Class Warfare Blog

June 18, 2019

Prayers Are Needed

Filed under: Philosophy,Religion — Steve Ruis @ 1:33 pm
Tags: , , ,

The Ontological Argument for the existence of a god has been on life support since it was first published sometime after the year 1000 by Anselm. Since then, it has be re-imagined in quite a number of forms because whenever its existence is made known to a fair number of people with more than two brain cells to rub together it has been hacked to death.

All snark aside, this logical proof was designed by believers for believers as some sort of intellectual cover. Why it is needed may be due to apologists and philosophers simply needing something to talk about.

The latest incarnation of this argument (it has a long history and I will not bore you with it) has been made by philosopher Alvin Plantinga. Here it is:

  1. A being has maximal excellence in a given possible world W if and only if it is omnipotent, omniscient and wholly good in W; and (a Definition)
    2. A being has maximal greatness if it has maximal excellence in every possible world. (a Premise)
    3. It is possible that there is a being that has maximal greatness. (a Premise)
    4. Therefore, possibly, it is necessarily true that an omniscient, omnipotent, and perfectly good being exists.
    5. Therefore, it is necessarily true that an omniscient, omnipotent and perfectly good being exists.
    6. Therefore, an omniscient, omnipotent and perfectly good being exists.

Now, a common “flaw” in such arguments (Apologists think of it not as a bug but as a feature!) is to slip a premise into the argument that, if accepted, requires the conclusion desired.

In this argument the stealth premise is #3. By claiming as an unadulterated truth that such a being is possible, if you combine that with the definition of what is possible, you define a god into existence.

The reply to “It is possible that there is a being that has maximal greatness.” is simple: no it is not. Not even in your imagination can you come up with such a being. (Even Thanos has flaws.)

Any argument that says that “something is possible, therefore it exists” can define into existence anything at all: unicorns, Bigfoot (Bigfeet?), fairies, elves, etc.

So, try an experiment. (Hear Rod Serling’s voice as a voice over and it is really dramatic.) “Imagine, if you will, a being which is maximally great in any attribute you want.” What prevents you from imagining a greater being? (You say “god,” I say “god’s mother.” And if you do not think the Abrahamic god didn’t have a mother, you haven’t done your homework.) What actually prevents you is the philosopher saying “If you can imagine a greater being, then you weren’t imagining a maximally great being in the first place!” so you start over. No matter what you come up with, you will be able to imagine something greater. Think about childhood bragging (this may just apply to boys as I have no experience being a girl). If a member of your group brags that so-and-so is the greatest baseball player ever, another says “No he is not, so-and-so is.” And off we go. There was never an end to such imaginings.

Think about the largest object in nature. The Universe has to be the maximally greatest thing in existence. Then the kid says, “No, it is two universes.” And another says “Three! And a fourth says it is the Multiverse! And a fifth says “two multiverses!”

The problem here is that a maximally great anything is not definable or imaginable because we have scales of comparison. For the longest time, the fastest time any person had run a mile in was just over four minutes. That was thought to be a barrier, that no one could run that distance any faster. Then someone did, and a lot of others quickly copied that feat.

Now, you could argue that zero seconds would be the fastest possible time to run any distance. But nothing can move in zero seconds, so some time is needed, so make it 1/10 of a second. Then the Flash is born and he can do it in 1/100 of a second. And then we are back to carving time down to a smaller and smaller bit. The scales are continuous, they don’t end anywhere. (They start but they don’t end.)

By claiming that “It is possible that there is a being that has maximal greatness” they are basically saying “my god is possible.” But this is not a premise. It is not “obviously true” to anyone except believers. And starting a “proof” of the existence of your god by saying “my god is possible” is a pretty big leg up on “my god exists,” especially if you are going to define the gods unimaginable powers into existence, too.

Hopefully, this silly argument is on its last legs (although it appears as a prime example of a “zombie idea,” and idea that doesn’t die) but theists are probably forming prayer circles right now to ensure that it survives. Prayers are definitely needed as all natural cures have been exhausted.

 

 

 

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30 Comments »

  1. They like to say we could not even comprehend the things of god. Our minds would literally be blown. Go ahead, try me. I have a pretty good imagination, just give me a chance to see if I can comprehend it. Maybe they’re saving my life. I’d hate to have my mind blown (only to die later either way)

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by jim- — June 18, 2019 @ 2:16 pm | Reply

  2. 1. It is possible that a maximally wicked being exists.
    2. If it is possible that a maximally wicked being exists, then a maximally wicked being exists in some possible world.
    3. If a maximally wicked being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world.
    4. If a maximally wicked being exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world.
    5. Therefore, a maximally wicked being exists in the actual world.
    6. Therefore, a maximally wicked being exists.
    7. Therefore, the Omnimalevolent Creator exists.

    Theists really don’t like this mirror. When confronted with it, they find all sorts of problems with the reasoning. Interesting because it’s actually word-for-word William Lane Craig’s ontological argument. All I did was change the name of the deity.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by john zande — June 18, 2019 @ 5:32 pm | Reply

    • Is that actually considered reasoning? Sounds more like reverse intellection. It’s their gotcha that gets themselves.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by jim- — June 18, 2019 @ 5:36 pm | Reply

    • “…it’s actually word-for-word William Lane Craig’s ontological argument. All I did was change the name of the deity.”

      Then it’s not ‘word-for-word.
      Your ‘mirror’ is actually a straw man.

      Like

      Comment by John Branyan — June 18, 2019 @ 11:18 pm | Reply

      • By all means, tell me how the name of the deity changes the reasoning….

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by john zande — June 19, 2019 @ 4:43 am | Reply

        • LOL!
          This is why they don’t teach logic in Pre-school. There’s a difference between “goodness” and “wickedness”. They are not interchangeable concepts.

          Proceed with your pantomime.

          Like

          Comment by John Branyan — June 19, 2019 @ 6:35 am | Reply

          • Craig does not identify a good being or a bad being, you dolt.

            But you failed to answer the question: How does the name of the being change the reasoning?

            Care to try again?

            Like

            Comment by john zande — June 19, 2019 @ 6:49 am | Reply

            • “OJ Simpson served time in prison.”
              “Tom Brady served time in prison.”

              All I did was change the name of the being.

              Like

              Comment by John Branyan — June 19, 2019 @ 7:35 am | Reply

              • Last chance.

                Please address the question: How does the name of the being change the reasoning?

                Liked by 1 person

                Comment by john zande — June 19, 2019 @ 7:37 am | Reply

    • I made a similar effort, although with a slightly different tack:

      1. It is possible that a maximally great being does exist, but the probability is vanishingly small.

      2. If it is possible that a maximally great being exists with a vanishingly small probability, then there is a vanishingly small probability that a maximally great being exists in some possible world. 3. If a maximally great being exists in some possible world with a vanishingly small probability, then it exists in every possible world with a vanishingly small probability. 4. If a maximally great being exists in every possible world with a vanishingly small probability, then it exists in the actual world with a vanishingly small probability.

      5. If a maximally great being exists in the actual world with a vanishingly small probability, then there is a vanishingly small probability a maximally great being exists.

      6. Therefore, there is a with a vanishingly small probability that a maximally great being exists.

      On Tue, Jun 18, 2019 at 5:32 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

      >

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Steve Ruis — June 19, 2019 @ 7:18 am | Reply

  3. So you have declared it is impossible for a maximally great being to exist! Brilliant!
    You’ve thoroughly dismantled the Ontological Argument. It was so simple! I’m astonished that centuries of great thinkers weren’t able to do this.

    Are you imagining this accomplishment brings meaning to your existence?

    Like

    Comment by John Branyan — June 18, 2019 @ 11:10 pm | Reply

    • Fool! Every version of the Ontological Argument for the past 1000 years has been dismantled/destroyed/obliterated. It keeps getting revived through deception and the ignorance of new generations of churchers. The likes of Immanuel Kant took Anslem’s argument apart in new ways, just for sport.

      On Tue, Jun 18, 2019 at 11:10 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

      >

      Like

      Comment by Steve Ruis — June 19, 2019 @ 7:22 am | Reply

      • Of course. How silly of me.

        Your purpose in life is to expose my foolishness!

        Like

        Comment by John Branyan — June 19, 2019 @ 7:34 am | Reply

        • If you say so. You are really good at creating purpose in life, you know.

          On Wed, Jun 19, 2019 at 7:34 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

          >

          Like

          Comment by Steve Ruis — June 19, 2019 @ 7:46 am | Reply

          • Anyone, theist or atheist, who thinks that “purposes” exist anywhere but in our imaginations is sadly poorly informed.

            Like

            Comment by John Branyan — June 19, 2019 @ 7:46 am | Reply

      • Even Anselm admitted his argument rides on the ambiguity of its terms.

        Like

        Comment by john zande — June 19, 2019 @ 7:56 am | Reply


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