Our server costs ~$56 per month to run. Please consider donating or becoming a Patron to help keep the site running. Help us gain new members by following us on Twitter and liking our page on Facebook!
Current time: May 29, 2020, 12:06 am

Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Why ontological arguments are illogical
RE: Why ontological arguments are illogical
(August 2, 2012 at 7:47 pm)liam Wrote: The argument, for those who dont know it, is effectively:
God is the most perfect thing ever
A thing is more perfect if it is real
Therefore God is real

Surely the most "perfect thing ever" cannot create something that is not perfect. If it did then we can conceive of a more perfect being that only creates perfect things, and that being, by definition, then becomes the "most perfect thing ever".
Humanity, by the dogma of many religions, (in particular Xtian theology) is far from perfect, so cannot have been made by the "most perfect thing".
A defense that God made perfect people who then went bad on their own only shifts the argument. A "perfect" creator would not make beings that even had the potential to turn bad.


Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful. — Edward Gibbon

RE: Why ontological arguments are illogical

I'm hopping into the middle without reading everything past, first, so forgive any repetition or irrelevancy.

I actually enjoy the ontological arguments, but then, I'm of a very philosophical bent. (I have a very good book on such by Graham Oppy.)

Various people have weighed in on Kant's analysis of it, the most contentious being Kant's claim that existence isn't a property, so God can't be improved by changing that property. I've a handful of refutations, the one of which I consider the most persuasive being the question of ordering of properties. On the order of Robert Ingersoll's remark that, "In nature there are neither rewards nor punishments; there are consequences," in nature, nothing is either good or bad by its nature, but only relative to some standard, or some point of view that includes interests. Thus, you can't define a "most perfect" being, because perfection and goodness either a) doesn't exist, as nature implies no ordering from best to worst, or b) is defined in terms of the desires of a being, and is therefore purely subjective (and irrelevant). Thus, because properties have no implicit order of ranking, no "best" can be rationally asserted, and therefore there is no "best" being.

I think my favorite remark on the arguments though that I've heard was attributed to Richard Dawkins, that we don't need a "most smelly" being to have a concept of smelliness, so we don't need a most perfect being to define goodness for us. (I guess that's more an argument against Natural Law, but it's worth hearing, I think.)

And I'll leave you with one more, of somewhat dubious value. If we imagine God as a being that is most perfect, except that it does not exist, then we can imagine a better being that does exist. However, the very conclusion of the argument makes clear that the being we were imagining was not God — as a God that does not exist is not God — so what relation does that other being, call him Harry, have to God, and why introduce him to the argument? That effectively leaves us with:

1) God is the most perfect being;
2) Think about the imaginary being Harry;
3) Because Harry isn't perfect, and God is perfect, God exists.


Anyway, one more, since Plantinga was brought up. Plantinga's modal argument for the existence of God seems persuasive until you realize that it says nothing about the nature of God, and indeed, in Plantinga's argument, you can replace "God" with "the Universe" and the argument is equally valid. In that case, the argument devolves into just another cosmological argument, and the modal argument has served as little more than a sneaky bait and switch.


Possibly Related Threads...
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  Best arguments for or against God's existence mcc1789 22 740 May 22, 2019 at 9:16 am
Last Post: The Grand Nudger
  Ontological Disproof of God negatio 1042 25526 September 14, 2018 at 4:05 pm
Last Post: LadyForCamus
  My own moral + ontological argument. Mystic 37 8217 April 17, 2018 at 12:50 pm
Last Post: FatAndFaithless
  Are Atheists using Intellectually Dishonest Arguments? vulcanlogician 223 13071 April 9, 2018 at 5:56 pm
Last Post: KevinM1
  Arguments for God's Existence from Contingency datc 386 21128 December 1, 2017 at 2:07 pm
Last Post: Whateverist
  Valid Arguments for God (soundness disputed) Mystic 17 1208 March 25, 2017 at 2:54 pm
Last Post: brewer
  Ontological Limericks chimp3 12 2082 December 22, 2016 at 3:22 am
Last Post: Edwardo Piet
  On Anselm's 2nd Formulation of the Ontological Argument FallentoReason 7 2034 November 21, 2016 at 10:57 am
Last Post: FallentoReason
  Arguments for God from a purely philosophical perspective Aegon 13 2045 January 24, 2016 at 2:44 am
Last Post: robvalue
  Hume weakened analogical arguments for God. Pizza 18 4525 March 25, 2015 at 6:13 pm
Last Post: Pyrrho

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)