more truth.

wiploc wrote:

As long as step 1 is interpreted as, "We don't know any better, so let's call it possible," then no.


False interpretation.

wiploc wrote:

If we don't know whether or not gods exist, then it is possible (in regular-speak) that they do exist and possible that they don't. Each version is as strong as the other. And one proves X while the other proves not-X.

Any argument that proves both X and not-X is without merit. It weighs nothing in the scales of persuasion. It is worthless.

The modal ontological argument is without merit. It weighs nothing in the scales of persuasion. It is worthless.

Premise 1 revisited:

Of course, FtK could try to prove that his version of step 1 is true, and that mine is false. That would make all the difference.

To do that, he can't use the "We don't know, therefore it's possible," interpretation. He has to assume the burden of proof; he has to show how we know that an MGB exists in all possible worlds.

I don't think he has really undertaken this yet. (I'm confident that he'll correct me if I'm wrong about that.)

Here's my proof that FtK's version of step 1 is false:

A world without logical contradictions is a possible world.
Godless worlds are without logical contradictions.
Therefore, godless worlds are possible worlds.
It would be a logical contradiction for a god to exist in a godless world.
Therefore, no god can exist in all possible worlds.
The god of the MOA exists in all possible worlds if it exists in any of them.
Therefore, the god of the MOA cannot exist in any possible world.
Therefore, step 1 of the MOA (FtK's version) is false.

Here's my proof that my version of step 1 is true:

A world without logical contradictions is a possible world.
Godless worlds are without logical contradictions.
Therefore, godless worlds are possible worlds.
Therefore, there is a possible world in which no gods exist.
Therefore, my version of step 1 of the MOA is true.

These are bulletproof arguments. Nothing substantial can be said against them.


Where We Stand Now:

Equivocation: If we equivocate on the meaning of "possible," defining it differently in steps 1 and 2, then the MOA is invalid. If we use the principle of charity, and thus define "possible" in step 1 in the same way that we define it in step 2, then the MOA can be seen as valid.

Validity: If we don't equivocate on the meaning of "possible," and if we treat steps 1 and 3 as premises, then the MOA is valid.

Soundness: The premises (steps 1 and 3) cannot both be true. One must be false. Whichever one that is, the MOA is unsound.


So in closing...lets bring together what has occurred in my opponents last response..

A. He based almost the entire middle-end of his post on a false interpretation of my argument.

B. He is unaware of the implications of his counter-reverse MOA argument, which leads to absurdities as opposed to logical coherency.

C. He has not demonstrated why the existence of a MGB is impossible, which is the meat and potatoes of the entire argument.

So, as it stands, the MOA is a valid/sound argument for the existence of God.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 8: Mon Apr 03, 2017 10:32 pm
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Like this post (1): benchwarmer
So much I could say! So many places I could start! But I want to focus on step 1. If we resolve step 1, then the other points can be addressed if they still matter.

Step 1 is the essence.

But I will address this issue first:

For_The_Kingdom wrote:

This strikes me as a bit disingenuous here.


We've both stated our intent to have fun with this debate. We should be civil.

If there comes a time when you can't give me the benefit of the doubt, you should end this. I'll do the same for you. There won't be need for insults either way.

==========================
MOA = modal ontological argument
PWS = possible world speak
MGB = maximally great being
NFST = necessary flying sea turtle
==========================

Okay, here's the MOA:

Quote:
Step 1. A Maximally Great Being Is Possible. (Premise)

Step 2. If it is possible that a maximally great being exists,
then a maximally great being exists in some possible world. (PWS definition of "possible")

Step 3. If a maximally great being exists in some possible world,
then it exists in every possible world. (Definition of MGB)

Step 4. If a maximally great being exists in every possible world,
then it exists in the actual world (our world). (Because the actual world is possible.)

Step 5. If a maximally great being exists in the actual world,
then a maximally great being exists. (By definition)

Step 6. Therefore, a maximally great being exists. (From 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5)


That is as we've seen it before except that I changed the parenthetical comment after step 3: It used to say "premise" too, but now it just says "Definition of MGB."

Since step three is a definition, it is a given. Aside from step 1, then, none of the steps are disputable.

I don't know why you think step 1 is at all plausible. In order to make that point, I introduce you to a couple of friends of mine.

First we have Jenny the necessary flying sea turtle (NFST). About Jenny I offer this argument:

Quote:
Step 1. Jenny Is Possible. (Premise)

Step 2. If it is possible that Jenny exists,
then Jenny exists in some possible world. (PWS definition of "possible")

Step 3. If Jenny exists in some possible world,
then she exists in every possible world. (Definition of Jenny)

Step 4. If Jenny exists in every possible world,
then she exists in the actual world (our world). (Because the actual world is possible.)

Step 5. If Jenny exists in the actual world,
then she exists. (By definition)

Step 6. Therefore, Jenny exists. (From 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5)



And now meet Xal-xe. You can pronounce that Zal-zee. Xal-xe is the ascetic demon of quadratic equations. He's an interesting character, but all you have to know about him today is two things:

1. Xal-ze is necessary. He's defined that way. If he exists at all, he exists in all possible worlds.

2. Xal-xe is incompatible with all kinds of gods. For any given world, if Xal-xe exists, gods do not exist; and if Xal-xe exists, no gods exist.

Quote:
Step 1. Xal-xe Is Possible. (Premise)

Step 2. If it is possible that Xal-xe exists,
then Xal-xe exists in some possible world. (PWS definition of "possible")

Step 3. If Xal-xe exists in some possible world,
then he exists in every possible world. (Definition of Xal-xe)

Step 4. If Xal-xe exists in every possible world,
then he exists in the actual world (our world). (Because the actual world is possible.)

Step 5. If Xal-xe exists in the actual world,
then he exists. (By definition)

Step 6. Therefore, Xal-xe exists. (From 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5)


Assuming that the logic of the MOA is correct, we now know for a fact that a flying sea turtle exists in every possible world. Further, we know that Xal-xe exists in every possible world, and that, therefore, no gods exist in any possible world.

This MOA is a powerful tool if it actually works. You can prove the existence of anything that you are willing to define as necessary.

I assume you'll have some sort of objection to this, but I can't think what it will be. So I think I'll stop here and wait for reaction.

I don't see any way for you to defend against step 1 of my versions of the MOA without also defeating your own version.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 9: Wed Apr 12, 2017 4:50 pm
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FtK (For the Kingdom) has asked me to respond to more of his previous post before he responds to mine.

I really like the formatlessness of the head-to-head forum, which allows us to post in any order we want.

Anyway, I wrote some stuff, further response to FtK's prior post, and I saved it and can't find it. So now I'm starting farther down, in case that can be recovered instead of having to be rewritten.

I may make a series of shorter posts out of fear of losing one big long one.


For_The_Kingdom wrote:

wiploc wrote:

In the meantime, I and many of our readers will feel free to imagine them, thus--by your standards--proving they are not contradictory. I imagine that the actual world is godless. I'm convinced of it.


Actually, what you and others are imaging is a contingent being. You are not imaging a necessary being. If Being X is necessarily omnipresent, it is impossible for you to imagine Being X to cease its presence. If you think you can imagine this being to cease its presence, what you are actually imagining is a contingent version of the being, and not the necessarily existing one.


Thank you for telling me what I am imagining. I couldn't get by without your help.

The fact is that I imagine that the real world, and many other possible worlds, do not have gods of any kind. According to your logic, that is proof that godless worlds are possible. And that is proof that necessary gods do not exist.



Quote:

wiploc wrote:

Are Godless Worlds Possible?

Of course. There's no logical contradiction there. A possible world is any world without contradiction, so godless worlds are possible.


But there is a contradiction. If there are no necessarily existing God(s), then the universe must exist necessarily.


First, you've made some sort of leap that I don't follow. I don't see how you got from that premise to that conclusion.

Second, that doesn't bother me. I don't mind a necessary world.

You don't mind a necessary god, so why should I mind a necessary world?



Quote:

No gray area. No way around it.


A bold claim, unsupported.



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But we have evidence that the universe DOESN'T exist necessarily.


A bold claim, unsupported.

And even unsupportable. Something necessary exists in all possible worlds. Since all possible worlds are worlds, there is no world-less possible world. Therefore, possible worlds are, by definition, necessary.



Quote:

Therefore, a necessarily existing God CANNOT be a contradiction.


Of course it is. I've proved it. There are godless possible worlds. Therefore there can't be a god in every possible world. Therefore there is no necessary god.

That's bulletproof. There aren't two sides to the issue.

A necessary god would have to exist in all possible worlds, including those that are godless. That's a logical contradiction; therefore, necessary gods are impossible.



Quote:

Unless of course again, you can tear down the arguments which contradicts an eternal universe, and build your own case which supports it.


Feel free to make your first cause arguments. I'll be happy to point out whatever problems I see.

In the meantime, here's my PoE (problem of evil) argument:

Step 1: A maximally great god would be omnipotent, able to do anything that doesn't contradict logic.
Step 2: A maximally great god will be omniscient; it will know everything that will ever happen in every possible world.
Step 3: A maximally great god will be omnibenevolent; it will totally/purely/strongly/unconflictedly desire good and oppose evil.

For the purpose of simplification, let me stipulate that this MGB is neither too stupid nor too ignorant to accomplish what he wants. Thus, we can set P2 aside.

That leaves us with P3 and P1: The MGB is able to have what he wants, and he wants there to be no evil. Phrased differently, he will have no evil if he is powerful enough to achieve that, and he is powerful enough to achieve that. Therefore,

Step 4: If an MGB existed, there would be no evil.
Step 5: MGBs are logically incompatible with evil; if evil exists, MGBs don't; If MGBs exist, evil doesn't.
Step 6: Evil exists.
Step 7: MGBs do not exist.

That's bulletproof. There aren't too sides to the issue.

You can have a god that isn't all that powerful, isn't all that smart and knowing, isn't all that benevolent, or that doesn't coexist with evil. But you cannot have, in any possible world, a tri-omni god that coexists with evil.

If a god does coexist with evil, it is wanting in great-making properties. It is not an MGB.

Some possible worlds, including the actual world, contain evil. We know for a fact then that none of these worlds has an MGB.



[/i]

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 10: Wed Apr 12, 2017 6:27 pm
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For_The_Kingdom wrote:

wiploc wrote:

And let me point out that you just used contingency and possibility as if they are the same. Possible means not impossible; contingent means neither impossible nor necessary. Not the same thing at all. If you substituted "contingent" for "possible in the MOA, it wouldn't work at all. Well, it doesn't work anyway, but if you made that substitution then nobody would think it worked. Not even you.


I wasn't aware that I did that.



You wrote this:
Quote:

It is funny that my opponent keeps mentioning "godless worlds" and its possibilities, yet, the contingency (possibility) of the universe/world is never mentioned.


When you refer to "contingency (possibility)," that seemed like conflating the two concepts.

I'm not looking for discussion on this point. I want to talk about step 1 of MOA. You have already stated that you did not equivocate between contingency and possibility, so I'm happy to stipulate that. That's good. We're done with that issue, so we can go on an talk about step 1.

On the other hand, you took offense to my brevity. You want me to respond fully to your post. So, I'm now explaining what I was thinking when I used your phrase, "(contingency (possibility)," to illustrate how one can confuse the two.

So, I'm addressing this issue simply so that you won't think I've been offensively brief, not because I want to dialogue on this topic.



Quote:

wiploc wrote:

This amounts to the claim that god is the only nonphysical thing in existence. Another bold and unsupported claim.


No, it doesn't.


You wrote, "Even if we could for second negate the existence of any god(s), then the physical world would be all that exist." That looks to me like a claim that god is the only nonphysical thing. I don't see any other interpretation.

Again, I'm not wanting to discuss this irrelevancy. We can talk about this if you want, but I'd rather talk about MOA step 1.


Quote:

One can postulate any nonphysical thing he wants, the question of "necessary, or contingent existence?" would apply to it as well.


I postulate a necessary flying sea turtle.

I can imagine a nonphysical circle. That, it seems to me, disposes of your claim that removing gods would leave only physical things. But, again, I direct your attention to step 1.



Quote:

wiploc wrote:

So there are world-less possible worlds? Interesting gibberish. I say that's a logical contradiction. And I say that you can't imagine a world that both does and doesn't exist.


Don't see how you interpreted that from what I said, but oh well.


You said the universe is contingent. Contingent things exist in some possible worlds but not in all of them. If the universe were contingent there would be possible universes which didn't have universes. Universeless universes. That's like square circles. You can't imagine it.



Quote:

wiploc wrote:

"Outside the universe" strikes me as gibberish. The universe is all that exists, by definition.


And saying the universe is all that exists strikes me as nonsense.


It's too bad we don't have a word that means that though.

Let me introduce the word "alliverse." It means "everything that exists." We can use "partiverse" to mean everything but gods.



Quote:

Something which began to exist cannot be said to be all that exists.


And yet you cannot offer any meaning of "began" for which your god didn't begin and the rest of the universe did.

So, either god began or the rest of the universe didn't either.



Quote:

wiploc wrote:

If you want to posit gods, then they are part of the universe.


Non sequitur. Not only is it non sequitur, but it is logically incoherent.


No, I assure you that I imagine it.



Quote:
If gods are part of the universe, then those gods began to exist along with the universe. Impossible.


Well, they're part of the alliverse, right, they are part of everything that exists? Did gods have to begin along with the rest of the alliverse?

I don't have a problem with that if they did, I'm just trying to figure out what your claim is.



Quote:

wiploc wrote:

I'm with Plantinga on this one: The universe is everything.


Everything that physically exists.


That's not Plantinga's position. He wants a word that refers to everything. "Universe" is the obvious candidate. Dictionaries and common usage support it. Plantinga uses the word "universe" to refer to everything that exists.

Don't be claiming that Plantinga uses "universe" to refer only to physical things. That claim is unsupportable and wrong.



Quote:

wiploc wrote:

You can see how the Panspermi Valdez might come to mind when someone says that the universe must have a cause that lies in some nonsensical "outside."


Actually, what is nonsensical is to think that the universe either popped into being uncaused out of nothing, or it has existed throughout past infinity.


It's a point of view.



Quote:
Since both of those ideas are demonstrably false and can be proven to be false, there is no need to waste any of our valuable time on it.


I'm not the one that brought it up. May I direct your attention to step 1 of the MOA?



Quote:
Unless, of course, you WOULD like to argue that the universe popped into being for no reason whatsoever out of absolutely nothing...


Not me.



Quote:
or you would like to argue that the universe has existed for eternity past


Again, not me.



Quote:
and for every event which led to present events, that these events traversed an infinite amount of past events to get there.


I don't really have a problem with that. Nor do I have a problem with a begun alliverse. I don't know which is true, if either.





Quote:

You can indeed argue in favor of those absurdities.


I don't see an infinite regress as more absurd than a begun alliverse. Nor, for that matter, am I able to grasp the logic of Hawking's finite but unbounded (not infinitely old, but also not begun) alliverse.



Quote:
But what it sounds like, is you have something against the idea that something which began to exist, having an external cause...


Many things that begin have causes. (Though, according to quantum physicists, some don't.) I don't have anything against things being caused. But if you require things to have causes, then you get infinite regress.

To say that everything but your god requires a cause, that's just special pleading.



Quote:
which is the same as arguing against the idea that you, a person who began to exist, having an external cause (your parents). You don't have any problems with that, do you?


You know, I think I did have parents. So, no, I've got no problem with that.



Quote:

Because it is the same concept you seem to have a problem with (the universe).


If we want to know how everything started, I don't see the point in talking about just some stuff. You really haven't proven how things got started if you only deal with things since 1875. Or 1630. A cosmological argument ought to go all the way back. It ought to cover everything. It should be about the alliverse, not the partiverse.

I do have a problem with the claim that the alliverse was caused by something outside of it.

If the alliverse was caused at all, it has to have been caused by something inside it. It has to have caused itself.

So, yes, I have a problem with that. And, no, I'm not saying it's not true, because that would require an uncaused alliverse. I don't see how either can be true. So I don't have to have an opinion.

If you have an opinion, a claim even, and you want people to accept your opinion as true, then you have to provide justification for your belief.



Quote:

I can only hope that we don't spend the rest of the debate arguing over those absurdities.


I direct your attention to step 1 of the MOA. I'm not the one who took offense at the skipping over of absurdities.

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