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Author Topic:   Ontological arguments - where's the beef?
Modulous
Member (Idle past 1092 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 10 of 74 (631918)
09-04-2011 1:12 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by cavediver
09-03-2011 4:59 PM


my short response:
It is possible that a maximally great being exists.

Is it?


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Modulous
Member (Idle past 1092 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 15 of 74 (632098)
09-05-2011 4:48 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by cavediver
09-05-2011 4:09 PM


Re: my short response:
Lane thinks that it is eminently more reasonable than the idea that a maximally great being doesn't exist

Heh - since when has reality had to conform to our ideas of reasonableness!?

I question the claim that it is possible that a maximally great being exists, and want to see the argument, along with the evidence which confirms it is possible. It's the old equivocation between 'possible' meaning 'could be true, but we don't know' and the meaning 'not ruled out by what we do know'.

The MGB is not ruled out by what we do know, but there is nothing that we do know that rules it in as a possibility. So hence why I question the first premise. It might be possible, but no argument or evidence has been put forward to suggest that it actually is. As proofs go, since it relies on this premise, it falls flat on its face in the most spectacular way.

I can provide proof that it is possible to draw a King of Hearts from a standard deck of cards. Can anyone provide similar proof that an MGB could exist?


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Replies to this message:
 Message 16 by Dawn Bertot, posted 09-05-2011 9:18 PM Modulous has responded
 Message 17 by Bolder-dash, posted 09-06-2011 12:02 AM Modulous has responded
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Modulous
Member (Idle past 1092 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 28 of 74 (632203)
09-06-2011 10:27 AM
Reply to: Message 17 by Bolder-dash
09-06-2011 12:02 AM


Re: my short response:
Are you suggesting that anything that we can't provide proof for exists in the realm of not being possible until it has been done?

No. I'm suggesting that if one asserts something is possible, one needs to support that it is in fact possible with evidence.

I guess I can think of a whole heck of a lot of things that you can't prove are possible.

And so it would be right to challenge anybody that claims they are possible.


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 Message 30 by Bolder-dash, posted 09-06-2011 10:37 AM Modulous has responded

  
Modulous
Member (Idle past 1092 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 29 of 74 (632204)
09-06-2011 10:30 AM
Reply to: Message 16 by Dawn Bertot
09-05-2011 9:18 PM


Re: my short response:
The MGB is not ruled out by what we do know, but there is nothing that we do know that rules it in as a possibility.
Your above comment seems contradictory even on the surface, does it not?

No. It is neither ruled out nor ruled in. Nothing we know says that it is impossible and nothing we know says it is possible.

if we are only speaking of possibilites, then the thing that would rule it in as a possibility would be the nature of things, change, disorder and chaos and eventually death

That doesn't imply God is possible.

So it seems if we are speaking of possibilites, then there is a very good possibility that the MGB does exist

Because there are things that exist that are not consistent with an eternal character? I'm sorry that is a non-sequitur.

If we are only considering base possibilites

What is a base possibility?

Edited by Modulous, : No reason given.


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 Message 16 by Dawn Bertot, posted 09-05-2011 9:18 PM Dawn Bertot has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 40 by Dawn Bertot, posted 09-06-2011 4:31 PM Modulous has responded

  
Modulous
Member (Idle past 1092 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 35 of 74 (632223)
09-06-2011 12:48 PM
Reply to: Message 30 by Bolder-dash
09-06-2011 10:37 AM


Re: my short response:
What evidence could one give of something being possible, without actually demonstrating something to be?

It depends on the thing under question, but I gave the example of a pack of cards.

If you want to complain that in the case of a MGB it is difficult or impossible to prove it is possible then that's not my problem since I'm not the one claiming that it is possible.


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Modulous
Member (Idle past 1092 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 37 of 74 (632226)
09-06-2011 12:56 PM
Reply to: Message 18 by Bolder-dash
09-06-2011 12:13 AM


Re: my short response:
I should think then, by your terms, that things exist as either proven or not, and the whole use of the word "possible" is pointless.

No, that's not correct. You must have misunderstood my terms. Unfortunately, since you did not bother to explain in this post I cannot attempt to explain your misunderstanding.


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Modulous
Member (Idle past 1092 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 41 of 74 (632256)
09-06-2011 4:40 PM
Reply to: Message 40 by Dawn Bertot
09-06-2011 4:31 PM


Re: my short response:
If it is not impossible of course its possible

Yes, that's the equivocation. Just because we don't know that it is impossible does not mean that we therefore know it is possible.

Sure it does. If by MGB being you mean an eternal God, then of course my argument would be valid.

Why? That's the part you've skipped over. What is it about the nature of things, change, disorder and chaos and eventually death says that God is possible. Be explicit.

Until you can demonstrate, prove the universe is eternal in character, there is very little reason to assume it is, given its nature, so logically the reasonable possibilty is an eternal God

I don't assume the universe is eternal in nature. Why does it logically follow from this that an eternal God is possible? Please show me the logic, not the assertions.

I dont see how thats not atleast a reasonsble possibility. Atleast you havent did anything except assert it is not

I've not asserted that it is not a reasonable possibility, I've asked for those that have asserted that it is a possibility to show that it is a possibility.

If its not impossible to draw all Aces out of your deck ten consecutively, then that means its possible, regardless of how ever improbable, correct

Correct. We can do the maths, to show that it is possible and with what probability. Can you do the math to show that God is possible?

Edited by Modulous, : No reason given.

Edited by Modulous, : No reason given.


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Modulous
Member (Idle past 1092 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 45 of 74 (632261)
09-06-2011 5:24 PM
Reply to: Message 43 by Dawn Bertot
09-06-2011 4:50 PM


Re: my short response:
if something is not impossible, what other area could it fall in except possible.

Do you know that it is not impossible. If you do, how have you established that? It's the same question, asked with the negatives, as 'how do you know that it is possible?'

So how do you know that it is not impossible?

I believe that is all that is involved in showing it is possible, is to demonstrate it is only one of two choices and it doesnt directly contradict itself. What more do I need for it to show that its a possibility

Establishing that it doesn't contradict itself doesn't show that it is in fact possible. It might be possible, but then again, it might be impossible. If it was self-contradictory, it would definitely be impossible. If it is not self-contradictory, it still might not be possible (other facts may rule it out).

Edited by Modulous, : No reason given.


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Replies to this message:
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 Message 48 by Dawn Bertot, posted 09-06-2011 6:45 PM Modulous has acknowledged this reply
 Message 49 by Dawn Bertot, posted 09-06-2011 6:51 PM Modulous has acknowledged this reply

  
Modulous
Member (Idle past 1092 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 51 of 74 (632362)
09-07-2011 11:27 AM
Reply to: Message 47 by Dawn Bertot
09-06-2011 6:40 PM


Re: my short response:
I dont see how it could be otherwise, other than to simply disagree, which you are doing and that is fine, but its not an actual argument to demonstrate that its not true, 'possible' that is

There is a third option: We do not know if it is possible or impossible. Neither has been established and so neither should be claimed.

I do not claim that God is impossible. I just claim that it has not been sufficiently established that it is possible.


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Replies to this message:
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Modulous
Member (Idle past 1092 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 59 of 74 (632407)
09-07-2011 10:19 PM
Reply to: Message 55 by Bolder-dash
09-07-2011 9:14 PM


Re: possible=shown?
How do you know it is possible for you to draw a King of Hearts until you do it?

I know based on the evidence that I am holding a standard pack of cards. I might be wrong, of course.

You are basing your definition of possible on having seen it or done it before. That means everything that you have not seen or done before is not possible.

No, I just ask that if you are going to say it is possible, you have to show that it's possible.

In order to know it is possible that I pull out the King of Hearts all I have to do is show that by the rules of card markings, one of the cards must be the King of Hearts. There are four suits in a standard deck, hearts is amongst them. They are labelled A-10 then J Q K. Therefore, amongst the possibility space for a deck of cards is one that has the heart suit with the King rank. With some reasonable tentativity we now know it is possible.

In order to know if God is possible, you have to know the rules that govern reality. From those rules you should be able to see if God is permitted by them. If God is permitted by the rules of reality, then it is indeed possible, within realms of reasonable tentativity.

That is a difficult task, of course, but if you aren't up for the challenge, I urge you to take back the claim that God is possible and instead use the phrase 'God is not ruled out by anything we know', which is the more correct phrasing and consequently dissolves the ontological argument.


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