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Why ontological arguments are illogical
#1
Why ontological arguments are illogical
The ontological argument has always been doubted due to its general 'being dumb'ness but there is a real betrayal of logic and reasoning occurring in all of the examples of the ontological argument. The main one that I focused on was that in Descartes' meditations on first philosophy meditation threee, and thus Anselm's ontological argument.

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

The issues that are applicable to this are:
- God is not necessarily perfect
- God is imagined to be perfect
- Reality doesn't make something more perfect (real rape/murder/assault is less perfect that fantastical rape/murder/assault, ergo reality =/= perfection)
- A thing does, however, have to be real in order to be perfect, but this is a circle if applied to this argument
-'God is perfect' implies God is flawlessly 'good' which cannot be logically or empirically proven so we have no real premises

But what I really wanted to throw in here is the idea of any ontological argument, namely that they always make some assumption on the ontological existence of God, this is completely circular as this is tantamount to saying:
'God exists and is perfect', yet this requires existence in the first place and so demonstrates circular logic as it attempts to prove God exists by first stating that God exists. Derp.
Religion is an attempt to answer the philosophical questions of the unphilosophical man.
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#2
RE: Why ontological arguments are illogical
I agree.
Also I always find that when I'm trying to commit the perfect murder it wasn't anywhere near as enjoyable as I imagined it to be thus detracting from its perfection.
Its always something stupid like a squirt of blood getting in my eye or the victim voiding their bowels. Then theres the tedious task of finding a good place to hide the body.
Incredibly frustrating. I'm beginning to think its just not worth it.
"Vanity, is definitely my favorite sin." Al Pacino, Devils Advocate.

(July 5, 2012 at 12:47 pm)RaphielDrake Wrote: What? Its a legitimate question. You don't think its important? If you have some kind of information that makes your belief system stand out from the others I think everyone here needs to hear it.
(July 6, 2012 at 3:04 am)fr0d0 Wrote: BTW I've decided that I shouldn't try to out child children. Sorry kids Wink
Translation: Run away! :'(

(July 21, 2012 at 12:11 pm)RaphielDrake Wrote: "What is this accepted interpretation of the Bible passages that talks about Lots daughters getting him drunk specifically to get pregnant? What is the accepted interpretation of the priest and the concubine?"
Once again, answer the questions or retreat fr0d0.
(July 21, 2012 at 12:30 pm)fr0d0 Wrote: Hey Rap ;-)

I don't have an interpretation. Thank you for the complimentary Rabbi status though, I'm suitably flattered. I'll get back to you on your inability to use the internet later. Busy having a life here. I hope that you understand.
Translation: Run away again! :'(
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#3
RE: Why ontological arguments are illogical
Well, I think Kant pretty much destroyed this argument:
1) There are two types of statements: analytic and synthetic.
2) Therefore "God exists" must be either analytic or synthetic.
3) If it's analytic (as the Ontological Argument assumed), then it's true just because of the meaning given to the words, therefore it's a tautology and can't say anything meaningful.
4) If it's synthetic, then the Ontological Argument doesn't work, because God's existence isn't contained within his definition, and, as such, evidence for God would need to be found.
C) Therefore, the ontological argument isn't sound.

Of course, given the fact that your avatar seems to be of Kant, you might well have already been aware of it.
I was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world is mad.

[Image: 161109-WlllQ6UaSpqY.png]

Trump 2017: We're all nihilists now.
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#4
RE: Why ontological arguments are illogical
(August 2, 2012 at 7:52 pm)RaphielDrake Wrote: Then theres the tedious task of finding a good place to hide the body.

Your tummy! Tiger

indeedy, kant kicks ass Big Grin
Religion is an attempt to answer the philosophical questions of the unphilosophical man.
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#5
RE: Why ontological arguments are illogical
(August 2, 2012 at 7:47 pm)liam Wrote: But what I really wanted to throw in here is the idea of any ontological argument, namely that they always make some assumption on the ontological existence of God, this is completely circular as this is tantamount to saying:
'God exists and is perfect', yet this requires existence in the first place and so demonstrates circular logic as it attempts to prove God exists by first stating that God exists. Derp.

The quickest way to get a god-botherer to advance a circular argument in the manner you suggest is to require a definition of perfect. What is perfect? The usual example invokes god, as the only being capable of perfection.

This reminds of something I read of Eastern origin where a teacher had a student ladle out pancakes. Each of the dozen was not a circle and each time the teacher looked with satisfaction and exclaimed 'perfect'. After the last, the student was extremely agitated. He asked the teacher why he considered each pancake to be perfect when none were circular and all were different. The teacher then said something to the effect that there is no demand that a pancake be circular to be perfect and that similar entities can be perfect without being identical.
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#6
RE: Why ontological arguments are illogical
(August 2, 2012 at 8:06 pm)cato123 Wrote: The quickest way to get a god-botherer to advance a circular argument in the manner you suggest is to require a definition of perfect. What is perfect? The usual example invokes god, as the only being capable of perfection.
effectively just the Euthyphyro dilemma, agreed very much though Big Grin
Religion is an attempt to answer the philosophical questions of the unphilosophical man.
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#7
RE: Why ontological arguments are illogical
(August 2, 2012 at 8:03 pm)liam Wrote:
(August 2, 2012 at 7:52 pm)RaphielDrake Wrote: Then theres the tedious task of finding a good place to hide the body.

Your tummy! Tiger

indeedy, kant kicks ass Big Grin

Nah, cannibalism is *so* 1991.
"Vanity, is definitely my favorite sin." Al Pacino, Devils Advocate.

(July 5, 2012 at 12:47 pm)RaphielDrake Wrote: What? Its a legitimate question. You don't think its important? If you have some kind of information that makes your belief system stand out from the others I think everyone here needs to hear it.
(July 6, 2012 at 3:04 am)fr0d0 Wrote: BTW I've decided that I shouldn't try to out child children. Sorry kids Wink
Translation: Run away! :'(

(July 21, 2012 at 12:11 pm)RaphielDrake Wrote: "What is this accepted interpretation of the Bible passages that talks about Lots daughters getting him drunk specifically to get pregnant? What is the accepted interpretation of the priest and the concubine?"
Once again, answer the questions or retreat fr0d0.
(July 21, 2012 at 12:30 pm)fr0d0 Wrote: Hey Rap ;-)

I don't have an interpretation. Thank you for the complimentary Rabbi status though, I'm suitably flattered. I'll get back to you on your inability to use the internet later. Busy having a life here. I hope that you understand.
Translation: Run away again! :'(
Reply
#8
RE: Why ontological arguments are illogical
(August 2, 2012 at 7:47 pm)liam Wrote: The ontological argument has always been doubted due to its general 'being dumb'ness but there is a real betrayal of logic and reasoning occurring in all of the examples of the ontological argument. The main one that I focused on was that in Descartes' meditations on first philosophy meditation threee, and thus Anselm's ontological argument.

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

The issues that are applicable to this are:
- God is not necessarily perfect

Most ontological arguments define 'God' to be 'that which is the most perfect thing', or 'that which possesses all perfections', or something of the like. Are you claiming that the most perfect thing is not perfect?

Quote:- God is imagined to be perfect

See above. In many of these arguments, 'God' is merely a name for 'that which possesses all perfections' or something of the like.

Quote:- Reality doesn't make something more perfect (real rape/murder/assault is less perfect that fantastical rape/murder/assault, ergo reality =/= perfection)

That reality doesn't make everything more perfect does not demonstrate that reality doesn't many anything more perfect. It might be that reality is a necessary property of complete perfection, but that there are certain things which are worse if made real.

Quote:- A thing does, however, have to be real in order to be perfect, but this is a circle if applied to this argument

Where is the circle? Can you explain this more?

Quote:-'God is perfect' implies God is flawlessly 'good' which cannot be logically or empirically proven so we have no real premises

This doesn't make sense. If "God is perfect" implies "God is flawlessly 'good'", then if "God is perfect" is true, then "God is flawlessly 'good'" is true, and hence if "God is perfect" can be logically proved, then "God is flawlessly 'good'" can be logically proved.

But "God is perfect" is tautological if "God" is defined to be "that which possesses all perfections".

Quote:But what I really wanted to throw in here is the idea of any ontological argument, namely that they always make some assumption on the ontological existence of God, this is completely circular as this is tantamount to saying:
'God exists and is perfect', yet this requires existence in the first place and so demonstrates circular logic as it attempts to prove God exists by first stating that God exists. Derp.

No, it's not saying "God exists and is perfect; therefore, God exists." It's saying, "God is perfect; therefore, God exists."

To paraphrase Alvin Plantinga, once a logical argument is understood, the premise can be seen as tantamount to the conclusion. If I can show that "x is divisible by 4" implies "x is divisible by 2", you might object "But assuming that x is divisible by 4 assumes that x is divisible by 2!" And, once you've seen the proof that 4|x -> 2|x, you'd agree. But this isn't a circular argument; it's valid deduction.

What the argument truly shows--if the argument works--is that perfection entails existence.
“The truth of our faith becomes a matter of ridicule among the infidels if any Catholic, not gifted with the necessary scientific learning, presents as dogma what scientific scrutiny shows to be false.”
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#9
RE: Why ontological arguments are illogical
(August 2, 2012 at 10:53 pm)CliveStaples Wrote:
(August 2, 2012 at 7:47 pm)liam Wrote: The ontological argument has always been doubted due to its general 'being dumb'ness but there is a real betrayal of logic and reasoning occurring in all of the examples of the ontological argument. The main one that I focused on was that in Descartes' meditations on first philosophy meditation threee, and thus Anselm's ontological argument.

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

The issues that are applicable to this are:
- God is not necessarily perfect

Most ontological arguments define 'God' to be 'that which is the most perfect thing', or 'that which possesses all perfections', or something of the like. Are you claiming that the most perfect thing is not perfect?

Quote:- God is imagined to be perfect

See above. In many of these arguments, 'God' is merely a name for 'that which possesses all perfections' or something of the like.

Quote:- Reality doesn't make something more perfect (real rape/murder/assault is less perfect that fantastical rape/murder/assault, ergo reality =/= perfection)

That reality doesn't make everything more perfect does not demonstrate that reality doesn't many anything more perfect. It might be that reality is a necessary property of complete perfection, but that there are certain things which are worse if made real.

Quote:- A thing does, however, have to be real in order to be perfect, but this is a circle if applied to this argument

Where is the circle? Can you explain this more?

Quote:-'God is perfect' implies God is flawlessly 'good' which cannot be logically or empirically proven so we have no real premises

This doesn't make sense. If "God is perfect" implies "God is flawlessly 'good'", then if "God is perfect" is true, then "God is flawlessly 'good'" is true, and hence if "God is perfect" can be logically proved, then "God is flawlessly 'good'" can be logically proved.

But "God is perfect" is tautological if "God" is defined to be "that which possesses all perfections".

Quote:But what I really wanted to throw in here is the idea of any ontological argument, namely that they always make some assumption on the ontological existence of God, this is completely circular as this is tantamount to saying:
'God exists and is perfect', yet this requires existence in the first place and so demonstrates circular logic as it attempts to prove God exists by first stating that God exists. Derp.

No, it's not saying "God exists and is perfect; therefore, God exists." It's saying, "God is perfect; therefore, God exists."

To paraphrase Alvin Plantinga, once a logical argument is understood, the premise can be seen as tantamount to the conclusion. If I can show that "x is divisible by 4" implies "x is divisible by 2", you might object "But assuming that x is divisible by 4 assumes that x is divisible by 2!" And, once you've seen the proof that 4|x -> 2|x, you'd agree. But this isn't a circular argument; it's valid deduction.

What the argument truly shows--if the argument works--is that perfection entails existence.

*yawn* Oh are you done? Awesome.

Who says perfection exists outside of a human concept?
Have you ever witnessed perfection?
"Vanity, is definitely my favorite sin." Al Pacino, Devils Advocate.

(July 5, 2012 at 12:47 pm)RaphielDrake Wrote: What? Its a legitimate question. You don't think its important? If you have some kind of information that makes your belief system stand out from the others I think everyone here needs to hear it.
(July 6, 2012 at 3:04 am)fr0d0 Wrote: BTW I've decided that I shouldn't try to out child children. Sorry kids Wink
Translation: Run away! :'(

(July 21, 2012 at 12:11 pm)RaphielDrake Wrote: "What is this accepted interpretation of the Bible passages that talks about Lots daughters getting him drunk specifically to get pregnant? What is the accepted interpretation of the priest and the concubine?"
Once again, answer the questions or retreat fr0d0.
(July 21, 2012 at 12:30 pm)fr0d0 Wrote: Hey Rap ;-)

I don't have an interpretation. Thank you for the complimentary Rabbi status though, I'm suitably flattered. I'll get back to you on your inability to use the internet later. Busy having a life here. I hope that you understand.
Translation: Run away again! :'(
Reply
#10
RE: Why ontological arguments are illogical
(August 2, 2012 at 10:56 pm)RaphielDrake Wrote: *yawn* Oh are you done? Awesome.

That's how you respond to challenges and counter-arguments? You just ignore them? I thought atheists were opposed to ignorance...

Quote:Who says perfection exists outside of a human concept?

Well, the various ontological arguments do. Depending how you define "perfection", it can be trivial that perfect objects must exist.

Quote:Have you ever witnessed perfection?

Not sure how this is relevant, other than as a positive test with no negative power; if I've witnessed perfection, then perfection certainly exists (modulo concerns about witnessing things that don't exist), but if I haven't witnessed perfection, that doesn't mean the perfection doesn't exist (modulo definitions of "perfection" that necessitate being witnessed by people sufficiently similar to me).
“The truth of our faith becomes a matter of ridicule among the infidels if any Catholic, not gifted with the necessary scientific learning, presents as dogma what scientific scrutiny shows to be false.”
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