1. Standard memberSwissGambit
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    07 May '12 06:191 edit
    def. God: a being which is "maximally excellent" in every possible world. Maximal Excellence includes such properties as omniscience, omnipotence, and moral perfection. A being which has maximal excellence in every possible world would have "maximal greatness."

    Premises:
    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.

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

    Conclusion:
    Therefore, a maximally great being exists.

    Obviously, I do not believe the conclusion so I must reject a premise to invalidate it.

    WLC's website insisted that premises 2-5 where uncontroversial and invited a debate about premise 1. But as I evaluate it, I wish to reject premise 3. I do not see how God's mere ability to be excellent in every possible world allows us to place him in every possible world.

    I assume most theists would be happy to accept the argument entirely. For my atheist brethren: which premise(s) would you reject?
  2. Cape Town
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    07 May '12 06:461 edit
    Originally posted by SwissGambit
    I assume most theists would be happy to accept the argument entirely.
    Actually theists should reject it too, because the properties chosen and definition of 'excellence' are purely arbitrary and therefore the argument should also lead to the conclusion that a being of maximal evil exists etc.

    For my atheist brethren: which premise(s) would you reject?
    1. reject
    2. Accept because it doesn't really say anything other than clarify 1.)
    3. reject
    4. Accept, it follows trivially from 3.
    5. Accept, trivially follows from 3.,4.

    I am also a bit suspicious of the term 'exists' when used in reference to a 'possible world'. I assume that 'possible worlds' don't all actually exist, so I would be more comfortable with 'contains' or something like that.
  3. Standard memberKellyJay
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    07 May '12 06:52
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    Actually theists should reject it too, because the properties chosen and definition of 'excellence' are purely arbitrary and therefore the argument should also lead to the conclusion that a being of maximal evil exists etc.

    [b]For my atheist brethren: which premise(s) would you reject?

    1. reject
    2. Accept because it doesn't really say anything ot ...[text shortened]... tually exist, so I would be more comfortable with 'contains' or something like that.[/b]
    If 3 has it somewhere and its greatness is as described it wouldn't be limited by the 'worlds', if you believe it could be why call it maximal great?
    Kelly
  4. Standard memberKellyJay
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    07 May '12 06:53
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    Actually theists should reject it too, because the properties chosen and definition of 'excellence' are purely arbitrary and therefore the argument should also lead to the conclusion that a being of maximal evil exists etc.

    [b]For my atheist brethren: which premise(s) would you reject?

    1. reject
    2. Accept because it doesn't really say anything ot ...[text shortened]... tually exist, so I would be more comfortable with 'contains' or something like that.[/b]
    Why do you think it is impossible for 1 to be true?
    Kelly
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    07 May '12 07:161 edit
    Originally posted by SwissGambit
    def. [b]God: a being which is "maximally excellent" in every possible world. Maximal Excellence includes such properties as omniscience, omnipotence, and moral perfection. A being which has maximal excellence in every possible world would have "maximal greatness."

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

    2. If it is pos accept the argument entirely. For my atheist brethren: which premise(s) would you reject?[/b]
    I think 2 - 5 are only uncontraversial if you accept that the concept of "maximally excellent" also must, by definition, included the concept of existing (i.e. if it does not exist, then it is not maximally excellent). Accept this, and then the rest follows.

    But why assume this? This reduces the argument to:

    1) God is a perfect being that exists.
    2) You argue that God does not exist.
    3) Your argument is irrelevant because I have defined God as something that exists.

    I can come up with the same definition of the "maximally perfect burger". Don't mean that it exists. Though I wish it did.

    Though it might if scientists focussed on this important stuff, and stopped bothering with curing illness etc....
  6. Cape Town
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    07 May '12 07:231 edit
    Originally posted by KellyJay
    If 3 has it somewhere and its greatness is as described it wouldn't be limited by the 'worlds', if you believe it could be why call it maximal great?
    Kelly
    I think we don't have the same understanding of what 'possible worlds' are. My understanding is that a 'possible world' is an imaginary world which could, as far as the laws of physics etc are concerned, theoretically exist. I see no reason why the possible existence of something in one of these imaginary worlds would necessarily be in all imaginary worlds.

    [edit]
    The definition of maximally great only says that if it existed in every possible world, then in every possible world it would be maximal in the given attributes. But this does not imply that it has to exist in every possible world, nor does it imply that it can exist in every possible world.
  7. Cape Town
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    07 May '12 07:25
    Originally posted by KellyJay
    Why do you think it is impossible for 1 to be true?
    Kelly
    I believe the universe is non-deterministic and that therefore omniscience and omnipotence are impossible.
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    07 May '12 12:29
    Originally posted by SwissGambit
    def. [b]God: a being which is "maximally excellent" in every possible world. Maximal Excellence includes such properties as omniscience, omnipotence, and moral perfection. A being which has maximal excellence in every possible world would have "maximal greatness."

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

    2. If it is pos ...[text shortened]... accept the argument entirely. For my atheist brethren: which premise(s) would you reject?[/b]
    My question is basically, what is this an argument for?

    I come away agreeing that as an outside observer of universes, I could conceivably find one being at each, that is maximally excellent at that universe, given there are criteria for such a search. Thus for W(n) there would be MEB(n). I'd need help with the criteria, and with getting from there to a MEB that is the same being, existent at all W and existent even if they don't exist, i.e. God.

    It's important IMO not to confuse "world" with "universe" or "natural world" here. A world would include for example, that world's natural world and any supernatural world. Is it to be assumed that there is a "superworld" where the MEB over all, resides?

    IOW getting from MEB to God seems incomplete, if that is the intention. And if it is not the intention, it would behoove its fans to be informed of that.
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    07 May '12 13:06
    Originally posted by SwissGambit
    def. [b]God: a being which is "maximally excellent" in every possible world. Maximal Excellence includes such properties as omniscience, omnipotence, and moral perfection. A being which has maximal excellence in every possible world would have "maximal greatness."

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

    2. If it is pos ...[text shortened]... accept the argument entirely. For my atheist brethren: which premise(s) would you reject?[/b]
    def. God: a being which is "maximally excellent" in every possible world. Maximal Excellence includes such properties as omniscience, omnipotence, and moral perfection. A being which has maximal excellence in every possible world would have "maximal greatness."


    Well I have problems right here because it can be shown that some of these properties are logically impossible (depending on how you define these terms)
    And you would certainly have to prove that something like 'moral perfection' is possible you can't just claim that it is.

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


    This must be demonstrated not just asserted, As I have said some of the attributes this 'maximally great' being is supposed to have are potentially logically
    impossible and that's even before you get to questions of whether they are physically possible.

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


    Not necessarily, this is only true in the event that there are an infinite number of possible 'worlds' (I am reading as universes) when you can say
    that anything that is possible is mandatory, Which is not true in a finite set. although I would point out that anything that is possible in an infinite
    universe/set of universes will happen an infinite number of times so this is not an argument for monotheism.


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


    Again this would have to be proven and not asserted. It might be possible for a god to exist in some universes and not others and the existence of
    such a being in one universe does not guarantee such a being existing in another.

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


    Well yes this is tautologically true.

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


    And again this is tautologically true.



    As has been stated already in this thread even if this argument held it can be used equally for beings of ultimate evil and for unicorns.

    http://wiki.ironchariots.org/index.php?title=Ontological_argument


    And even if it were true, it invalidates the god of the bible because that god doesn't match up to the definition.

    God as described in the bible is a bit of a moron, and is hopeless at communication as evinced by the vagueness and word salad nature of the bible.
    The god of the bible is also evidently not morally perfect as evinced by... well pretty much everything in the bible.
    The number of genocides and moral evils in the bible are extraordinary.

    And of course as I say the only way that premise 2 holds is in the event that there are an infinite number of possible places that a
    'maximally great' being could possibly exist. In which instance there would be an infinite number of such beings.
    As the bible god claims to be the one and only god this can't be true according to this argument.

    Also this argument assumes and requires a location for god to exist in before there can be a god which prevents this 'maximally great'
    being from being the creator of its universe.



    And finally you can't just imagine god into existence in a puff of logic.

    You still need evidence to back it up.

    Which the ontological argument fails to provide.
  10. Standard memberSwissGambit
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    07 May '12 15:28
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    Actually theists should reject it too, because the properties chosen and definition of 'excellence' are purely arbitrary and therefore the argument should also lead to the conclusion that a being of maximal evil exists etc.

    [b]For my atheist brethren: which premise(s) would you reject?

    1. reject
    2. Accept because it doesn't really say anything ot ...[text shortened]... tually exist, so I would be more comfortable with 'contains' or something like that.[/b]
    I'm not so sure they should. I can imagine a theist accepting premise 1 with respect to a maximally great being and rejecting premise 1 with respect to a maximally evil being. [Although it may be difficult to show a valid reason why they should accept one and not the other.] Changing the definition makes it into a different argument.

    Tell me more about why you reject premise 1.
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    07 May '12 15:331 edit
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    I believe the universe is non-deterministic and that therefore omniscience and omnipotence are impossible.
    You don't actually need to show that premise 1 is impossible.

    It is simply enough to say that it is a positive claim that actually needs to be demonstrated
    and can't just be assumed.

    In short [to validate premise 1] you have to accurately define what the properties of this imagined being are and
    demonstrate that they are individually and collectively possible, and for this to be of any
    relevance, possible in this world/universe/reality.
  12. Standard memberSwissGambit
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    07 May '12 15:34
    Originally posted by Rank outsider
    I think 2 - 5 are only uncontraversial if you accept that the concept of "maximally excellent" also must, by definition, included the concept of existing (i.e. if it does not exist, then it is not maximally excellent). Accept this, and then the rest follows.

    But why assume this? This reduces the argument to:

    1) God is a perfect being that exist ...[text shortened]... entists focussed on this important stuff, and stopped bothering with curing illness etc....
    The argument does not assume that a maximally excellent being exists. It attempts to show its existence through the premises. If you disagree with the conclusion, you ought to be able to reject one or more premises.

    I am also sad that a maximally perfect burger may not exist. But again it would be premise 3, not 1, that would invalidate the conclusion for me.
  13. Standard memberSwissGambit
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    07 May '12 15:41
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    I believe the universe is non-deterministic and that therefore omniscience and omnipotence are impossible.
    Are you a non-determinist because of Quantum Mechanics?
  14. Standard memberSwissGambit
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    07 May '12 15:51
    Originally posted by JS357
    My question is basically, what is this an argument for?

    I come away agreeing that as an outside observer of universes, I could conceivably find one being at each, that is maximally excellent at that universe, given there are criteria for such a search. Thus for W(n) there would be MEB(n). I'd need help with the criteria, and with getting from there t ...[text shortened]... n. And if it is not the intention, it would behoove its fans to be informed of that.
    This is an argument for the existence of a specific type of god.

    Yes, it is important to clarify the meaning of 'possible world' here. WLC says:
    To say that God exists in some possible world is just to say that there is a possible description of reality which includes the statement "God exists" as part of that description.


    Saying MEB = God is an arbitrary definition, of course. But I would think it obvious that many people believe in that kind of god.
  15. Standard memberSwissGambit
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    07 May '12 19:481 edit
    Originally posted by googlefudge
    def. [b]God: a being which is "maximally excellent" in every possible world. Maximal Excellence includes such properties as omniscience, omnipotence, and moral perfection. A being which has maximal excellence in every possible world would have "maximal greatness."


    Well I have problems right here because it can be shown that some of d evidence to back it up.

    Which the ontological argument fails to provide.[/b]
    Let us say that omniscience means 'knows all true propositions' and omnipotence means 'can do anything logically possible' and moral perfection = 'always prefers the best moral outcome, or more specifically, the best overall good state of affairs'. I don't see a contradiction here.

    But if you still do, you must reject Premise 1. I would think you need a good reason to reject that, and definitely a better one than 'there's not enough evidence'.

    I don't agree that premise 1 needs to be demonstrated. Premise 1 is only asking if this god's existence is logically possible. The default position should be to accept the mere logical possibility of such a god's existence unless you can show that there is a logical contradiction. For example, proponents of the Argument from Evil [of which I am one] generally no longer claim that the argument proves the 3-O morally perfect god is logically impossible, but rather just highly unlikely.

    I think your rejection of Premise 2 is invalid. Whether there are an infinite or finite number of possible worlds, if it is true that god never exists in any of them, then it is necessarily true that god's existence is impossible - you have exhausted the full set and god remains uninstantiated.

    I agree with you on Premise 3. This is the one I reject, for roughly the same reason.
    As has been stated already in this thread even if this argument held it can be used equally for beings of ultimate evil and for unicorns.
    Well, yeah. I personally would reject Premise 3 no matter what entity's existence is being claimed. But I would be interested to hear if theists who support the argument have a limiting principle. There must be something that makes god a special exception to the general falsity of Premise 3. But I cannot figure out what that might be.
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